I learnt a very valuable lesson around 4 years ago about internet presence. I had been moaning about the fact I wasn’t getting enough work to my sister who said ‘well, make a drum cover video and stop complaining!’ So I did!
I had always been a bit snobby about drum cover videos, cause I didn’t see the point, but thankfully, I got over myself, wrapped myself in fairy lights, and it ended up being one of the most beneficial things I did for my career, and this video was the one that made me get the call from The Darkness and be a part of the band for a year! Happy days!
So I’m now going to share with you my top 4 reasons for making a video of you on your instrument!
1. Show That You Can Play
This was the most important thing to me, because before I made this video I was trying to get work from 2 sources:
- People that I’d already played with
- Word of mouth
Now there’s a few problems with these 2 methods…
- There’s only so many people you can physically play with, be that because of logistics, brain space, or just generally the problem we all have, which is that there’s only 24 hours in a day!
- The word of mouth thing is great, but there’s only so much that can be gained from someone saying, ‘trust me dude, they’re really good!’… If it was more like ‘trust me dude, they’re really good, check out their video!’ then you’re much more likely to land a job!
Making a video solves these problems. You instantly become reachable world-wide (or as good as), and it’s undeniable proof that you can play. Then it just comes down to whether you’re right for the job, which leads me on to my next point…
2. Come Across How You Want
This is probably the most empowering thing of making a video:
You get to portray yourself exactly how you want!
Until fairly recently I really took this for granted, but think about it, are there shoddy videos on the internet of you shot by someone else? Maybe you were having a bad playing day, or the sound was shocking, and you sounded all round RUBBISH! What if this is the video someone happens to click on… do you really think they’re gonna look for more videos to see if you always sound like this, or are they going to take this for face value and just move on to someone else. Unfortunately probably the latter
Another reason this is good is that you can battle being pigeonholed, or you can put yourself firmly into a pigeonhole! I think they call it your niche these days! You can be known purely as a rocking band drummer, or a straight ahead jazz player, you can be all about technique, or performance… or just everything (although that’s a very long process)! You can create your image and how you’re seen so you attract the kind of work that is going to make you happiest and the most fulfilled!
Another happy bi-product of doing videos is that you inadvertently get to inspire people! There may be someone who is just starting out, sees your video, and thinks… ‘wow I want to do that!’ Now to me, that is the most incredible thing in the world, and whenever I get that kind of feedback, it gives me a warm fuzzy like nothing else, because we all know what it’s like to be inspired, and we all remember when we were inspired in those early starting out days… my moment was watching a VHS of Bill Bruford playing with King Crimson in Japan… If I ever manage to evoke that… wow! It makes me feel like the luckiest person alive!
I know! What?! You know this whole music thing is meant to be fun right?! Making videos is fun and if you’re not having fun, then make it fun cause if you’re all moody and lacking enthusiasm, it’s gonna show tenfold on the screen! Make it fun for yourself, get creative, get wacky and enjoy! It’s the reason we all do this thing right?!
As my dad always says :
“It’s easy to find an excuse not to do something”
He’s so right, and once you realise that, you can shove it out of the way and say ‘well I’m gonna do it anyway!’
Here’s some excuses I tried to use from stopping myself from making a video:
- I don’t have very good equipment/mics/cameras
That doesn’t matter, and actually I think it actually works in your favour. You video won’t be about production values and trickery, it’s going to be a raw, connected, and a true representation of how you play. I think it’s more charming. That first video was recorded on a dictaphone and some iPhone cameras. Just make sure the sound doesn’t distort…nobody likes to hear that!
2. I don’t know what to record.
ANYTHING! Anything that makes you feel something… Go with your heart. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a cover… it could be a mashup of tracks, a personal composition, or even a solo… whatever you do, love it, and own it!
3. People are gonna think I look stupid
Yea maybe they will. On the whole, I find people are incredibly lovely and supportive, but there are a few that aren’t so much.
I’ve had people say to me ‘so why are you dressed up as a Xmas tree? It looks ridiculous!’ Whilst that may be true, I always think in my head ‘yea but you took notice and remembered it!’
Just always remember the reason you’re doing something, and your ultimate goal. People may say nasty things to try to make you feel bad, but 9 times out of 10 it’s stemming from insecurity, so try to have a bit of empathy… see where it’s coming from and carry on doing what you need to do. Chances are the person who’s saying the things, isn’t your intended audience, and not only that, they might be striving for similar things to you. Be kind.
4. I don’t know how to edit a video
Learn. That’s what I had to do, purely out of necessity, and consequently I’ve put those new skills into practise countless times over. There’s plenty of free apps to do this with, and in this content led world, being able to add to your skills list, editing video, can only be a good thing.
5. I’ve done a video and I don’t like it
Ok so this is quite specific… Do you not like it cause it’s not perfect? We’re all a bit mental when it comes to perfection, so if you’re just ‘happy with it’ I’d say put it out there. To this day I still am haunted by things I don’t like about all my videos, but overall I’m happy with them, and actually the little imperfections make you human and much more relatable.
If however you just hate the way you sound, then it might be time to look at the foundation of your playing. This post should help you with that!
Be brave, get out there and do it!
If you have any of your own videos, share them below, or your own excuses… I’m sure I can debunk them!