Your dancin’ boy might need a dance reel when he approaches job audition time. This DVD with his recent, or most recent, performances on it is handed to or sent to prospective employers, by which I mean artistic directors in classical or contemporary ballet companies. You might also need one for tap, jazz, modern, or even hip hop companies. In any case, it’s a good idea to have one prepared and ready along with a resume and head shot.
We had no idea initially that Julian would need a reel. Basically, we were oblivious. Not only did we not know he needed one, we didn’t know what to put on it or what it should look like. So, we asked some questions, and then set out to get it done.
Well…my husband set out to get it done. I suggested using my virtual video assistant. And that was basically the plan. My hubby downloaded some program the VVA told him to get that allowed him to extract dances off of DVDs we’d purchased that showed Julian dancing at different events–Regional Dance America, Youth American Grand Prix, a variety of performances with City Ballet and Teen Dance Company, for example. We had no videos, unfortunately, for this year. So we could not show how he looked now (obviously improved), but most every artistic director had seen him dance either in a class or in an audition. They had not seen him perform, however.
Here is the process my husband went through. He:
- noted the performances he wanted to include on the reel.
- noted the section (time) in each performance that he wanted to include.
- cut the videos.
- pieced the videos together.
At this point, he was at a bit of a loss as to how to smooth everything out, create transitions and shrink the file into something useable. We were going to send it off to the VVA, when something happened and the file got corrupted or lost or something. Hours and hours of work…lost.
We then boxed up all the DVDs. We sent the VVA:
- a list of the performances (full titles, date of performance, location of performance, Julian’s age at time of performance, etc.)
- the times we wanted included
- info on what to include at the beginning of the reel
He then did the same work again–in half the time– and added in beautiful transitions with the information provided. He sent a file that was HUGE and a file that was more manageable. We had some trouble loading these, but finally got the smaller one (much poorer quality) up not on my YouTube site, which was the goal, but to Vimeo. We made it public briefly, because we had some glitches in having it private with a password, and Julian was able to send some artistic directors the link, if need be. In all other cases, we simply copied the video to a DVD and he took it with him.
If you would like to see it, just go to the “video” tab above. You can watch it in full. His is very long; your son’s does not need to be so long. We included all the styles of dance he does with the exception of jazz, I think. We also included his student choreography.
My suggestion: Don’t wait until the last minute to do this. It takes some time and thought. And if you need help, you’ll want to have researched your options. Also, it should look professional. Julian’s final reel was a lot more polished than what my husband initially put together, bless his heart. If you have a techy person in your family who can replicate what you see here, great! If not, get help.
Photo courtesy of zirconicusso