NAIL YOUR SHOWREEL
We have already covered the photos and documents you need so in the next couple of articles we are going to discuss your Showreel and your Website.
Both my showreel and my website are things that are 100% responsible for many of the jobs that I have gotten in the past. The artistic director at Cirque Du Soleil's "Volta" told me that I was chosen solely based on my showreel. Almost every job that I have gotten over the course of the past three years has come to me through the contact form on my website- the thing that I thought absolutely nobody was going to use. True story.
Take the time to work on these things and make them happen. It is a lot of work and a lot of time, but the showreel is absolutely mandatory and the website is highly, highly, pero highly recommended.
Your Showreel or "Demo Reel," or "Action Reel," or whatever you want to call it- is absolutely essential for working in entertainment.
If you are asking yourself, "well... which one of those things do I call it," you're not alone. When I made mine, the vast majority of work that I had done was in live performances so I called it a "showreel". If yours is mostly non-professional footage or footage from jobs that don't necessarily fit in the "show" category, perhaps call it a "Demo" or "Action" reel. I don't know, that's just what seems to make sense to me. Honestly I just like how "Showreel" sounds and how autocorrect lets it stay as a single word.
So anyway, here is my (outdated) showreel:
Don't take my video as a prime example. I have learned a few things since I made this last showreel, and I will share them with you now.
• Save clips in advance: save yourself the unfathomable headache of having to sort through piles of footage when it comes time to edit your reel. Be an adult and have a folder to collect showreel footage in your computer at all times. Whenever you film something or do a job that you feel may be showreel material, save it there immediately. Also, for the love of god, back that thing up on more than one external hard drive.
Be an adult, guys.
• Duration: 2 Minutes MAX. My video is the longest that a showreel should ever get. Over 2 minutes is illegal in the showreel world. Not allowed. Cancelled. Don't do it. Many suggest to refrain from going over even 1 minute. However, in my personal experience, employers have told me that they enjoyed my showreel. I personally think that 2 minutes is fine, but 1:30-1:45 hits the sweet spot.
• Opening title: Name + Video Portrait. Most reels that I've seen open with a person's 3/4ths headshot along with their name and sizes. I personally think it would be much, much better to open with a portrait video as opposed to a photo. Your potential employer will already have your headshot on hand, and I believe that using the same one to open your reel is both redundant and just not aesthetic. I mean c'mon a still picture just next to some text is so middle-school powerpoint presentation. A candid video like the one in my old showreel (but way less crappy- like from further away, and where the face can be seen much clearer) is much more personable and engaging. That's just my opinion.
The one thing that is non-negotiable is having an opening title with your face and your name. Including your sizes and choosing whether it's a photo or a video portrait is up to you.
• Start with the bangers: Start 👏🏽with 👏🏽 the 👏🏽 bangers. Some people like to save their best clips for the middle or end of their videos so that they build up. Do not do that with your reels, ever. That said, the quality of the clips has to stay bangin' throughout the duration of the reel. You're featuring only the cream of the crop of your clips, and if that means your reel is very short, great. Awesome. That's the opposite of a problem, most people have more trouble keeping their video shorter rather than longer. I also think it's a good idea to open your video with hits of a variety of clips from different jobs that immediately portray the breadth of your work in the matter of a few seconds.
• The kind of clips: If you are a parkour athlete or specialize in another discipline, make sure to highlight and emphasize your specialty. That said, you also want to make sure that you include an array of skills to demonstrate your versatility. I am a parkour specialist, so my reel would ideally be like 65-75% percent parkour footage and the rest other things, like fights and whatnot. That said, your top priority should always be to use the most banger clips you have- clips that really show your skills and look amazing. If you can make that coincide with the ratio of clips that you want, fantastic. If not, work with what you have. That ratio also depends on the kind of work you want to get. I primarily want to get parkour work, so my reel will have more parkour footage than someone else who does parkour but perhaps is also very passionate about martial arts.
Just know that:
Having a variety of different skills makes you more useful for a wider scope of jobs
being very skilled in a unique specialty such as parkour makes you much more special- more valuable in a market that is less saturated in terms of competition.
• Pro or not pro clips: Non-professional clips are okay, guys. If you haven't done that much (or any) professional work, don't sweat it. Like I said, work with what you have and use the absolute best of your clips. On the flip-side, if you have done a lot of jobs, don't be afraid to also use your own, non-professional footage- whether its from fights you've shot with your friends or amazing parkour clips. Just try your best to make sure that all of the clips look as good as they can. However, if it is an awesome clip demonstrating either a high-level skill or a unique stunt, you can use it even if it's a phone clip. I, for example, will more than likely be using a couple of phone clips of some stunts that I practiced last year using equipment that is not easy to come by (like ratchet pulls) on my next reel.
• Have contact ending card: Make sure that you end the video with a titlecard that features your email, website, and social media handles. You can simply do this over a dark screen, but if you have a nice, lengthy action sequence that allows room to view the text, it would be ideal to superimpose this text over that clip.
omg this was before I had my website
• Music: I went through the hassle of paying to license a song in my last showreel because I really liked it, and at the time I was prioritizing using music that wouldn't restrict my video. Choosing a song without copyright restrictions is recommended, but isn't entirely necessary as long as you make sure that your video won't be blocked anywhere. Bottom line is: don't pick anything obnoxious or distracting from the visuals. Obviously nothing with inappropriate lyrics.
Here is an excellent guide on where to find copyright-free music.
If you do want to use music that is copyrighted, make sure you check your song in Youtube's Music Policy Directory to make sure that it's not blocked anywhere
• The editing software: Adobe Premiere Pro. It is the best combination of power and potential for complexity paired with a super user-friendly interface. If you are going to go beyond the realm of iMovie and Windows Movie maker and are considering purchasing a legit video editing software (which, in this industry, I highly recommend), just make it Adobe Premiere Pro. I'm not going to go into the details of this because I have other material to cover, so I'll link an actual review and comparison of several programs. Honestly though just use Premiere. I'm actually a film major and worked as a video editor before I got into parkour so just listen to me k,thanks. Moving on.
That's all I've got for you guys! If you have any more questions on this feel free to contact me and I'll continue to update the article. Now lets move along to making your website!