Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.
As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.
The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.
Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.
June 9, 2014Bob Popyk - Member Local 78 (Syracuse, NY)
I try to help union musicians get more work in any way I can. Years ago, an AFM member would send me a demo CD to listen to and ask if I could possibly pass it along. Then that CD changed to a demo DVD, where agents, promoters, or anyone looking to book a group could both see and hear what you sounded and looked like. Today, it’s much simpler. You put your demo video on YouTube and on your website, and send an e-mail with a link. Anyone interested in checking you out can pop it right up on a computer and make a booking decision on the spot.
The hard part is putting together a video that makes an immediate good impression, and gives the person watching reason to want to look at it all the way through. You’ve heard it before: you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
I made a little list of things I personally think you should be aware of when putting a demo video together. These are my own thoughts. You don’t have to agree with me, but here are a few things you might want to consider:
1) Don’t shoot the video too far away. If you can’t make out faces and instruments, and people continually pass by, what’s the point? You might want to have a bottom text to indicate the location of the venue.
2) Make sure you use actual video. Don’t send out a demo video with nothing but stills and an audio soundtrack. People want to see live people performing. That means your group (or you) needs to be performing live and in motion.
3) Shoot it on location. Capture live performances at actual gigs, instead of in your garage or living room or on a makeshift set.
4) Capture the personality of your band. That means individual close ups once in awhile of the performers and your group as a whole. Playing in front of a crowd is fun and cool. That goes if you are single as well. Let it show.
5) Make sure you have a decent audio track. You need to look good, but you really need to sound great. A soundtrack from an iPhone is not going to cut it.
6) Don’t pack too much into a demo video. Just a few tunes, and a couple of live venues is all that’s necessary to make an impression. If it’s going to be a half-hour flick, your chances of someone watching the whole thing are nil.
7) List major places you have played. Name some recognizable cities and venues. Have you done any TV appearances? Include shots of CDs you have released. Success breeds success. Show that you’re a known professional single or group.
8) Make sure your last frames have all the pertinent contact info. Show your phone number in big numbers. Make sure your website is bold. Maybe list venues you are best suited for. Also, it doesn’t hurt to show the city where you travel from.
Getting your message out to people who can potentially book you is easier now than ever before. Everyone can do it. That’s why you want to stand out among all of your competitors. A great demo video will do that for you.