Work Reel Advice

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    • #44502


      I am looking for some advice on putting together my professional work reel.

      I after 4 years on my own starting my own videography business doing weddings, both shooting and editing, I want to get back into the regular production work which I did for nearly 9 years.

      As of now, I am not putting any of my wedding work on my reel and focusing on when I was still in TV every day, as well as a good freelance project I was lucky to nab earlier this summer.

      The reason I am not putting my wedding work is because I don’t think it will mesh well with the high profile stuff I did earlier and that people will view it as a step down professionally even though I have worked harder doing weddings than I ever did in TV and it looks better than a lot of what passes for professional quality these days. Also, from experience, I know that a lot of people unfairly do not think that people who do weddings are on their level professionally, which I do not agree with at all.

      However by not putting it on my reel, I think it makes my reel look dated because most of it is from 3 or 4 years ago.

      So I guess what I’m asking is, is it a mistake not to put my wedding work on it? Am I looking at it wrong?

    • #186332

      I totally agree with you. If you want to get away from weddings, don’t include them in your reel or provide them as samples of your work.

      When I was in college, I knew I wanted to work in controlled productions. I wanted to avoid run-n-gun style shooting. There’s nothing wrong with that style. I just don’t want to do it. So I decided I would only show work on my website that is from controlled productions. After college, I quickly landed a job where everything we do is controlled, and I’m still here.

      I suggest finding some freelance work that resembles the kind of work you want to get into. Find some small local businesses and see if they’re interested some kind of video work. I have a friend who works for a hospital’s in-house marketing department. You can probably go to a hospital and make them a sweet video and get a lot of interesting footage. I agree that it’s important to freshen up your work and keep it up to date and relevant to today’s production and editing techniques.

    • #186333


      Yes, if you are wanting to work in a specific style then your reel should reflect that. My background was in Documentary and ENG, but we were required to be prepared to shoot controlled or uncontrolled at a given moment. I still work that way so my samples reflect that. On the other hand, when I want to attract work in a particular format that’s what I’ll show prospective clients. That’s all they’re interested in anyway.

    • #186334

      As Wolfgang and Rob have stated and I would add that one size rarely fits all. There’s often a misconception that baring changes from year-to-year as new and presumably better material becomes available a demo reel is put together and DONE … at least for a good while.

      That simply isn’t so. In addition to constant tweaking, updating, culling and generally spiffing up your demo reel(S) one general reel isn’t going to work anymore. As Wolfgang notes, your samples should, as closely as possible, reflect the interests of the clients you are pursuing.

      I’ve accepted that a constant and ongoing creation of interest-specific demo reels is in order as I don’t want to include material potential clients are not interested in seeing or viewing, and I don’t want to inadvertently include material that could, somehow, turn them off.

      Easy enough to cull/pull the footage I need to create the demo reel I want to submit, and usually worth the time and effort to do so in regards to closing the pitch.

    • #186335

      Hmm, but then I’m stuck with a 4 year old reel when everyone wants to see recent work. I feel thats my biggest problem because when you see the reel you can tell that none of it was done recently.

    • #186336

      Of course you have to start with what you have, what’s available, just know that (should be obvious but often is overlooked) as you accumulate new material or assist in other productions where you’re legally authorized to claim/show your involvement/work you don’t want to stay with your 4-year-old production reel that is so obviously dated.

    • #186337

      “Hmm, but then I’m stuck with a 4 year old reel when everyone wants to see recent work.”

      That’s why I suggested going to some small businesses to see if they need video work…for cheap. Don’t do too much for them, but do enough so you can give them a solid product and get what you want out of it. If you’re trying to take your career in a different direction, expect to eat some costs.

    • #186338

      Pete, is it possible to recreate some of the production work that you have on your 4 year old resume reel? You probably won’t be making much or any money while doing this but the payooff would be in the future jobs that will follow. Maybe there is some project that you have always wanted to do but nobody ever hired you to do. This could find a place on your video resume, showing your skill in a different format. Perhaps if you mention some examples of the work that you did in the past, someone here could make some more detailed suggestions. Keep shooting. 

    • #186339

      Good advice from many- My $0.02 is to create a generic demo reel yearly to have ready to show at any time but if you’re in heavy competition for a job you want be prepared to create a customized demo (much like resumes). I even have a demo reel which shows various titling options available and another which highlights my stock library.

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