HOW TO AUDITION AND PITCH FOR DRAGONS’ DEN & SHARK TANK

On April 14, 2014, I pitched my course, Discover Your Dream Job, to the Dragons  on Dragons’ Den. 

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This is a picture of my partner Claire and myself backstage in front of the Dragons’ Den banner.

I am an entrepreneur, careers coach, and teacher of careers, co-op, and business courses at a high school in Toronto.  As early as my teens, I have always been fascinated by entrepreneurs and their stories. When the top rated television show Dragons’ Den first came to Toronto, I became an avid fan and watched every episode.

I did the same with Shark Tank which is virtually the same program, only produced in the United States, whereas Dragons’ Den is produced in Canada. During an episode of Dragons’ Den, I saw an ad asking for people with business ideas to audition for the show.

As I was working on my online course “Discover Your Dream Job”, I thought it would be a good idea to audition for the show in order to promote my online course.

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There were two Toronto dates set aside for the auditions but they both conflicted with important engagements. What a bummer I thought, but then I remembered that when I was researching the Dragons’ Den website, I read that you could also audition online.

ideasBingo!! The lights went on and needless to say, I decided to go that route. Over the next several weeks, I created and submitted an audition video for my online audition.

At this time, I can’t show you the version I sent for my online audition. Instead, I would like to show you the promotional video I created for my online course with Udemy.

There are some similarities, however, my online audition video was about 5 minutes shorter than my promotional video, so as you can see, I had to edit out quite a bit of information.

To watch my promotional video for Udemy, just click on the following link: https://vimeo.com/72316413

Note: When you audition online, your video will be watched by the producers in order to see if you get chosen to Pitch in person, to the Dragons. I imagine this is the same procedure for Shark Tank.  

The only way to audition online is with a video and that is why next, I have chosen to show you what you need to create an Online Audition Video.


IMG_0274In order to make an online audition video, you will need several components which I will discuss below. Before I do this, I want to say that throughout this article, you will notice that I have included names of various companies.

These are the companies that I used to create my course and my online audition video. I also use these companies to create and promote my presence on the web and can wholeheartedly acknowledge their virtues.

Some of them are affiliate links and I do receive a commission if you click on the link and purchase the product. If you want to use the tools that I have used, please click on the links I mention and help to support the continuation of my courses and my articles.

IMG_1639I personally vouch for all the companies I mention; they are great companies that will help you in your journey towards creating your business and online presence.

What You Need To Create An Online Audition Video

There are 11 components to making an online audition video and I discuss these components below.

My iMac

My iMac

1. Computer: Buy a good computer: I use an iMac 21 inch, 3.06 GHz Intel Core i3 desktop computer with 12GB Ram and a 500 GB hard drive, but any fairly new computer with at least 8GB Ram and a 500GB hard drive will do.

A faster processor is better for editing and saving your work. Videos take up a lot of storage space so if you plan to make lots of videos you will need at least a 500GB hard drive.

2. Software: As a Mac user, I use Keynote which is the Mac version of PowerPoint. Either software keynoteis fine.

The main advantage in using Keynote or PowerPoint is that you can add some fancy fonts, transitions and builds between slides. You can also do some fancy editing of pictures, add videos and integrate music into your presentation.

In addition, you can create PDF files of worksheets and exercises from your Keynote or PowerPoint slide show. Being able to convert to a PDF file is a great feature if you plan to convert your slide show into an article, workbook, or e-book.

After I finish my presentation in Keynote, I then edit it with a video editing program.

Note: Many video editing programs have similar features to Keynote and PowerPoint but I find it easier to first create in Keynote and then transfer to a video editing program.

(The Keynote image is owned by Apple Inc.)

3. Video Editing Program: The 2 video editing programs I suggest are Screenflow for Mac and Camtasia for either PC or Mac. I use Screenflow and it is a very straight forward program and fairly easy to master.

Screenflow

Screenflow

Screenflow allows you to capture your Keynote slide show while you speak and turn it into a video. It will also record and videotape you speaking and place your image to the side of your video, if your wish.

There are also a number of other interesting things you can do such as, add builds, transitions, text, annotations, music, and video. In addition, you can magnify your information on the page, edit the sound, adjust the lighting, plus lots of other features that can enhance the look and feel of your video.

In Screenflow, you can also convert your video into an mp4 high definition movie and publish your video directly to Youtube, Facebook, Google Drive, Vimeo, Dropbox, & Flash.

These programs give you greater versatility in creating  and editing your videos and they are worth buying.  Both programs are about $99 each. I bought Screenflow from the Apple App Store for around $50. You might be able to find some discounts if you search the web.

(The above camera image is owned by Screenflow.)

LaCie

LaCie 3TB

4. Hard Drives: You will need several external hard drives to save your work. I use a LaCie 3TB hard drive that connects to Firewire. If you’re using a Mac, use either Firewire, Thunderbolt or USB 3 to connect to your hard drive. On a PC use USB 3 to connect to your hard drive. There’s quite a savings of time when using these connections.

I purchased my LaCie from the Apple Store but they are also sold at various computer stores in your neighbourhood.

There are a number of other very good external hard drives and I also currently use a 1TB Western Digital hard drive to back up and save my files.

Make sure you have at least 2 external hard drives to save your work! You never know when one might fail. I’ve already had 2 hard drives that mysteriously lost all of my work: thank goodness I had an additional backup!

(The above image is of my LaCie hard drive.)

5. Cloud Storage: You should also save your information on a Cloud storage system. I use CrashPlan to back up my computer. I job cloudsfind them very reliable and fairly inexpensive, around $60 for the year. It’s worth it because you never know when your hard drives will crash or if you will lose your computer.

Before I decided to go with CrashPlan, I checked out a number of Cloud Storage companies and there are several very good ones. Before you subscribe to one, read the reviews on what others have to say about their reliability and service. Also check to see if they have a discount coupon. If they don’t, e-mail them and ask for one.

In addition to Crash Plan, I also use iCloud and Dropbox to back up some of my files.

It takes a lot of time to create videos and write articles. You don’t want that information to be lost because of a faulty hard drive or server.

You can sometimes restore lost data on hard drives but this takes time and a lot of money so it’s worth backing up your files onto extra hard drives and cloud servers before this happens. Being extra cautious doesn’t cost much money or take up much time. Redoing your lost files, however, will cost you thousands of dollars in your time and probably hundreds of extra hours!

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Yeti with Blue Pop Filter

6. Microphone: I use a Yeti USB microphone by Blue. It’s around $150 and has very good sound quality. With the Yeti, you can record in stereo and it has 4 recording patterns. Two of these recording patterns give you the option of personal recording or interview recording. Click on the picture in order to check their website for more information.

I also use a Blue Pop Filter to get rid of those annoying “hard” sounds when recording. The Pop Filter is pretty good for the price but there are still some of those annoying “hard” sounds when you speak.

To get rid of those annoying “hard” sounds, you need to speak lower and then adjust your volume with the Video Editing Software or you can purchase a professional Pop Filter which would cost several hundred dollars. Personally, I don’t think you need to spend more than around $50 for a Pop Filter.

I purchased my Microphone at Staples on boxing day and it was on sale for 1/2 price, about $75. The Pop Filter I bought at a music store for about $35. Shop around online to find the best prices and always look for a discount coupon in order to keep your costs down.

7. Lighting: My lighting is very simple. I discussed it with a friend of mine that’s a professional camera man and director and he suggested I use an LED light attached to a tripod.

The brand I use is NEEWER® 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Digital Camera / Camcorder Video Light, LED Light which comes with several filters and is about $45 – $50 on Amazon.

You’ll also need to buy several chargers for the light and the one I use is the 2x Pack – Neewer CN-160 Battery + Charger with Car & EU Adapters. It sells for about $35 on Amazon.

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LED & Tripod

To mount the light, you will need a camcorder tripod. I use the SLIK F143 tripod that I bought on sale from Futureshop for around $70.When buying a tripod, make sure it is fairly light and has legs that are steady and adjustable. I would recommend that the maximum height be about 51”.

In addition to the LED light, I also use the overhead lighting in my office which has 3 halogen lights as well as a floor lamp with 2 X 60 watt incandescent bulbs. All my lights are on dimmers so that I can adjust the lighting levels.

8. Video Storage Platform: If you would like to feature your video on your website or in your blogs, you need a video storage platform where you save your videos in order to link to them. Some of my videos are saved on Vimeo and some on YouTube. Vimeo has both a free and a paid service.

The paid service is great if you have a lot of larger videos to upload. You can also use their paid service to sell your indie films online. I use the free service to store and link to my videos on Vimeo.

This is an example of my promotional video saved on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/72316413.

9. Website: In today’s era of business, it is very important to have your own website. You do not need to spend a lot of money on this and if you have the time you can even learn to do it yourself.

WordPress is a website publishing program that is used by millions of people.wordpress logo It’s free to use and you can also find a free website template or theme in order to create your website.

Some people say that you get more features from some of the paid themes or templates and that is why I purchased a theme from StudioPress called Lifestyle Pro which is powered by their Genesis framework.

To find out more about StudioPress, please click on the name StudioPress.

I had a website designer set it up for me and he created a 10 page site that included a contact form for sign-ups and a Facebook page. I paid about $500 in total and it’s important to shop around to find a good and reasonably priced website designer.

When choosing your website theme, make sure you are able to see your site on your cell phone and iPad.

Once the site was created, it was fairly easy for me to go in and make changes. In the future, I will create some blogs showing people how to make their own changes but there are quite a few good videos on Youtube that do this right now.

(The image of WordPress is owned by WordPress.)

mad mimi10. Newsletter: A newsletter e-mail service is very important in order to build a great customer list and to send out information and promotions. The newsletter e-mail service I use is Mad Mimi. I find Mimi’s price to be one of the best out there and their service is fantastic.

They have always responded to my emails in less than an hour. If you would like to check them out, please click on the Mad Mimi logo to the right.

An important feature when choosing a company that handles your newsletter e-mail service, is its auto responder and contact form.

The contact form is the sign-up form on your website where people type their name and e-mail address in order to sign up for your mailing list, newsletter, or promotion. The auto responder is the ability to send out a response to a customer automatically.

The auto responder will also send out other types of links to your customers if that is what you wish. For example, if you are selling something online like an online course or eBook, your auto responder can send your customers the link. This is very important if you want to reach your customers in a speedy and efficient manner.

Most newsletter companies offer this paid service but I am very happy with Mad Mimi and their customer service which is why I continue to use their company.

11. Web Hosting: The next part of this puzzle is to pay for a Web Hosting Company. This is the home for your website. There are a lot of very good web hosting companies and the one that I use is bluehost. Bluehost has been great for my purpose and is quite inexpensive to use.

They have a very good free tech department where they will help you with your website hosting and minor WordPress questions. In addition to this, they also have a service where you pay $29 for a 45 minute tech call where they will help you with more complicated website and WordPress questions.

I’ve used their service several times and it’s the cheapest I’ve found. Whenever I call for service, I record the call with Screenflow for future reference.

If you would like to check them out or use their service, click on the banner to the right and you will be redirected to their site.


You’ve just seen an overview of the 11 components that I used in order to create my online audition video for Dragons’ Den, the videos for my Discover Your Dream Job Course, and the items needed for my website.

If you would like to have more information on how to Audition and Pitch for Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank, please check out my ebook on amazon.com. The book is called “How to Audition & Pitch for Dragons’ Den & Shark Tank” and it’s only $7.90.

This book describes my journey of how I Auditioned for the Producers of Dragons’ Den and then went on to Pitch my product to the Dragons. The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 describes the 11 components needed to create an online audition video as well as the 6 ingredients needed for your audition. In Part 2, I discuss the 27 Strategies needed in order to Pitch your product in person to the Dragons or Sharks.

If you found this information useful, it would be great if you would leave a comment below, share this article with a friend, like us on Facebook, and sign up for my mailing list.

Thanks for your support and I look forward to sending you more valuable information on the Audition process, Pitching in person to the Dragons & Sharks and on Discovering Your Dream Job. 

Until then, have a fantastic day and bye for now,

David Langer

www.discoveryourdreamjob.com