It’s been a real confidence booster to get some positive feedback about my showreel. In this blog post, I thought I’d share how I approached putting it together.
Like writing a CV you get lots of advice, there’s no 100% ‘right’ answer and a few pitfalls to avoid. My template might not be suitable for everyone, but hopefully in the tips below you’ll find something useful.
1. Keep it short. No-one is going to sit through more than 10 minutes and actually I aimed for five.
2. Keep the clips short. This is like an advert for a ‘Now’ compilation album… throw in your well-known hits, get to the hook and get onto the next clip as soon as you can. My clips average around 30 seconds each.
3. Top and tail. My editor made me a nice graphic to echo my website but just something, anything is better than nothing and keeps some info to find you/get hold of you with the actual thing rather than on an easily lost CV/business card/scrap of paper. I wanted to show the variety of what I’ve done, hence the stomping montage at the top.
4. Stay current. If your clips are all from ages ago you’ll look like a has-been. Choose a cut-off date – I’d suggest no more than five years and preferably three. A tell-tale sign is long-dead talent or much younger than their current years. 4:3 aspect ratio pictures are also a give-away and poor quality or grainy pictures are a no-no – whatever their vintage.
5. Get a fresh pair of eyes. Drag a relative stranger in to look at it. Your close friends and colleagues won’t tell you the truth – ask someone in the biz who you don’t know that well but you know of them (and trust their judgement).
6. Get it out there. I was initially embarrassed by my showreel – 5 minutes doesn’t seem much to show for a long and distinguished (!) career. Once over that I put it on my website, sent a link to it to my contacts and had some nice DVDs printed and duplicated by a random bloke in Newcastle I found on ebay. It might look a bit corporate but you’ll look more of a pro than those with hand-scribbled DVD-Rs from PC World.
7. Update it. Just as you will regularly add to your CV and older credits will be removed, do the same with the showreel. To this end, try and keep copies of the project files and media to be able to re-cut easily in future.
Hopefully it goes without saying that you should include your own work – or work that you’ve had a significant role in creating.
If you have any tips for anyone putting together a showreel, let me know.