When I started gigging, I bought a little dictaphone tape recorder to record gigs. I’d listen back to them to see what worked and what didn’t. At the time, the dinky little tapes were the best medium for the job. These days, people are carrying mini film studios around in their pocket.

The advice basically remains the same. Record your live gigs and review them in the cold light of day. It’ll help you develop your material. You cannot accurately remember what happened in a gig when you were busy performing it, and the laughs sound different from the stage anyway.

If you intend on capturing show reel footage, then get into the habit of recording gigs all the time. Then you won’t worry too much about the camera being on, since it’s always on, and this particular joke doesn’t specifically count for the show reel etc.

When reviewing footage, you should consider:

  • What does the performance look like – what mannerisms and body language are you displaying
  • Do you find the performance funny?
  • Do you feel that your delivery of a certain bit of material comes across as natural or forced? is that what you want?
  • Does the audience reaction to something come across as natural, or laboured?
  • Is there a laugh?
  • If there is one, does it spike hard? is it a slow burner? does it have sustain?

You’ll know which of these things matters to you, but by asking these sorts of questions critically of a recording, you’ll be able to edit, find your voice, and give yourself the necessary direction to improve.