As creatives we all know having a showreel is important, itâ€™s like a taster menu at a restaurant.
a sound design reel is not as straight forward as you first think.Â
Building your first reel can seem pretty dauntingâ€¦ I donâ€™t have any contentâ€™ or I canâ€™t get it to flowÂ are both statements I commonly hear. So lets start with the first one.
Get some content
If youâ€™re building your first reel thereâ€™s nothing wrong with using existing footage, film trailer, animation whatever it may be, removing the audio and replacing it with your own. As someone who has worked in the audio industry for many years Iâ€™ve had a lot of reels sent to me. When advertising an entry level job role I far prefer a reel that is a well thought out collection of re-designed audio that flows wellÂ rather than a few minutes of clips butted up to each other with fade in/out audio.
Build up your story
Which brings me neatly onto length. Iâ€™ll be straight up here, for me two minutes is borderline too much.
One to two minutes of interesting content feels right, remember, this is the internet, attention threshold is low
Itâ€™s up to you how you want to fill that time, lots of short clips, two or three longer ones, but as a quick research project sit there and count to 30, it gets pretty boring right? So I would tend to favour the snappier edits.
Hereâ€™s an example of a REALLY good audio reel:
Just take a few watches through this, youâ€™ll notice how short each clip is, yet within the reel you get to hear sections of music orchestral and electronic, just sound design, foley, transitions and lots more.Â Of course theseÂ people have a huge portfolio of work to tap into but the audio has been build specifically for this reel which is more my point.
And here’s an example of a reel where the sound designer has used existing visual content and replaced the audio:
Overall I think it could be a little snappier, shorten the clips to just the action to keep things moving but it is a good example of how to make things flow.Â If you are using this approach then make sure you credit the original footage and make it clear that you used no original audio.Â And bear in mind that if you are building your reel from scratch with no existing portfolio work to put in it, you are actually in a far more exciting position than someone who is trying to place existing work into a reel. You can hand pick what visual content you want and craft a perfectly integrated piece of audio, transitioning between the visual content.
Getting yourself out there
So now you have your reel you want people to see it.
Thereâ€™s a fine line between getting yourself out there and spamming, you want to be in the first of those two groups
Good places to start are the groups on Vimeo. Some you can add straight to and others will require approval from a group administrator. Thereâ€™s Youtube, although you will be fighting the tidal wave of daily content uploaded. You can also have your reel on your LinkedIn profile, being actively engaged in some of the many groups on there will have a knock on effect of people viewing your profile and reel.
To summarise, donâ€™t be put off if you donâ€™t have your own content yet, everyone started at this point. Borrow the visual content you think fits your style and make sure you credit it properly. Keep it snappy 1:30 â€“ 2 minutes and take your time to make sure it flows nicely.Â Once a potential employer sees your reel it canâ€™t be unseen.Â
If you have any questions or would like to talk more specifically about your own reel please visit Groundbird/feedbackÂ for more details. Or put in my emailÂ firstname.lastname@example.org,Â which ever option you feel will yield the least amount of spam;)
Latest posts by Andy Thomson (see all)
- Be a Sound Designer – Episode #2 – Sending an e-mail to a Company - November 8, 2017
- Be a Sound Designer – Episode #1 – Building a killer showreel - October 23, 2017