Army Entertainment is Entertainment for the Soldier by the Soldier. We make it happen. Soldiers from around the globe are chosen according to their talents and skills to bring entertainment to our Army Family. It is professional entertainment because our Soldiers nothing less than professional all the time. You can trust us to do things that no other production company in the world can do. All Soldiers, all the time.
Become a part of the Cast and Crew.
I literally see hundreds of videos every year of Soldiers who would absolutely love to be in the US Army Soldier Show. I am always amazed at how many Soldiers have some tremendous talent that they’ve been using to lift morale in whatever unit they happen to be assigned to. Soldiers are such a romantic lot. I guess it takes an idealistic mindset that would send a soul running through hell and high water for nothing more than an idea – a way of life.
That being said, sometimes our Soldiers are still a bit rough around the edges. Often the videos we receive just don’t do their talent justice. So in case you were wondering if your video measures up… here are some do’s and don’ts to help you produce a nice simple video that compliments instead of distracts from your talent.
Common Video Submission Mistakes and Tips
- Denying your true talent – SPC Grainger in this video, thinks he is a serious singer but doesn’t respect his own great dancing ability. On the other hand, if you sell yourself as a dancer but are too timid to sing even though you can, you are denying your gift. Ask your peers and mentors their opinions. Maybe your perception is skewed because you can only see your flipped image in a mirror from one single direction.
- Poor Lighting – Make sure you are well lit but not washed out. The most common mistake is too much back-lighting. I literally have videos of silhouettes. The only features I can see are the whites of their eyes and their teeth. Who is that? I don’t know.
- Rejecting your audience – Don’t state who you are with confidence and then turn away and timidly sing to the corner of the room for your entire song. Likewise, don’t close your eyes and block me out. If you need to communicate something to me, you better acknowledge my presence, stand strong and sing TO me. I may be on the other side of that camera, but you need to be singing TO me, not just in my presence.
- Poor wardrobe choices – Wear something that compliments you. Don’t do your video in your PTs or with a silly cap on. In addition, we are fit, healthy Soldiers who look sexy naturally. If you distract the eye with your skimpy, blatant sexuality, it WILL detract from your performance.
- Not enough variety – If you do three songs that are similar in rhythm and style and mood you demonstrate your inability to adapt to new situations. That is definitely not an Army mentality.
- No musical track – Acapella songs are great, but if your submission includes no songs with accompaniment track, how do we know you can match pitch and sing in tempo?
- No solo footage – It’s wonderful to see someone who HAS and CAN work well in a group, but how will we know which performer is you? What if someone else completely outshines you? What if I call you to find out who that other person is on your video?
- Audio distortion – We know you are professional Soldiers and not professional entertainers, but have a little pride in your talent. Often we have adequate auditions done on high-end phones, but they better be in a proper setting. (see the notes above on poor lighting) If you are in a small room, too close to the mic and the sound is distorting, then you will annoy the listeners instead of entertaining them. We’ll skip to the next video.
- Obscure song choice – Hearing a familiar song is like seeing an old friend. An audition is your one opportunity to grab your audiences attention. You don’t have time to introduce them to a new song. Grab them with something they will recognize quickly so you can jump straight into the good part of the song immediately without the set-up.
- Have fun! – visualize being in a low-stress environment where you wouldn’t care so much if you make small technical mistakes. I see auditions where people are so nervous that I feel nervous as well. Is that how you want to make your audience feel?
- Be yourself – Don’t try to be someone that you are not. It’s one thing to alter your state of mind and walk a mile in another man’s shoes, but if you’re trying to “act”, look, sound or be some other entertainer, you better be unbelievably believable or no one will trust you.
- Rehearse at performance level – There is a time to break things down “Barney style” for technical skill. but once you know a song, practice at performance level. Imagine yourself in front of 10,000 people. When you get the chance to actually perform in that setting you want to definitely be prepared for that situation. So do the Soldier thing – train like we fight.
- Leave them wanting more - Often we have video in excess of 10 minutes for a single talent. When was the last time you sat and watched an info-mercial? When was the last time you had a marathon viewing of dozens of info-mercials, one right after the other? Have pity on our selection board; edit your videos. Show only what you want them to see. Keep it short. Keep it simple. Over and out.
- Be a story-teller – You are a leader. You are in front of people to convey some message, moral or story. Communicate with them. Be “IN” the situation that you are conveying so they can simply empathize with you. Don’t “try” to “feel” it. For instance, the National Anthem. Remember how you felt when you peered between the cell bars that early morning and saw, by the light of the bombs bursting in air, your beautiful, tattered flag still waving? If you cannot remember that moment, sing something else.
SGT D says:
Remember. Be professional. Stand Strong. Increase the trust. Never circumnavigate without properly informing. Always respect the Support Chain and Command. Mind what is in your charge until you are no longer in charge of it. Don’t expect a pat on the back; you’re in the Army not the Air Force. Pat your Soldiers on the back when they deserve it. A pat on the back is not “laying hands on a Soldier”. Patience is a virtue that is possessed by those who rarely get what they want in the Army. Be relentless when the greater good requires it. Remember, things could always be worse… but if you can make it better, do it!!!
SPC Melendez is one of our fearless staff members who mans the phones here at Army Entertainment. Right now, most of her time is spent making sure talent prospects for the 2014 US Army Soldier Show have all the paperwork required for consideration. Hundreds of Soldiers apply every year to be a part of the Soldier Show, but only a handful are chosen to come to the live auditions. Soldiers like SPC Melendez are true professionals who operate behind the scenes and are a first point of contact for Soldiers wanting to be a part of our grand mission – Entertainment for the Soldier by the Soldier. You can always trust these guys to stand strong till the end and complete the mission.
SPC Phelps from Army Entertainment Detachment jokingly asks, “Where’s the paper?” It is important that the prospects for the 2014 US Army Soldier Show complete all required paperwork before being considered for the live auditions in February. The Soldier Show cast members and technicians are required to be either Officers or Enlisted in the US Army. They are not actually assigned to Army Entertainment, they are attached. That means there are special requirements that need to be met in order to borrow them from there units. First and foremost, their Battalion Commander has to sign off on this lengthy commitment as each worthy Soldier will be away from their unit from February thru November, 2014.
Why all the paper? Simple. We are not just an Army of grunts. We are professionals! Certainly we love firing the big guns, driving the awesome vehicles and playing with all those expensive toys, but there are obligations to fill before the privileges. Did you file the correct paperwork? Did you get that new DA photo? Did you check that email before lunch? To be in today’s Army you have to be a professional. America’s trust is in us doing the right thing. We are the good guys, but no one knows if there is no account of your deeds. Do the right thing. Be professional. Be a leader. Be the face of the Army. We at Army Entertainment have to be professional because the Soldier Show is the face of the Army.
The Soldier Show is a huge production that cannot be entrusted to anyone but the utmost professionals. From the rigging of the grid that carries the sound and lights, to the creation of the sets that make the show look like a million bucks, our trusty enlisted technicians make it all happen. SGT Zeller is the technical director of the US Army Soldier Show while we are on tour. When he finally gets a chance to come home to his family, there are so many things to be done in preparation for the next tour. We sometimes think there is nothing SGT Zeller cannot do. He is always the professional who leads his Soldiers to accomplish the most daunting tasks in a timely manner. You want a new sound wall? Done! You want a ring of fire? Done! You want to raise 80,000 pounds of steel, sound and lights in the air? Done! Relax. It’s all under control at the Soldier Show.
Recently the Staff of the US Army Soldier Show created and performed a show for a local school. The parents, teachers and especially the kids loved it. Camelot Elementary School in San Antonio, TX is a wonderful place for children to learn. Army Entertainment Detachment has sponsored this local institution to provide positive role models for children who might not know what we, the US Army, are all about. The Army is more than Soldiers who fight wars. We are professionals who live and work in every community in America. This is our country and we love it! We care about making this a better America. We all have a promise to Stand Strong as a beacon of light in a professional world. Even when we are playing with kids, we show the professional, disciplined, organized side of America that many rarely get to see. The children love it! It is wonderful to see these kids’ faces light up when a Soldier enters the room. You should see them proudly salute as they walk by. They trust us to be the protectors of America. They are awesome kids!!!
Become a part of the Cast and Crew.
Army Entertainment is seeking technicians and performers for the 2014 U.S.Army Soldier Show and Army Concert Tour. Don’t miss this opportunity to showcase your talents whether it’s in the spotlight or behind the scenes. Auditions are open to all Soldiers – Active, Reserve and Guard – and all nominees must have a minimum of 90 days time in service remaining after completion of 2014 tour (on or about 30 November 2014). Nominees must be deployable worldwide as Army Entertainment will tour to overseas areas. Video auditions and technical review will take place mid-January 2014, with live-auditions occurring in February, 2014. Finalists will be notified by Army Entertainment. Soldiers selected for 2014 Army Entertainment programs will have change of duty or change of rater evaluation reports completed prior to departure from the parent unit.
It’s wonderful to be with family around the holidays. My parents have moved back to the family farm since retirement. Mama grew up in South Georgia picking cotton. For most of her childhood she had 2 dresses that she made for herself. When it was time to take the goods from the farm to the market she was so excited when it was her turn to go with my Granddaddy. They may have grown the cotton but they didn’t spin the thread or weave the material. When in town, Mama got to pick out the flower. At that time the flower sacks were made of cotton fabric that was printed with beautiful floral prints. Mama chose the flower & in turn was choosing the material that her new dress would be made out of.
Some say that it was a simpler time. If getting up before dawn, picking cotton with your hands, gathering eggs to pay for your bus ride to school, walking miles & miles everyday and studying by lantern light while you heat your bath water on a wood-burning stove is a simpler life, I like my complicated life. I would much rather climb in a tractor picker than pick by hand. I would rather flip a switch than light a lamp. I would much rather set a thermostat on the wall than go outside and chop some more wood for the stove and fireplace. Wow how things change rapidly in this world. It is wonderful. When people complain about this world getting worse, I don’t say anything. Those ignorant people can go lean against a tree as I visit a nice cozy restroom.