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Use of Short Form Videos By Morris Sides

About This Document

This document describes how ‘short form videos’ can be used by the Morris Federation community to raise interest in morris, sword and other forms of traditional dance.

What Is A ‘Short Form Video’?

A short form video is described asany video under 60 seconds“.

The PowerPublish website explains thatVideo content has the power to be highly effective, persuasive and engaging” and goes on to explain that “there needs to be strategy, dedication and a commitment to quality for videos to work – whether your brand is trying to create awareness, build affinity, generate leads and make sales, or just to educate and entertain an audience“.

Although morris sides will not normally be seeking to generate leads or make sales, there will be an interest in creating awareness of morris dancing, building an appreciative audience and generating interests from potential new dancers and musicians.

Relevance in the Morris World

We are all aware of the importance of social media in the morris world, with over 360 Morris Federation sides providing links to their Facebook page in their Teamfinder profile.

Typically social media services such as Facebook have been used to provide information about sides, their season’s programme of dance events and photographs of the sides. And in recent years with the popularity of smart phones and the ease of taking videos we are now seeing videos of sides’ dancing being published.

Many of these videos will simply show a complete dance, as editing videos and adding captions can be time-consuming. However we are now seeing a growth in the popularity of social media services which have a focus on short form videos, which can provide new opportunities for creative ways of engaging viewers in morris dance.

Where Can I Find Short Form Videos?

Any social media service can be used for sharing short form videos, but some services are particularly suited for this form of media typically by providing appropriate video creation and editing tools, with users of such services expecting to find such content.

One particular service is TikTok which has been described asa short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos, on any topic” although it was announced in early 2022 that videos can now be up to 10 minutes long.

Examples of Morris-Related Short Form Videos

A Survey: User of TikTok (2022) was published on the Morris Federation website in February 2022 which highlighted the early adopters of TikTok by morris sides and those with an interest in morris dance.

A summary of TikTok videos made by early adopters is given below, which illustrates three approaches.

Account About Note
Glastonbury Morris 27 seconds collection of photographs [view] Collection of photos with soundtrack
Oxford University Morris 8 seconds lip-synched view [view] Lip-synch “Don’t be surprised if one day I just …” followed by images of morris
Oxford University Morris 50 seconds video clip of “Nutting Girl” [view] Video of a dance
Table 1: Early adopters of TikTok by Morris sides

Case Study: Wyld Morris and Festus Derriman

The author of this document a former dancer with Wyld Morris, has made a short form video about a forthcoming dance-out featuring Wyld Morris and Festus Derriman, two sides based in Dorset. This 25 seconds long video can be viewed on TikTok, YouTube or Twitter.

Three key scenes from the video are shown below.


Figure 1A: Opening video clip Figure1B: Second video clip Figure 1C Call to action

Figures 1A and 1B feature very brief video clips of dances by Wyld Morris and Festus Derriman, with the third scene showing a ‘call to action’.

A ‘Call to Action’

Typical videos of morris dancing will seek to inspire some form of emotion (“Wow, that’s impressive!”) or memories (“I remember that festival“; “Oh look it’s Jane – I wonder what happened to her” or “Was I really able to leap that high when I was young!“)

But we may also wish to help convert emotions (“Wow, that’s impressive!”) into actions (“I’d like to learn morris dancing” or “They’re great – how do I join them!“)

A call to action has been described asa prompt to get your audience to do something specific“.

In Figure 1C the call to action prompts viewers to “Google ”#morrisfedprofile Dorset“. In this case completing the action should lead to viewers to finding the Morris Federation profiles for Wyld Morris and Festus Derriman (both of which contain ‘Dorset‘ in their profile).

A second call for action is available for those who don’t live in Dorset, which encourages those who live elsewhere to search for morris sides based in their county.

If you are planning on creating short form videos you may wish to give some thoughts on cany call to actions you could add, such as:

  • Contact the side to find out more
  • Follow the side’s social media presence
  • Search for morris sides
  • Go to a folk festival
  • Learn a morris tune

Suggestions on additional calls to action are welcomed.

Generating Interest in Morris

Beyond its potential for motivating viewers to carry our a call to action, short form videos are perhaps of more value for generating interest and entertaining and amusing viewers.

Channels to Publish Short Form Videos

A post on 6 Short-Form Video Trends Marketers Should Watch in 2022 highlighted “platforms like TikTokInstagram ReelsYouTube ShortsGoogleLinkedIn, and Pinterest [which have] expand[ed] their short-form  offerings“.

Target Audiences for Your Short Form Videos

In addition to choosing a channel you will also need to think about your intended target audience. If your short form video features historical footage of a morris side it may be appropriate to post to a Facebook group popular with morris dancers, such as “How many Morris Dancers are on Facebook?” However if the intention is to reach beyond the morris dance community (or to appeal to potential new dancers) it may be better to choose local Facebook groups as well as other channels.

As an example in the case of the video featuring Wyld Morris and Festus Derriman a link to the video was posted to the (closed) Bridport Banter Facebook group (which has over 15,000 members!) as well as a post on Wyld Morris’s Twitter account (which can be freely shared and viewed by anyone).

Next Steps

If your side is thinking of making short form videos you will need to think about (a) the intended purpose(s) and the (b) tools to create them.


Figure 2: TikTok videos with the #strictlymorris hashhag

Note you may decide that short term videos aren’t of interest – perhaps you feel that TikTok videos are only of interest to teenagers or for sharing videos or cats or lip-synching to pop videos. But you may be wrong! And a quick search in TikTok finds a number of relevant videos with the #strictlymorris hashtag as shown in Figure 2 (these have been viewed almost 7,000 times!)

And, on the other hand, you may be correct that TikTok is popular with young people: according to a reportRoughly 43% of TikTok’s global audience is between 18 and 24 years old“. So if you’re looking to recruit young people, TikTok may be the tool to use – although another report states that “25 to 34 years is the age group that uses Facebook the most” so it’s probably not the time to ignore Facebook as a recruitment tool!

The issue of the intended purpose and tools to create videos are not addressed in this release of the document. We invite those who have created such videos to share their experiences by contributing a case study.

We welcome feedback on this document. In addition we would like to hear from morris, sword and other traditional dance sides who use IT and would be willing to share their experiences. Would you like to contribute a case study? Case studies on use of short form videos would be particularly appreciated!

Status of this Document

Document published: 14 Aug 2022
Document updated: 23 Aug 2023

Licence for this Document

This document is available with a Creative Commons Sharealike (CC-BY) licence. In brief, this means you can copy and make changes to this document provided you give acknowledgements to the author/publisher. A suggested wording for acknowledgements is:

This document is based on the "Use of Short Form Videos by Morris Sides" document by Brian Kelly, Comms and IT volunteer with the Morris Federation.

#MorrisFedITResources #MFITResources

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