September 9, 2014 at 1:01PM

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Advice for making a Demo Reel.

Hello does any one have advice on how to put together a Demo reel?

Q1) My main focus is Editing, and I am unsure of how in 1 min to 2 min to quantify my strengths as an editor: Fast, organized, meticulous, thoughtful, ect. And how do you show a great edit without an entire scene, background, music, ambiance, all that goes into a great edit.

Q2) I do have alot of other skills that aid me as an Editor: Cinematographer, Colorist, Audio, and Motion Graphics. Should I do 1 Reel for Each or a master reel for all?

How have you done it? Thanks in Advance.
David

8 Comments

Hi David - I would say that a reel is meant to show off your body of work, and if it is done well then it can serve all of your needs. Wow- this has such a great feel to it... well I'm an editor, so great hire me to edit... The look of those scenes is amazing... well I'm a DP and I colored all the footage as well...

It can really all go hand and hand - and obviously as you are pitching yourself to clients then it can take on different purposes for different jobs and it can still do the job of showing you know what you're doing - and you can maybe offer more skills than another person who is limited to one area.

My advice is to let your work stand on its own - so many people find BIG EPIC MUSIC and I find it takes away from watching your work.

September 9, 2014 at 6:02PM

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Scott Selman
Content Creator | Filmmaker | Producer
1030

I would suggest doing a reel for each if you want to pursue work in each field. But the more general you are sometimes can work against you, jack of it all master of none as the saying is.

I would integrate your motion graphics into your editing to really add some wow factor. I would also have a few extra scenes on your website or playlist that show more complete scenes. Your demo reel is basically showing how well can you put together a collection of images to music. Make it stand out so people go "wow I want to see more of his work" then have some where they can do that. Its all about capturing attention.

Good Luck!

September 9, 2014 at 6:07PM

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Chase Axton
Cinematographer
1011

An interesting way I was told to look at a reel was as if it were an advertisement of you. What can you do for me as a producer? Why should I hire you for a project?

I can't really speak much for visual effects or motion graphics reels, but as far as cinematography reels, one of the most important things is showing your versatility. Night int, night ext, day int, day ext, natural lighting, dramatic lighting, noir lighting, camera movement that pushes the story. The MOST IMPORTANT THING when choosing footage for your reel is finding clips that can tell a story by themselves. Think of the way a single photo can have say so much standing alone and you want to find clips that can best replicate that. In a reel, theres almost no context so this is very important. If I have clips that don't tell a story by themselves but are still strong in content and technique, I'll often edit them with other angles of the same scene and create a 10-15 second sequence to add context.

Also, not an editor but I've never really heard of an editing reel. Most times, I just hear of editors sending a selection of past work. For advice on a motion graphics reel, Division05 on Youtube has a GREAT series on building a strong reel that you can find here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTqZMlRoqu-houIR6VqWgJg

Hope this helps!

September 9, 2014 at 10:48PM

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Aidan Gray
Director of Photography Assistant Camera | Gaffer
1581

An interesting way I was told to look at a reel was as if it were an advertisement of you. What can you do for me as a producer? Why should I hire you for a project?

I can't really speak much for visual effects or motion graphics reels, but as far as cinematography reels, one of the most important things is showing your versatility. Night int, night ext, day int, day ext, natural lighting, dramatic lighting, noir lighting, camera movement that pushes the story. The MOST IMPORTANT THING when choosing footage for your reel is finding clips that can tell a story by themselves. Think of the way a single photo can have say so much standing alone and you want to find clips that can best replicate that. In a reel, theres almost no context so this is very important. If I have clips that don't tell a story by themselves but are still strong in content and technique, I'll often edit them with other angles of the same scene and create a 10-15 second sequence to add context.

Also, not an editor but I've never really heard of an editing reel. Most times, I just hear of editors sending a selection of past work. For advice on a motion graphics reel, Division05 on Youtube has a GREAT series on building a strong reel that you can find here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTqZMlRoqu-houIR6VqWgJg

Hope this helps!

September 9, 2014 at 10:48PM

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Aidan Gray
Director of Photography Assistant Camera | Gaffer
1581

Dear ,ods,

Please add a comment delete button.

Thanks,
- Aidan

Aidan Gray

September 9, 2014 at 11:39PM

I would combine the editor, colorist, and graphics reel into one because they often go hand in hand. However, you can split them. Choose the best examples. Sometimes you can show a lot about how well you can edit in 15-seconds, as exemplified by commercial and music video work. Narrative editing does tend to lean on the less cuts, unless you're making Dark City (LOL). However, you should be able to adequately find moments that you cut nicely together from a narrative to go with commercial and music video work. Showing colorist, VFX, and motion graphics in your editing reel can show that you're proficient enough in extra post-produciton fields to hire because you can probably do more for the hirer than maybe the other guy.

September 10, 2014 at 4:10PM

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Tim Buttner
Multi-Media Expert (writer, director, producer, D.O.P., etc)
421

Hey David, having JUST gone through this process myself - and on more than one occasion - I can tell you that there are no hard & fast rules for creating your demo reel. There ARE some thoughts and suggestions on the matter that tend to be common sense. Like always show your absolute BEST work - well, yeah, why wouldn't you show your best work? I am always told this when showing my reels. So when they tell me this I'm thinking - "wait, I JUST showed you what I consider to be my BEST stuff. What are you trying to tell me?"

It can be frustrating. We just went through a mock panel which include Mr. Jon Price, editor of Ant Bully, Jimmy Neutron, and now working for Laika. What he suggested, with regard to editing, is to show that you can do editing, pacing, etc, BUT also show that you have some other skills that will make you a great ASSISTANT EDITOR. If you can make the Editor's workload a bit lighter, you're hired.

His reel features a very short montage of his work upfront and then he goes into a couple longer editing sequences. Try that approach, but look at other editing reels and make note of what YOU think works with those reels and what does not.

Hope that helps. Best of luck.

September 11, 2014 at 1:35PM

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Bryan Tosh
Director of Photography
464

The reel shows the "added value".

If I were you my reel would be split screen -- before and after. This is easy for the colorists.

For the music videos -- I would demonstrate I know how to cut to a beat.

For film, the directors know what the takes look like -- those are normally scene long. So, if you break up a scene in cuts that make a person agree with the way you cut you'll get a job.

Good luck!

September 23, 2014 at 9:40PM

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Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3848

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