Since taking on the video work for The New Chitlin Circuit podcast, my perspective on the must-haves for a social media promotional video have changed slightly. These new lessons are additions to the ones I shared in the first version of this post.
If the TikTok kids have taught me anything, it’s the importance of music in a video, either as a background noise or as part of the narrative itself.
Above:an older, music-free version of my videos. Social media video to promote The New Chitlin Circuit’s review of “Back to the Goode Life”
Right: New version of video with music. Social media video to promote The New Chitlin Circuit’s review of “School Dance”
Forget the SpokenAudio
As stated in the prior post, the lengthiest part of the editing process is finding the right podcast clip. So why not just skip that step all together?
The new goal of the promo videos is not to promote the podcast, but primarily to promote the film being reviewed on the podcast.
Left: New video format, without podcast audio. Social media video to promote The New Chitlin Circuit review of “Farewell Amor”
Add a Progress Bar
For videos longer than 15-20sec, a progress bar helps retain the viewer. Let the viewer know how much of their time you’re asking for.
Left: Example of progress bar use. Social media video to promote The New Chitlin Circuit review of “The Light Between Us”
Splurge on the Graphics
The biggest improvement in my video work has been in the motion graphics and transitions. Along with getting stronger at keyframing out my own graphics, I’ve really learned the value of purchasing motion graphic packs. It gives the video a much more polished look.
The old, endcard graphic simply displayed The New Chitlin Circuit logo. While the new one provides more actionable information for the viewer stream the podcast and watch the movie.
Left: Example of an original graphic endcard, designed by me. Social media video to promote The New Chitlin Circuit review of “Cold, Hard Truth”
And the best part of all the lessons I’ve learned so far is…that I’m still learning! Always will be.
Each week after recording and releasing The New Chitlin Circuit, we’re still tasked with promoting that content. This requires finding the right 20 seconds out of nearly an hour long review.
Audiograms are commonplace for podcast promotion, but in truth, when is the last time you actually listened to a full audiogram? Or shared one on your own feed?
So a visual component is needed. Luckily for The New Chitlin Circuit, the topic of our content is inherently visual: movies. And with our mission to uplift and engage Black indie filmmakers, what better way to do so than using the promotional trailers from the Black indies we cover?
My challenge each week is to find an engaging <20sec sound bite, and pair it with an interesting edit of the film’s trailer. The challenge keeps me busy, but it is quite rewarding to see a video contribute to a spike in listenership or spark a discussion online.
Lessons Learned in Video Editing for Social Media
Always create content with a goal and target viewer in mind.
For Twitter: Larger captions, placed higher in frame work best.
Keep it simple. Make one point with each video. One thing the viewer is supposed to remember.
Square (1×1) sizing is optimal for most platforms, but best for Instagram.
Above: Social media video to promote The New Chitlin Circuit’s review of “Back to the Goode Life”
Right: Social media video to promote The New Chitlin Circuit’s review of “Angrily Ever After”
This week Syd & Lex reviewed the buzzworthy indie drama ‘Waves’ (2019) starring Kelvin Harrison Jr, Sterling K. Brown, and Renee Elise Goldsberry. The movie was directed by Trey Edward Shultz and distributed by A24.
Waves follows a south Florida family navigating the stresses of family life and the tragedy of loss.
Syd & Lex share their thoughts on the stresses of a high-achieving High Schooler, reflecting back on the pressures felt by many teenagers in Tyler’s (played by Harrison Jr.) position. Lex notes the careful cinematography in Waves, citing the recent movement toward beautiful film often at the expense of functional shots and driving plot with the camera.
Both hosts are big fans of Sterling K Brown in the TV show This Is Us. So they remark on how startling it is to see Brown in the role of a mean father, contrasting the loving Randall Pearson America watches each week on This Is Us.
Syd’s Who Came to Ack Nominee of the Week:
Syd nominates Kelvin Harrison Jr. for the weekly Who Came to Ack award. Harrison character, Tyler, seems eerily similar to Harrison’s character in another indie film ‘Luce’. But by the climax of Waves it’s clear that the characters are on different ends of the spectrum. This is quite a nod to Harrison Jr.’s abilities as an actor.
Segment: On Second Watch
Syd & Lex reflect on the now 20 year-old action flick, ‘Romeo Must Die’ featuring the late Aaliyah. The hosts give credit to the impact and coolness of the film….but question the true quality. Is ‘Romeo Must Die’ still worth a watch?
This week Syd & Lex reviewed Love Jacked, available on Netflix, and starring Amber West Stevens and Shamier Anderson. The movie follows a young artist who travels to South Africa for inspiration, but finds love and antics instead.
The movie includes some delightful appearances from some idols in Black film; Marla Gibbs, Keith David, and Mike Epps. The direction from Alfons Adetuyi and cinematography from Lance Gewer provided the perfect visual backdrop for this light-hearted romance.
Syd & Lex share their thoughts on Black rom-coms. Both hosts share a nostalgic appreciation for Hallmark romance films, so they appreciated the clean adaptation of that format in Love Jacked.
Lex enjoyed seeing Keith David in another endearing Father role. While he nailed the Disapproving Dad in this movie, Lex reflects fondly on his similar role in the classic ATL.
This week Syd & Lex reviewed Selah and the Spades, starring Lovie Simone and Jharrel Jerome. We were excited to finally watch this movie. Selah and the Spades is the directorial debut of young Director, Tayarisha Poe.
“Like Mean Girls meets the Godfather”
Syd & Lex share their thoughts on this teen drama. And Syd expresses her long-running appreciation for organized crime, along with the parallels between New York’s five crimes families and the movie’s five factions. Lex has some thoughts on young directors’ love for trick shots and flashy cinematography.
Syd’s Who Came to Ack Nominee of the Week:
This week, we’re trying a new format. Our (spoiler-free) review of Selah and the Spades will in the first half of the episode. And, each week, we’ll have rotating segments. This week, our segment was “On Second Watch” where Syd defends the classic ‘Love and Basketball.’
Tune In Here!
The New Chitlin Circuit is a podcast hosted by two best friends, and Black movie-enthusiasts, Syd and Lex. We review Black indie, low-budget, and direct-to-tv movies. Learn more about The New Chitlin Circuit.
This week Syd & Lex reviewed rom-com, ‘Always a Bridesmaid’, written by Yvette Nicole Brown and directed by Trey Haley. Brown is known for her acting roles in television shows like Community and Drake & Josh. But she shows her chops as a film writer in the charming romance flick.
Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride?
Syd & Lex share their thoughts on modern romance and the anxiety to wed experienced by just about every 29-year-old, successful Romance protagonist. Lex is tired of hetero romances, but also cannot seem to stop watching them.
This week Syd & Lex reviewed the newly released ‘Uncorked’, written, directed, and produced by Prentice Penny. Penny is known for his work on the HBO show ‘Insecure’, but ‘Uncorked’ is his film debut. And what a debut it is!
Which type of White Wine are you?
Syd & Lex share their thoughts on this classic tale of a young man balancing his the pursuit of his dreams with the responsibility to his family. Niecy Nash, Courtney B. Vance, and Mamoudou Athie come together to make ‘Uncorked’ a heart-warming showcase of Black families.
The New Chitlin Circuit, a podcast reviewing black indie, low-budget, and direct-to-tv black movies, is hosted by Syd and Lex.
What do chitlins have to do with movies?
The ‘Chitlin Circuit’ is a term used to describe a ring of performance venues where black entertainers could perform. Throughout American history this term has mainly referred to theatre and musical venues. But now independent black performers can showcase their work on streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Urban Movie Channel. This is what we call the new Chitlin Circuit. We started The New Chitlin Circuit as a place for independent Black films to receive the spotlight and appreciation they deserve.
What type of movies will we review?
While attending Howard University, Syd and I were roommates. And our favorite way to wind down on a Friday night was a tall glass of cheap Moscato (ahh, college) and the blackest movie we could find.
While many film buffs scoff at the Sister Codes and Boy Byes on the movie world, Syd and I love these feel-good flicks. But after finishing a movie like Plug Love, when I search the web to find the critical reception or the online conversation about the movie…there’s nothing. So The New Chitlin Circuit is our answer to that.
Black independent film comes in many genres and our goal is to highlight all kinds of black indies. So we’ll review the gangster movies, the rom-coms with Marques Houston, the arthouse dramas with Sundance buzz, and everything in between.
Syd is a native of Lithonia, GA and Howard Alum. She’s a proud member of the Beyhive, a Cheetah Girls enthusiast, and your local Black culture expert. While Syd is a professional Marketer, she moonlights as a free-trial scammer. Meet Syd!
Lex grew up in Metro Atlanta, but is (overly) proud of their country, Alabama roots. If Lex is chatting at a party, chances are they’re talking about public transit, a Tyler Perry movie, or some gay sh*t. Meet Lex!
Tune in every Monday to hear our review of the very best of Black independent movies!
Every day I fall deeper into corporate cliches. My most recent descent is listening to podcast while I work. It started as just catching up on The Read and Insecuritea. Then I exhausted the new episodes of those shows and found myself listening to a narrative I never thought I’d care about.
I flung my headphones off after listening to the first episode and said to my co-workers, “Y’all, Richard Simmons is missing!!”
While most people had only known Richard Simmons as the loud and fun VHS exercise instructor, he was far more complex. Apparently Richard Simmons had developed deep connections with dozens of fans-turned-friends. But one day, 3 years ago, he stopped speaking to everyone. He stopped teaching his public workout class that he’s been teaching for decades. He stopped greeting tourists outside his house. And he stopped it all suddenly, without a notice or explanation.
The podcast, Missing Richard Simmons, is narrated by Dan Taberski, a filmmaker and long-term acquaintance of Simmons.
The series is only 6 episodes long, but about half way through I had already drawn some conclusions on the mystery. Many of the people Richard had befriended over the past decades were people he was helping through their depression and weight loss journey. After hearing so many stories of him literally saving people’s lives, I had concluded, “Maybe Richard grew tired of taking care of so many people. After all, had he any time to work through his own problems?”
This series was enticing and a bit dissatisfying toward the end, in the way complex mysteries can be. Needless to say, I consumed the entire series in one day.