Sunday, February 17, 2008

YouTubing your Life makes you look poor

It's been a while since I've posted, but I feel the need to release some steam.

Today's topic: youTubing every single thing you do dance wise then posting it for review in every network/blog/community you can.

Now, I understand that we have surely "come a long way, baby" as far as technology goes. With the low cost of video cameras these days, most of us can afford to go out to our local box store and pick one up. Also, with the advancements in user interfaces, you don't have to be a genius to get said video camera to work within minutes, giving yourself the joy and freedom to tape yourself instantly and constantly. And that's exciting.

As an artist, it's important to do self-checks. Having a video device gives you the chance to record yourself so that you may review your technique, evaluate your stage presence and find what's working and what's not. Many of us have gone through the experience of thinking that a song/choreography/dance idea is REALLY working, only to see it on tape or in pictures and get that, "oh my god that looked AWFUL," feeling. So, videoing ourselves can help spare us the embarrassment of finding this out at a performance or on a live performance video versus in the privacy of our own home/dance studio.

However, it has also spawned what I believe to be the most crazy, megalomania-ladened crap that I have ever seen. Since becoming a bellydancer, I have seen individuals who video and post every little thing they do- practices, "just messin' around," bizarre crazy aunt like dances in their living room, awful things in their bedrooms- you name it, it's been done, and posted them online for peer review. The main offenders seem to have a new video weekly to post that usually has very mediocre dance/conceptualization and comes across as vain and pompous. If I look at it with the best of intentions, they are socially inept persons posting practice videos that aren't interesting and lessen their credibility as a dancer. If I take it in a negative way, they are "look at me!" personalities that think that every little thing they do is god's gift to dance that should be shared with the general public.

Let me say that posting a few video here and there to a private/professional bellydance list is one thing. If you have something you're trying out in your living room that you think may suck/need improvement OR you have some really awesome choreography that you'd feedback on, that's one thing. Even if you were like, "oh I was messing around with this in practice the other day... I think it's neat. What do you think from a performance standpoint?" That's totally fine.

But posting everything you do PUBLICLY on youTube and throwing it out there for the public to see just makes me want to scrape my eyes out with spoons. Firstly, you are damaging your career by having more videos of you "messing around" online than the lovely ones of you actually performing. If I'm a client and I search your name (or an event promoter for that matter) and I find all of these practice videos, you're probably not going to get hired. I don't want "crazy girl who dances in her room a lot and posts it to youTube" on my ticket. I want a professional who understands that everything they are posting online, everything they produce in a concrete sense for the general public needs to be polished, professional and credible. I also don't want to hire someone who is so self-absorbed that they think every single person on youTube wants to see their boring dance practice. Being an artist and a professional means understanding what is appropriate to post and what isn't.

If you look at the best dancers out there, you will hardly ever (never, in my experience) see their practice videos. Why? Because they are professionals. They understand that practice is a step towards the performance. It's the mixing of the ingredients in the kitchen that will, with care, consideration and maturity, become the yummy thing to serve to your public. You don't show them the batter unless it's damned purty lookin' batter. No one really wants to see some freaky mix of eggs, flour and milk that's brown, boring and not very visually enticing. Even if they know the batter WILL be delicious pancakes, they'd rather just, well... see the pancakes. Steaming and with butter and syrup.

Be the pancakes, not the batter.

That's my deepness for today.

PS- where did THAT metaphor come from?



At 8:39 AM, Blogger Asharah said...

Yes. I know we've talked about this phenomenon before. Why is it that the ones that need the most guidance are the ones who want most for people to see them dance? What is it that they are lacking in their own lives that they seek validity in posting mediocre videos of themselves dancing in their pajamas and living rooms?

Related to this is that so man people with a video camera believe that they can post whatever they record on YouTube and that everyone will appreciate their efforts. What happened to the courtesy of asking someone in the video if they mind if it's up on the internet? This sort of selfishness disguised as public service baffles me. It's not a contribution to the greater good; it's just plain rude.

I sense a blog post of my own bubbling up...


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