Kizomba Festival

My Nairobi Experience

Arriving in Nairobi was much like arriving in Los Angeles- hot and dry with stop and go traffic. It took a little over an hour to arrive to the hotel in Westlands neighborhood of Nairobi.

Everyone I met was really nice and friendly. I met people from South Africa, Uganda, Nairobi, Germany, and the US. The event I was there to film was the 2019 Nairobi Kizomba Sensacao Festival.

Friday night was bumping as the DJs kept the vibe going with solid track selections and transitions. The only other time I heard such great Kizomba music was at the Miami Beach Kizomba Festival. The music was so good that I couldn’t help but shazam all weekend. Below is a compilation of songs I came across over the weekend:

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Saturday and Sunday were full days of workshops. On Sunday afternoon, I was able to visit a local animal sanctuary and get some b-roll shots of crocs and monkeys. The weekend was concluded with a really fun pool party. It was great to unwind and dance Kizomba, Bachata, and Salsa at the pool.

Below is the vertical recap of the festival along with demos of the headliners. The last video at the bottom is a fun travel video I created with an old Sony Handycam Camcorder CCD-TRV58 that records analog.

What you should know about an amateur vs experienced videographer.

Should festivals have hobbyist/amateur videographers? Ideally, no. They shouldn’t.

Here are some reasons why:

1.  They make people feel uncomfortable - Some dancers don’t want to be filmed 24/7. If you’re an artist, it’s expected.  However, a lot people are there just to social dance and don’t want to be on camera(I’m one of those people).  Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’re having an amazing dance, only to open your eyes and have a videographer in your face.   You turn away and dance towards the opposite direction signaling you don’t want to be filmed. The videographer proceeds to follow you and continues filming.   Your amazing moment is over because the videographer didn’t get the hint.

This is a prime example of what I see all the time.  Again, it’s okay if it’s packed at 1 AM and you’re near the stage dancing with an artist.  However, a lot of amateurs will go to the back of the room and film people who don’t want to be filmed.  This makes people feel uncomfortable and lessens their experience. If you’re a social dancer and would like to be filmed, let the videographer know so they can look for you on the dance floor.

An experienced videographer knows when and how to film certain people.  Filming is an art. You don’t want to show people that you are there with a camera (ie. big LED lights on cameras filming 24/7), you want to blend in and keep your distance.  You want people to watch the video and think - “How the heck did they get that shot?” A 70-200 zoom lens allows us to film people from a distance.

2. They record too much - Amateurs will record everything.  Every social, every couple, every demo- everything.  The problem with this is that you want to maintain a professional image online and not show dead space.  Dead space shows the room isn’t that full and that there aren’t that many people present. You want to show that your event is packed. There is no reason to film at the beginning/end of the evening when there aren’t as many people.

An experienced videographer will shoot to edit.  They have an idea of the shot they need and are imagining how they are going to edit the video.  They’ll shoot during the peak hours of your festival to show the maximum amount of people are present(and also use the right lens).  What’s better? Having 800 gigs of unusable footage, or 200 gigs of amazing footage?

3.  They upload to their own business page - Most hobbyists will upload to their own FB/IG page in hopes of getting as may likes and shares possible.  This benefits them, and not the festival. All video content should be uploaded directly to the client’s page using their logo and branding.  

4.  They claim they have a following - If a person has 3 million followers on instagram and they film your festival, how many of the 3 million followers will actually attend your festival?  The sad reality is: not many. Yes, it’s great for exposure and visibility. However, most of the people consuming dance content and following these types of IG accounts (featured accounts) aren’t really dancers.  They just enjoy seeing boobs, butts, and/or super sexy dancing/grinding.

A person with a following does not mean they are good with a camera.  There are people that are influencers and run featured accounts that do not film.  Again, these people are good for exposure and visibility, but not good for online branding, professional video, and creating value for the dancers that paid to attend your festival.

Viral videos are great for exposure but won’t bring more people to your festival.   We wrote a post about this a few months ago: Pros and Cons of Viral Dance Videos


5.  They don’t do recaps - Most amateurs just film demos(which is really easy and abundant these days).  A recap is extremely difficult to put together in a short amount of time. It requires many lenses, different angles, different locations, different types of movements, and many hours of editing.  

Recaps don’t typically get a lot of views and don’t go viral.  They are created to provide value to everyone who attended your event.  They allow people to reflect on your event and will forever have something to look back on.  It’s a compilation of the entire weekend condensed into one or two minutes.

6.  They decrease the overall value of your festival -  Do you ever see videos online that make you cringe?  Have you seen promoters use poor spelling/grammar when marketing their festival?  Having no online content of your festival is better than having bad content. In today’s online world, social media presence is everything.  It’s good to take a step back and look at your overall image online for your brand/event/festival.

Sometimes it’s nice not having a photographer/videographer present. There is no hype, flashes, or someone following you around snapping 10 photos trying to get that right angle. Everyone is dancing together as one, without any interruptions or distractions.

If latin-dance festivals attracted 5,000+ people, this article would not have been written. However, most latin-dance festivals attract 150-800 people which makes it a unique and sometimes difficult environment to engage and film dancers.

This post was written to strengthen the dance community and create the best possible environment for dancers. Festival organizers and promoters should be aware of the people they bring on to capture their event. Knowledge, experience, awareness, and common sense applies to anyone filming or photographing Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, and Brazilian Zouk festivals.

If you see SBKZ Media present at your festival, please introduce yourself and say hi. When filming, we’re always searching for those smiles :)

Pros and Cons of Viral Dance Videos

The first thing we do when we wake up and the last thing we do before we go to sleep is check our phones.  It's 2018 and we live in world where it seems like everyone wants their dance video to go viral.  Why do we want videos to go viral?  What are the benefits of a video going viral?  What are the downsides of a video going viral?  

Pros:

  1. Exposure - Millions of viewers around the world will see your video. Viewers will be exposed to the dance genre, your name, the festival's name, etc.

  2. Affordability - You can shoot a viral video with your cell phone and upload it within minutes

  3. Entertainment - People are consuming videos more than ever. Watching your video is fun, interesting, and engaging.

Cons:

  1. Conversion - If your video had 8 million views, how many people liked your page or bought your product/service? Are you monetizing the video? What's the goal?

  2. Content - Sure, you can shoot the video with your cell phone but what's the quality and editing like? Does the video portray you as a dancer in the best way possible? Is this the image you want?

  3. Ego - Does it seem like the person is only doing it for likes and shares? Do they live and breathe getting attention and having only low-quality viral videos?

It's pretty easy to create a viral video in today's world.  Search #kizomba or #bachatasensual on Instagram and you'll find many videos that have gone "viral."  Unfortunately, these videos don't represent the dance in the best way possible.  Many people view or like the video because it's shot in a way that sexualizes the dance.  It's obvious to spot the videos, Instagram accounts, and artists are just there for the likes and attention. 

Before creating any video, we always ask ourselves - "what is the objective or goal of this video?"  If the goal is to focus on your butt and get 9 million views, that's not conducive to dance community in any way.  It's not something that we support or would ever film.   

We focus on quality and creating a professional online presence.  If the video goes viral, that's great!  Most of our videos aren't optimized or shot to go viral.  We've had two videos go viral since starting SBKZ Media.  The first was a salsa demo that we filmed at the Montreal Salsa Convention, and the second was a recent video of a Brazilian Zouk Performance in Mexico at Zouk MX.  

Most of our videos get thousands of views, likes, and shares.  Every video we post has a goal and a purpose.  If a video of ours has 157 views, something is wrong (this rarely happens).  Most of our videos are shot with the goal of inspiring people to dance more, creating a great online presence for the artist and promoter, and pushing the dance genre in the right direction to promote healthy competition and a growing, vibrant dance scene.

 

3 things latin-dance promoters and artists should stop doing.

1.  Having multiple personal Facebook accounts.   We've all seen it and have had to deal with it.  At the end of the person's name they have full, I, or II - i.e., My Name Full, My Name I, My Name II. 

This is frustrating when you don't know which account to add/follow.  Also, when you need to reach someone but you don't know which profile to message.  You message one profile but they respond with another.  On top of multiple personal profiles, they have an artist page, a dance company page, and a joint partner page which complicates things further.

What's the solution? It's simple: You delete or convert your additional personal pages and allow people to follow you.  You can have an unlimited amount of followers.  Sure, you'll loose some friends when you delete those extra accounts, but it's worth the short-term expense.  The convenience of properly managing and communicating through one personal FB account is worth it in the long-term.

If you are maxed out at 5k friends, turn on the follow option.  When people try and add you as a friend they are automatically following you.  You can then remove the request request and you are good to go!

2.  SPAM tagging you on FB for every event.  (Even if they know you aren't in the country) Getting notifications is annoying enough.  But getting the same notification from the same promoter every week and having to untag yourself gets incredibly exhausting.  Also, if it's the same weekly event thats been going for the last 5 years, there is definitely no need to be tagging anyone.

Once you create an event, it will automatically appear on everyone's upcoming events that you're friends with.  Unless you are directly involved with hosting the event, no one else should be tagged.  Also, SPAM tagging has become increasingly popular with artists who have a new demo that they just released.   Just like events, demos are filmed almost every day so tagging people who have seen similar demos can becoming draining as well.

3.  Adding dancers to groups that they don't want to be added to.  Groups are extremely convenient in FB when used properly and where valuable information is exchanged.  Unfortunately, in the dance world, 95% of groups are SPAM groups.  Promoters from all over the world post their event, festival, or ****NEW DEMO ALERT*** in every group imaginable.  They spend hours copying and pasting the same text in every group hoping they will get likes or shares.  Facebook has complex algorithms that can pick up on multiple postings using the same text.

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I've had people add me as friends just so they can add me on a group.  When you leave the group you've been forced to join without your permission, be sure to click the box 'Prevent others from adding me to this group.'  

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Additional tips for the dance community:

-If you notice these three things happening to you on a regular basis, just unfriend the person.  Just because you unfriend them on FB, does not mean you aren't friends with them in the real world.  It's nothing personal.

-In your privacy settings, be sure to prevent posts from being posted on your wall without your approval.  

-Going live on facebook is probably the most annoying things I see on a daily basis.  Facebook is really trying to push individuals and businesses to go live.  I don't recommend going live unless you are partying with Justin Bieber.  

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With more and more events and festivals popping up every month, promoters and artists are desperate for attention.  It's important to identify those that are marketing themselves the right way, versus those are not.

If you found this article helpful, let me know.  Let me know what other things annoy you in the latin-dance world of Facebook.  Tag a friend, share this article, and let's improve how promoters and artists market themselves in the latin-dance scene.

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Thank you 2017 latin-dance festivals!

2017 was an incredibly busy year for us.  We filmed over 15 Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, and Brazilian Zouk dance festivals and congresses.  We were exposed to many different promoters, locations, cities, countries, personalities, dancers, and artists.  We learned a lot about how different festivals are organized and ran.

Like with anything in life, one needs to have balance.  Filmed festivals every weekend will inevitabley burn someone out.  We tried our best to keep a good balance of local gigs, travel, and dance gigs.  Unfortunately, there were months where we filmed several dance festivals consecutively.  

With all the experience we got in 2017, 2018 looks brighter than ever.  We have new clients on the horizon and are super excited to continue working with with our favorite festivals.  It's not easy traveling with expensive equipment and filming/editing a 3-5 day festival non-stop.  There are times where we need to take a step back and take a break.  

Bachatea - Madrid
Amsterdam ZNL Zouk Festival - Amsterdam
Bachata French Kiss - Troyes
WestZoukTIME - Bruno
L.A Zouk Festival - Long Beach
Official - Prague Zouk Congress - Prague
Montreal Salsa Convention - Montreal
Zouk Me Summer Fest - San Francisco
Los Angeles BKS Festival - Orange County
Kizomba Luxembourg - Luxembourg
MiamiBeach KizombaFestival - Miami
Zoukadise - Puerto Vallarta
Montreal Is Kizomba - Montreal
Dutch International Zouk Congress - Breda
Hawaii Zouk Festival - Honolulu
Kizomba Harmony African Dance Experience - Cancun

Check out our work: sbkzmedia.com
Follow us on IG: instagram.com/sbkz_media

We don't try and work with every festival.  Rather, we focus on relationships with good promoters that are fair, honest, and try to do what's best for their respective dance community and push it in the right direction.  A big thanks to all of those promoters that we've worked with, and that we continue to work with in the future - you know who you are!!