The importance of your promotional material cannot be overstated. Cruise lines are hiring entertainers for 3 to 6 month contracts based on short 10 minute videos. As you only have a limited amount of time to prove yourself, we suggest following the tips below to stand out as a qualified candidate!
1. All Online – Upload requested video material to a video sharing website like YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Hard-copy DVDs can sit in pile for months whereas a link to an online video only takes a second to pull up and review. Additionally, your Song List and Performance Resume should be sent via email.
IMPORTANT: Although submitting online material is strongly preferred, be aware of file size. A submission email should not exceed 3 Megabytes.
2. Video Song Selection – Specific songs and styles may depend on the desired position, however generally speaking, keep selections up-beat with energy and enthusiasm. All song selections should be covers. On board, entertainers will only play covers (not original music) and an audition should reflect that.
For positions that involve vocals (Piano Bar Entertainer, Guitar/Vocalist, Standards Quartet, Party Band), including an instrumental selection or two is advantageous. This way the cruise line can get a better sense of your musicianship.
Although positions are similar industry-wide, each cruise line caters to a different clientele. The ship may have more of a younger/fun environment or an older/classy vibe on board. A versatile audition video makes you eligible for more opportunities.
3. Video Song Length – An effective submission should be about 10, short – 30 second, clips demonstrating a variety in style and era. Perspective musicians should avoid submitting full songs versus excerpts to ensure the material keeps the cruise line’s attention.
4. Members Featured – For group submissions, the members in the video need to be the members who can commit to performing on the ship. Far too often, a video is approved by a cruise line and the group cannot be hired because only one or two of the members in the audition are actually available for a contract.
5. Appearance and Audience Interaction – When a cruise line reviews material, they are trying to envision the entertainer/act performing on board. If your Piano Bar promo shows you in ripped jeans, t-shirt and flip flops, it becomes very difficult for the cruise line to see you performing in their lounge on a formal night. Rather, dress and look the part. If you are interested in performing in a swanky lounge on board a 5 Star Cruise Ship, dress and look accordingly. Wearing a tuxedo is not over-dressing.
6. Entertainment Value and Audience Interaction – Many perspective musicians get hung up on choosing the perfect video location, camera and sound quality. Although a live setting with an audience is preferred, shooting footage from your living room will suffice. The most important aspect of the audition is not whether or not you have a professional videographer, but rather, showing the cruise line a product that they can picture on one of their ships. Not only does talent supersede video quality, but entertainment value should be a main focus. Having a positive, engaging, friendly and energetic attitude is essential on board and thus is essential in your promo as well. If you do not have live footage with audience interaction, perform as if the camera is the audience and entertain. Many musicians claim, “I will be much more entertaining on board.” Leave out the guessing game and be as entertaining as possible in your video. At the end of the day, the cruise experience is for passengers and “entertaining” entertainers leave lasting impressions for guests.
7. Song List – You should submit, preferably in PDF form, at least 200 songs in your list. The selections in your song list will depend on position: a string quartet’s song list will be very different from a party band quartet’s list. However, the list should be well-organized by name, artist and genre. This repertoire list should show an impressive range of styles and eras in which you can perform music from.
8. Performance Resume – This document should include all previous relevant experience. Do include: Any past cruise employment, list of venues/dates in which you’ve performed and music education. Do not include: Irrelevant information such as non-music related day-job, education or previous non-music employment.
9. Photo and Availability- Although you can be seen in your video, a nice colored photo will make you stand out as a professional. Also make sure to include when you are available to begin a 3 to 6 month contract.
10. Perspective: In sum, put yourself in the cruise line’s shoes. What would you want to see from a perspective musician? A bland and boring unprofessional hard-copy DVD or an up-beat, excited, well-organized easy to review online submission?