So over a month ago I decided to apply for my first festival. Let me tell you these applications are no freaking joke peeps. When I filled it out I had no idea what I was having to fill out. At first glance I started freaking out, but decided why the hell not and did the best I could. I went for one close to home since I didn't want to try for something across the country. So I applied for the Hollywood Burlesque Festival. If you are anywhere near them go to their event I keep seeing those who re getting in, including a few Vegas peeps as well.
As a new performer I was not ready for all the items they were asking for, but did as good as I could for the moment. Now let me say that when I filled out the application I knew as I was going through it that I wasn't going to get in. I knew this because one I had performed my number at that point twice and as I learned quickly I didn't have most of what they needed.
So now that everything is all said let me point out items for all you burlesquers who may want to apply for a festival and have no clue what the hell is going on.
Research festivals and what they are about before ever thinking of applying for one. Know the dates and don't stress if it doesn't work out in your favor. There are festivals going on all over the place just smile and try again. Getting denied to a festival isn't the end of the world it just means work harder and try again.
All righty all the things to realize before applying for a festival. I apologize now if I forget anything.
- First there is a fee. Nothing big just enough to cover whatever they need to cover in the process.
- If you enter a festival DO NOT go into it thinking about money. This is a way for you to get your name out there and meet new faces. In my humble opinion unless you're so well known around the world and have done this for many many years you should be doing this for the art not the cash.
- Give them at least a month to get back to you about your application. This isn't an easy process and sometimes they end up with a shit ton of applicants, that's a lot of videos to go through.
- The video you send in should be professionally done. Make sure you have a video that has good sound, good lighting, and doesn't miss any of your number. I sent the only video I had at the time and the lighting wasn't good and there was a section of my number that you couldn't see. So it is better to have a good video than an ok one.
- Get professional photos taken. If you are as lucky as we are in our community in Vegas you should know a ton of photographers who are willing to help a sister/brother out and give you a discount. We all know that we aren't swimming in cash so anyone willing to assist deserves a big kiss for doing so. Also your photos for festivals are used for programs, social media, and anything else they may need for the festival.
- Do your social media. I've known plenty of people who are hesitant when it comes to this part. None of us want to deal with weirdo's and some are fearful for their jobs. You would be surprised how helpful this is to have. Festivals want to have the ability to promote you so having a social media site assists with that. It also allows for them to check you out and see what kind of performer you are. This means, a word to the wise, don't post emotional crap online and don't start fights with other performers through social media it is petty and childish. This also means once you have yourself established and feel that you want to take your performance to the next level think about putting together a website. This way you can link your music to your site and all your videos, accomplishments, and photos as well. DO NOT put shitty videos from someones phone on your site it doesn't look good at all.
- Know what type of performance you are giving. I know this may sound weird, but it is something to think about. Is it a classic burlesque number, Neo-burlesque, shimmy and shakes, bumps and grinds? You will need to give a quick description of what your number is. Honestly I had no idea what mine was until I was forced to think about it.
- Know the difference between a bio and an introduction. I am now learning this due to getting into another festival that is coming up. I ended up getting help from a mentor of mine. Bios are what are read in the programs and websites. They can be a bit personal if you want. An intro is what the Emcee says before you go on. No one wants to hear the 100 things that you will be doing or your life story. So be creative about this and have fun. I may have to post the info a friend wrote about dealing with all this in the near future. She is a wise woman.
- Tag lines!!! This isn't a necessary thing to have but can be fun. Research other performers and like you should have done with your name make sure you aren't mimicking another performers tag line. It's all about respect for everyone remember that. My tag line is the "Naughty Nerd of Burlesque." This gives people many things to think about like "are we getting to see the stereotype nerd number?" " what kind of nerd are we talking about?" Now for me it's all about the fact that I am a huge geek (nerd rhymed) so I love this culture and it is my life outside of burlesque so why not.
- And again remember it isn't the end of your life if you don't get in. You are good enough and as long as you are still loving what you are doing don't give up.
- http://snapperburlesque.blogspot.com/2013/09/what-i-learned-being-festival.html If you want to know even more you should read this blog post and you will be educated far more than what I just put out. :)