When you first decide to enter a juried competition, it can be daunting to figure out what exactly to showcase or leave out in your entry video.
Not many competitions give you guidelines for your entry video other than a time limit and a file size limit, so it’s up to you what to create from thin air…and the possibilities really are endless.
Always do your research first on the particular competition you are interested in. Every competition’s jury process will be different.
Be sure to follow the entry guidelines as strictly as possible for the best chance of success. Make notes and phone alerts if you have to!
- What can you wear?
- What video time is required?
- What are the song choice guidelines?
- When is the entry deadline?
- Are there move restrictions?
- What is the judging criteria?
- What category do you want to apply for?
These are all important considerations. You should give yourself as much time as possible to create and film your entry video as well – don’t wait until the last minute.
Likewise, if you have any questions, check through the competition’s FAQ section, and be sure to email the organizers as soon as possible. The earlier, the better; competition organizers typically get swamped with questions the closer they get to entry deadlines and competition dates.
When you are beginning to plan out your entry video, consider the following aspects:
You’ll want to make sure the lighting is good wherever you are considering filming. Flashing lights or dark spaces are generally frowned upon as they distract the judges from truly seeing your performance. Try to film with good, even lighting that doesn’t shine directly into the camera or mask any part of the video.
Your music choice should move you and be something that really captures the essence of your performance.
Likewise, your music should come through crystal clear and crisp. If you need to, you can overlay the music in postproduction editing, or get a friend to help you. Garbled, distant music from a phone or radio in the room can be distracting and appear lazy.
- Camera Position and Quality
The camera should be positioned at audience height, which we talk about more in Filming and Pole Layout below. Phone camera quality should be fine, but make sure you’re on the best setting possible, preferably HD quality, to avoid any video skipping.
Make sure that your space is cleared from any distractions, whether it’s people in the background, pets roaming through your pole room, or traffic if you’re near a window. The video should focus entirely on you and your performance.
Additionally, make sure that your video doesn’t contain any auditory distractions like mechanical clicking, heavy breathing, or people talking in the background. To avoid notifications interrupting your video time, place your phone on airplane mode before you begin filming.
Typically, your entry routine will be different from your competition routine. This doesn’t mean there’s any reason to skimp on the choreography. Be sure to include any compulsory moves unless otherwise noted in the competition’s entry guidelines.
Your goal should be to include good technique, solid stage presence, flexibility, strength, stamina, and artistry.
Filming and Pole Layout
Most competitions will understand if you record your video on your phone. Everyone is guaranteed to have a phone with a half-decent camera, and it’s easy to prop your phone up and hit record.
If you prefer, and have access to it, you can always use a GoPro or a DSLR camera. Of course, it’s best if you have experience with this sort of equipment as well because you’ll have to do some editing in postproduction to make sure the video is compressed to the right time, filetype, and size according to the competition’s guidelines.
Using a wide lens on your camera, or a wide lens adaptor for your phone camera will allow you to capture more video area at closer range. It is certainly worth grabbing one of these for your entry video, and before you know it, you’ll be using it for recording everyday practice as well!
Generally, you should try to record your video in a space that has a pole setup much like the competition does. Almost every competition has two poles; one is set to static and the other to spin.
If you’re not sure how your competition is laid out, try looking up some previous competitor videos on YouTube and picking out which one is on spin and which is on static. Alternatively, you can read through any competition documentation that has been made available by the competition.
Of course, not every competition is going to require that you have two poles in your entry video, which makes it easier to film on a home pole if you have one.
Filming your full routine will give you an idea of what the audience sees. You’ll see yourself from the outside, and you’ll learn more about what you enjoy and dislike about your routine. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your entry routine, but remember, in many cases, you’re not required to use that routine for the competition itself. Save the extreme nitpicking for the competition routine!
One way to really start getting into the competition mindset is to film (and practice) your routine all in costume. Whatever costume you plan to wear to the competition, or a previous competition’s costume; whatever you have on hand.
Try to position your camera where you audience should be. This will help give the judges the best view of your performance. If your competition entry video is skewed or top-down, you risk lowering your chances of getting in because your performance can look different from every angle.
When positioning your phone, make sure you fit both poles into view with plenty of room for you to move around. If your poles are cut off, or if you’re moving outside of the camera’s view in the middle of your most impressive trick, you’re going to have to re-do it even if you nailed the rest of the routine. This is where your wide-angle lens comes in handy.
Remember, even if you’ve practiced your entry routine time and time again, you’ll need a couple of shots to get it perfect on video, so allow yourself to have fun, stay hydrated, and don’t forget to have a full breakfast!
Have you recently submitted an entry video to a competition?
Show it off! Upload the video and tag @PolePedia