RaqsTV.com Exclusive Content Streams to Your Screen- "Insider Secrets"
Reviewed by Tracy Benton
posted August 15, 2012
I’m an information addict when it comes to my hobbies, and I’m always interested when people want to tell me things about bellydance-the-industry as opposed to bellydance-the-art. When I heard that Michelle Joyce would be offering a streaming video regarding marketing strategies, I was intrigued. Luckily, I won a free chance to view the material on RaqsTV.com in order to write a review.
Unlike so many dance DVDs produced these days, the audience for Insider Secrets is not just any dancer. The information is aimed directly at the professional (and almost-professional) performer. Here Michelle Joyce acts as your personal mentor and guide to marketing topics, and she clearly knows a lot about the subject. She is an engaging speaker and the presentation is very friendly, though I was a bit confused why this was filmed with her standing in a dance studio, since there was no movement involved. She also holds a sheaf of notes that she never refers to, which I found distracting.
Creating a new account at RaqsTV is free and very easy, requiring only your name, email address, and a user name. When you rent a video to watch, you enter payment information just like a typical online store. Things you’ve rented appear in your "queue" and stay there for the duration of the rental. The format of streaming video worked extremely well for me, but I do have a very fast DSL connection at home. Since this presentation is not downloadable, this might be a factor for some viewers. I watched the video on a 13” laptop and was in general happy with the video and audio quality.
Insider Secrets is being streamed only on RaqsTV.com, and only for a limited time.
This is (obviously) in contrast to how the majority of instructional DVDs are offered — but in this case, the limitation makes sense. Included in the material are specifics of how search engines work, website addresses for particular resources, and recommendations on using social media in particular ways. All of these things are subject to being quickly outdated, so treating the subject as a see-it-now lecture is a good idea. More than 90 minutes long, it’s conveniently chaptered for viewing ease.
The first section covers photos, why high-quality pictures are so important, and tips on how to get them — from lighting to posing to editing. The section on Photoshop is less useful as it’s quite difficult to see the effects being created by the various tools she demonstrates. However, the tips on posing are essentials: even “never going pro” dancers like to know how to get a good photo! A brief interview with dance photographer extraordinaire Michael Baxter, repeated from Secrets of the Stage 3, also spotlights must-know tricks.
The second section covers websites and social media. Michelle Joyce is a professional website designer and presents an expert view of the subject, focusing heavily on the need for useful and accessible content in addition to polished images and video clips. Her reveal of the best use of YouTube key words made me dive for my notebook! I only wished she had talked about the use of blogs in addition to her other social media subjects. Musicians, workshop organizers, or costume designers needing a refined web presence could take something away from this section as well.
The third chapter is a short section on breaking into the workshop game. Not everyone who goes pro may want to do this, but again, personal marketing helps the interested dancer forge ahead. The tips in this section are practical and specific, citing actual fees and possible contract arrangements. This would certainly be useful to someone who wants to be taken seriously as an instructor by event sponsors… and it would also be useful for someone who wanted to break into event production!
Finally, the presentation concludes with some remarks about networking, professionalism, contacting DVD producers, and self-producing DVDs. The section on producing DVDs has the most eye-opening material for anyone unfamiliar with the process. But this section was also the most disappointing as it concluded with some less-than-surprising thoughts on hair and costuming (“get a costume that fits”), and ended with a 10-minute makeup tutorial also seen in Secrets of the Stage 3. This material is offered in many locations and it felt unnecessary here. There was no wrap up of the entire lecture.
Insider Secrets won’t make you a better dancer and can’t tell you whether or not you are ready to become a professional. But if you’re going to go for it, having somebody to explain this very up-to-date set of tips, tricks, and techniques is more than worth the small investment in time and money at RaqsTV.
Rating: 3 zils
$19.99 for a 1 month rental,
$24.99 for 2 months,
available until October 1, 2012
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