I recently helped a friend of mine make a promo video for her new EP. As you probably know, perhaps all too well, making and promoting a CD is very expensive. That being the case, we didn’t have a bunch of money left over to make a fancy video.

As it turns out, we were able to make an effective video without spending a dime, using an iPhone and some still photos.

Here’s the video we made:

You can sign up for Kara’s list here: KaraShawMusic.com

Here are 11 tips that we incorporated to make it happen:

1. Use what you’ve got.

      The story and the emotion are what’s most important. We could’ve recorded, edited and uploaded the entire thing using just an iPhone if we had to – and it would likely have been just as effective.

2. Start with a clear orientation.

      If people aren’t clear about what they’re watching and why then they’re not going to stick around for very long to watch the rest of your video.

3. Bring the pain.

      Tell us about the challenges you went through in creating your CD or whatever it is you’re promoting. People will become much more invested in your story if they can feel the struggles and challenges that you had to overcome as it unfolded.

4. Turn the corner.

      Change the tone dramatically as you talk about the triumph of bringing it all together.

5. Make one clear call to action. 

      In this case, we’re building her mailing list in advance of the release of her EP, so the only call to action is to submit your name and email for the list. If you want to ask people to do something else you can always do that at another step in the process, such as after they’ve confirmed their email address.

6. Use genuine emotion.

      If you’re excited about what you’re doing then you’ll do much better by expressing it than by playing it cool. If you’re not excited about it then you’re probably wasting your time anyway.

7. Shoot in good light.

      If you’re shooting outside, do it within an hour or two of sunset. If the sun is too high you’re going to have a hard time getting a video that looks good. If you’re shooting indoors, the most important thing is to make sure the subject’s face is well lit.

8. Divide the video into sections and record them separately.

      By breaking it into smaller chunks you’ll be able to focus on each of them more intensely and get a better performance.

9. Rehearse and memorize.

      Everyone is a little different, but as a general rule, if you don’t have the lines down cold then you’re going to be thinking about what you’re saying and it will take away from the performance.

10. Break up the video.

      Making cuts and inserting photos will help keep people engaged. You can do this using inexpensive or free software such as iMovie.

11. Use instrumental tracks.

    if you’re going to play music in the background while someone is talking.  It’s hard to make vocals work behind talking without it sounding distracting and annoying.

Got any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments!

Scott James
Scott James

Scott James is a guitar player with a background in sales and web design. His clients have included Ritchie Kotzen, Kenny Lee Lewis of the Steve Miller Band and hit songwriter Jeff Silbar. Recent project include the Viral Music Player which he programmed and co-created with fellow blogger/marketer John Oszajca. Scott began blogging on his site IndependentRockstar.com in 2009 and has since written some of the most popular posts for CD Baby’s DIY Musician and Disc Makers’ Echoes blog. Scott has studied guitar and music theory with Chris Broderick of Megadeth. He has also received a diploma in Neuro Linguistic Programming from Dr. Wyatt Woodsmall and is currently in training for Myers-Briggs profiling certification with Antonia Dodge and Camronn Huff as well as studying entrepreneurship, personal development and various personality profiling systems under the guidance of mentor Giovanni Cavalieri.

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