These are crazy times, and a lot of us are working from home or have extra time as filming projects get postponed. Downtime is a great time to better our businesses and work on personal marketing, and a lot of us are working on updating our demo reels!
I know how helpful a second pair of eyes can be for getting that extra polish, so the last several weeks I helped host a panel of filmmakers (including Evan Bourcier and Jesse Oxford) taking time to review and give ideas on the reels you guys submitted. We had some wonderful discussion – and today – I want to give you guys some key takeaways from the live streams:
Refine your reel replay: part 1
Refine your reel replay: part 2
Tips for your next reel:
- Keep it short… 60-90 sec and on the long side 2 min, Evan: “you want them to want more rather than click off of it.”
- Use your best clips in the first 10-12 seconds, and maybe show some variety
- Focus, don’t include everything, it can be helpful to have separate reels for narrative and corporate projects.
- If you are focusing your reel on one style beware of it feeling like all the footage is only from 2-3 projects.
- When showing a variety and breadth of work you will also want it to feel cohesive and intentional.
- JESSE: “Unless you specialize in weddings, you don’t need to include that in your reel. If the rest of the reel is good people will assume you can do weddings too.”
- Make it stronger! When you have a cut you like, you should probably cut out another 20%. EVAN: I like to ask myself “what is this shot saying to my client or showing about my skill set.”
- In addition to how it looks, think about how your reel feels. Go beyond lots of “cool shots” and look for ways to find symmetry in colors, movement, and visuals.
- JESSE: It can be helpful to create mini-sequences with several shots together from the same project. This can show that you are competent at telling a story more than individual images.
- Even if you specialize in a specific art discipline, realize that all elements of your reel contribute to the perception of your work, the color, editing, dp work, sound, and music all matter.
- JESSE: “For DPs think about the edit structure and try to not have all static shots, it helps to have in a camera move every 3 shots so people can get a feel for your camera style.”
- EVAN: “When I’m working on a new reel, I always start with the song.” It’s great to find a piece that has some variety that you can match the edit to.
- JESSE: “We have always custom scored our reels, but our most recent one…we used MusicBed.”
- Licensed music or custom music is clearly the best option vs using copyrighted music.
- Include your name, logo, or some way to contact you, maybe a website and/or phone number.
I hope this is helpful as you showcase your best work!