If you look at high end marketing – think BMW or Dior – part of the marketing effort almost always includes videos. The reason is simple – people love watching video on the internet and it is now very, very easy to upload and display video on websites, YouTube and Facebook. As easy as putting up still pictures.
by Hannah Jay
For an independent escort, video can lead to more calls, more dates and higher rates. Of course it can also lead to significant costs, so paying attention to lower cost alternatives over the high-production-value spectaculars, makes a lot of sense.
With nothing more than a smartphone, a couple of cheap accessories and a free app or two, you can make your own videos.
Video almost always tells a story. An escort who wants her videos to be effective needs to think about what story she wishes to convey.
A story is usually told with an audience in mind. For example, an escort can build a world-wide audience with some clever YouTube videos, but is a world-wide audience what she is looking for? Alternatively, a video might have a story which is tightly focused on the escort’s home city.
A story does not have to be long. In fact, if you look at the most effective commercials on television they are no more than a minute and often 30 seconds.
The story needs to focus on the escort, she’s the product being sold; but the story does not have to be a hard sell. Humour, a sense of fun, sensuality, costumes and props all contribute to an enticing video.
The objective of the story is a sale (for a potential client to get in touch with you). To achieve this, the story will usually end with an invitation. That invitation can be direct or it can simply be text of your working name, number and email, and your website. Marketers refer to this as the “call to action”.
Can you come up with three, easy-to-shoot scenes which would entice a potential client but which you could shoot on your iPhone? Yes you can! And here’s how.
The Shot List
In the movie business, every production begins with a shot list and it pretty much determines the way an entire movie is made. (OK, actually there is a treatment, a script, a shooting script and a story board but the shot list is what governs the shoot.)
A shot list is just that: a list of the shots which need to be taken. For example:
Long shot, exterior, dusk, Julia’s apartment is the shot; now, what needs to be there? Actor? Maybe. If so, then what is the actor wearing, carrying? Is there a voice over or music?
Close up, Julia putting a stocking on, interior Julia’s apartment cue more questions.
Even if your video is only going to have five shots, it is worth laying them out on paper. Being really well organized on a shoot will save you time and a lot of aggravation. Trust me on this.
Think about editing. There are some videos which are simply fun and spontaneous in themselves and are not going to be edited, nor should they be. Other videos will take longer to edit than to shoot. If you know you are going to be editing, make sure you leave time at the beginning and end of a shot where there is something in focus but no sound.
Plan your audio. Are you going to be speaking on camera? Or will there be a voice- over or a little of both? If you are going to be speaking, make sure that you plan for sound checks before every shot. There is nothing less fun than having a great shot where the sound is inaudible or a big truck starts up halfway through.
Finally, shot list in hand, carefully plan your outfit(s), makeup, hair and props. Think about the story you are telling and dress accordingly. There is no right way to dress in a video or a photo shoot. What you are trying to do is create a “look” which fits the story you want to tell and the mood you set.
Naked Or Not?
Escort videos can be pretty racy. Yawn. However it is almost never a good idea for an escort to be naked in videos she plans to use for promotional purposes. There are five very good reasons:
First, escorts sell their time, not sex. This is the legal basis upon which the entire escorting business exists. Appearing naked in a video which is promoting your escort business is rather strong evidence that you are offering more than companionship..
The second reason is all about seduction: by keeping your clothes on in a promotional video you are offering a glimpse of how delightful it might be if activities between consenting adults were to take place. As we never tire of repeating, the most fundamental erogenous zone is between the ears, and suggestion is almost always more enticing than getting explicit. Learn the art of subtlety.
The third reason is vanity: just about everyone looks better in a few wisps of fabric, or something. While Playboy Playmates eventually reveal their naughty bits they are almost never photographed naked. A pretty bra, a sexy slip, garter belt, stockings are all adornments which create an alluring and powerful image.
And the fourth: incentive. You have presented your potential clients with a provocative glimpse, but they will have to book an appointment to have any hope of seeing more. Which is the incentive to book an appointment.
And, the fifth: money. The phone call/text/email/chat/whatever which all happily lead to dollars in your hand. The raisons d’ être for this little video production, after all.
Not quite ready for Prime Time? Start with a Video Selfie
You are not a movie star, nor are you a director or a film maker. So for your escort video, stick with something simple. In fact, the easiest and cheapest video can be nothing more than a selfie shot on your camera phone and lasting 15 seconds. What’s the story? Nothing too complicated. Something like this:
[looking into the camera] Hi, I’m Alexis and I love being a companion for men in XYZ city and all you guys who come here. I do in-calls at this lovely apartment right downtown and I do out-calls to select hotels.
[medium shot with full body shot of escort in a pretty skirt and blouse undoing the buttons on the blouse] My favorite thing is the full girlfriend experience. No rush, just enjoying each others company. [blouse is now at the critical button.]
[shot of face] Would you like to see more? Call or email [fade to numbers]
Nothing could be simpler and more to the point. It is well worthwhile to shoot a little video like this long before you even think about anything more complicated because this may be all you need to get your phone ringing.
Now, having said that, when you look at your very first video selfie you are going to notice all sorts of things you did wrong. First off, unless you are very lucky, the lighting will not be quite right. Second, the sound quality may be a bit off. Your makeup will look odd on video. Your delivery of your lines will be “weird”.
Which just does not matter because you can reshoot the video as many times as you need to get it right. As you reshoot, you’ll be getting better with each and every re-take. More confident in front of the camera, improved delivery of your lines. You’ll adjust the light and wear a blouse with less irritating buttons. Just don’t lose your sense of humour or your patience in the process.
Two key things for every DIY video no matter how basic:
First, even with good image stabilization, it is critical to have your camera resting on something. You can buy a cheap little phone tripod, and we do mean cheap. Less than $4.00 from Amazon. Or rest your phone on a pile of books. No matter what, having zero camera shake will make even the simplest home video look professional.
Second, lighting matters. You don’t need professional video lights, you do need a lot of light and, ideally, very few shadows. Amazon is your friend here as well. For less than $20 plus shipping you can get an LED light which attaches to your phone. But for more versatile lighting a halogen construction light for less than $20.00 at Amazon or at Home Depot can really illuminate a room. Do not shine the light directly at what you are shooting. Bounce those photons off a wall or ceiling. But, watch out, these lights get hot.
The great advantage of a short video you shoot yourself, is that you are in control. You make the decisions and control the cost, and it takes all of an hour of your life.
Kick it up a Notch
Your simple intro video selfie may be all you need, but you can easily kick it up a notch.
Fool around a bit with your phone’s camera. Grab some close-ups of a few of the icons of the escort’s trade: great high heels, a pretty bit of lingerie, a rumpled set of sheets, a shot of bubble bath, a shot of you in the bubble bath…There are limitless possibilities.
The actual “lines” in the video may be the much the same as in the basic video – you are just introducing yourself and inviting gentlemen to call. But this video will have a “mood”.
Video is, obviously, a visual medium and a shot of a pair of panties draped over a chair with a pair of pretty high heels below tells a story wordlessly.
If you are trying to do this yourself, help is at hand: there are brilliant apps which turn your smartphone into a pretty good basic video editor. An app like Magisto – basic version is free for iOS and Android – lets you put together different shots, trim specific shots and put in filters and transitions. Plus, it lets you put in background music. Nice.
The key to video success when you are the writer, producer, director, videographer and star is to keep it simple and be organized. Yes, you do need a shot list even when it is your own production. Yes, you do need a prop table with every object which is to be shot neatly arranged and carefully examined for scuffs and stains. I assure you every imperfection will show up under your lighting.
When you are making your shot list think about the atmosphere – night or day? Natural light or darkness punctuated with artificial light? Think about the shots themselves and the transitions. You might want to start with an extreme close up and with each succeeding shot pull back a little until, by the time you are in the shot, we can actually see most of you. Yes, those little pieces of tape you see on video studio floors really do have a meaning. Stand on one and you are very close to the camera, stand on another and your are far enough away that your hairstyle and stockings tops will all be in the shot.
If you are using a modern smartphone, there is a capacity in the video mode to zoom in or out in a shot. While good results can sometimes be obtained, often the zoom effect can look cheesy. It may be better to save “zooming” for the edit or dispense with it all together.
Critically, each shot should be a little longer than it will be in the “final cut”. That length gives you some room when it comes time to edit. Equally critically, take the time to film each shot at least twice if not three times. You might change the camera position slightly between shots but otherwise keep everything the same. It takes time to set up even the simplest still shot and it is worth having a couple of versions “in the can”.
When you finally appear on camera do a test shot to see if makeup and hair are right. Then practice your lines so that you can check the sound levels. Play that test shot back and make any adjustments needed. Take your time.
If you are using a halogen light, even bouncing it off the wall, you are going to get warm as you set up shots. It is a good idea to do all the still shots as well as any exteriors or interiors all at once and in your old jeans and a tee-shirt. Getting good shots involves a lot of crawling around. Once you have the still shots you want, then it is time to glam up and get ready for your close up.
Every girl is different and the camera will render every girl slightly differently. Photography make-up is not everyday street make-up, so either familiarize yourself with the techniques by watching a few tutorials on line (there are lots) or hire a pro. Remember that we live in a high definition world so, for example, the foundation you are wearing needs to extend well past your jaw line and be blended well. The same blend, blend, blend rule applies to contouring, blush, and eyeshadow. Even stars on the red carpet have ended up embarrassed because face powder that looks flawless to the eye, can turn Morticia like when the lights and cameras flash. What you see in your makeup mirror and what your camera sees are going to be very different. If you are doing your own makeup, start minimal and check what it looks like under your lights and on your camera. Adding a bit of colour is easy, subtracting is more difficult.
Bear in mind, as you do your make-up and select your outfits, that you may well be applying some filters and adjusting exposure and brightness. And remember that your prospective clients are going to want to actually see the girl they see in the video. So, unless you want to do a makeover for every date, you will still want to look like you.
You can create a visually stunning image with something as simple as a great, red lipstick against an otherwise pale make-up palette. Think Taylor Swift, Gwen Stefani, forties femme fatales.
For wardrobe, you might well do two or even three looks but you will need to do a test shot of each one to make sure it works. When you are doing a test shot put yourself in exactly the position you plan to be in for the “take”. Then look very carefully at the test shot. Make sure the outfit’s colour on video is flattering. Look for puckers and bulges caused by how you are positioned. Then look behind your ravishing countenance —that pile of laundry is likely not the backdrop you want, and the picture of your boyfriend should be taken down, and what about the octopus of black cords beside your night table?
Remember, this is video. With still photography, three minutes of Photoshop will eliminate the background clutter, pimples, unwanted wrinkles and even inches. But, alas, with video, these fixes are difficult, if not impossible. Which means that you need to pay ruthless attention. Have a zit, use concealer. Look for a neutral, blank, backgrounds that don’t distract from beautiful you. Most of all, rigorously do test shots of everything before the final production and look very, very carefully for anything which is out of place.
Once you are satisfied with all these elements, do a take. Just you and the camera and whatever your lines are. Speak as clearly and as slowly as you can. Don’t have a script nearby from which you can read from because you will look at it—yes, even if you know your lines you will— and thus away from the camera. (If you really have to have a script, write it in big letters and put it behind the camera.) Do several takes of each shot and eventually you will relax, have fun. Channel your favourite star or media personality—from the six o’clock news reporter, to Dita von Teese, to Downton Abbey, become her. Some of the most natural “takes” are usually unintentional like when you thought the camera was off. Most of all, don’t worry; this will all be edited. Thank goodness for technology!
The real difference between the video selfie and a real, DIY, video is the editing. Whole books are written on how to edit but you can accomplish a lot simply by taking the best of the “takes” and putting them together with simple transitions. Fading from one shot to the next where the visuals “blend” will work well if the basic light is much the same. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But it does have to look “finished.” By all means add background music but remember that music sets its own mood and tells its own story, Chopin creates a different ambience than Katy Perry. On the other hand, cool jazz can be sensual and calming. Be mindful of copyright. You don’t want Katy’s lawyer at your door if you go viral.
Once you have an edit, with background music, take a cold, critical look at your work. Because here is the most important part about DIY video: the first one you make teaches you how to make the next video ten times better. Warning: this new hobby can become an obsession, and your friends will think you have left the country.
This first video will be a great marketing tool on your website. And it is an excellent marketing ploy on a BackPage ad to add, “Check out my new video,” with a link to your site. You can also put it up at YouTube (as long as the naughty bits remain discreetly hidden.) You have become a veritable marketing maven, you clever girl.
Once you have done one full scale DIY video, you’ll be able to do regular video updates. Oh, what fun! And don’t forget the power of a fresh video selfie to keep you potential clients interested. The internet is all about the “right now”. Video updates keep your ads, website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed and Vine fresh. And it builds your escort brand even when you are sleeping (you are sleeping, right?)