How To Create a Showreel That Will Impress Potential Clients
Creating a killer showreel is one of the most important things you can do as a filmmaker in order to highlight your best projects to potential clients. We sit down with filmmaker Lindsey Veasey, to pick his brains on everything from what content to include, to optimal reel length and sound design.
Founder of video production company Aeon Films, filmmaker Lindsey Veasey has built up a strong portfolio over the past 12 years, and has a stand out showreel to back it up.
“Having a showreel is so important as a filmmaker as it encapsulates all your talents and experiences. You need it to be noticed, to stand out and most importantly create trust with the viewer that you may be the right person for the job,” says Lindsey.
“First impressions are huge and what better way to introduce your expertise than through a great showreel. Just like a website, a showreel is non-negotiable.”
Showcasing his showreel on the home page of his website, or pitching it to new clients in person or via email, Lindsey has found having a showreel extremely effective for onboarding new clients.
“When new first-time clients knock on your door, you need to give them a tremendous amount of security, so they know they’re parking their funds and trust into the right hands.
“I’ve had numerous clients tell me “Oh wow I saw your reel on your website and it’s very impressive”. You must remember it’s not just the money a new client could be investing in you, but their time,” he says.
HAVE A SOLID CONTENT BANK
When planning your showreel, you may be wondering whether to create a general “one size fits all” video, or a number of reels that showcase different skills or industries. Lindsey recommends having a general showreel that focuses on your best work, accompanied by what he calls ‘sub-reels’.
“The general showreel is what brings clients in and is front-facing on your website,” he says. “Whereas sub-reels would be more catered for the industry type. In my case, I have sub-reels for my small business clients, medium to large and corporate clients.”
If you don’t have enough content to showcase in your general showreel, or you’re looking to create a sub-reel for a new industry, Lindsey says it may be a good idea to take on unpaid work in order to build your portfolio.
“The amount of free work I did when I was starting out or breaking into new industries was enormous. You need to learn whatever industry it is and immerse yourself in it.
KEEP IT SHORT BUT IMPACTFUL
When creating a showreel, you may be tempted to squeeze in clips from all the cool projects you’ve worked on to show off as many skills as possible. This is one way to fall into the trap of a lengthy video that misses the point of a highlight reel.
“Your best and only your best work should be showcased in a showreel. If you’re trying to be a wedding videographer, then only your best wedding videos should be highlighted. If you’re trying to be a corporate videographer, then highlight your best corporate work – it’s important to be really particular,” says Lindsey.
The big question – just how long should a showreel be? Lindsey believes short and sweet is the best course of action, keeping to 90 seconds or less.
PAY ATTENTION TO MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN
Whilst the clips selected can be make or break, music and sound design are extremely important in rounding off an impactful showreel.
“The music selected needs to fall in line with the market you’re trying to target. If you’re a graphic designer or an animator, perhaps using tech or electronic music would work,” says Lindsey. “If you’re a music video director, hip-hop, if you’re a wedding videographer, something more emotive with vocals might be the way to go.”
It may be a matter of browsing through commercial free music sites for a song that has the right pacing. He also recommends picking a song you like first and matching your edit to the style or beat of the track.
“As a massive tip, use as much sound design as you can to make sure you stand out from the rest. I switch between site Epidemic Sound or Artlist which have great music and sound effects for showreels.”
SAVE TIME WITH A CENTRAL STORAGE LOCATION
When working with terabytes upon terabytes of data banked over a number of years, creating a showreel of highlights can be a daunting task.
Having a centralised storage location will significantly reduce the hours spent searching through various hard drives file systems for the specific clip you’re after – which may only contribute to three seconds of your showreel!
LINDSEY’S QUICK TIPS FOR BUILDING A SHOWREEL
- A showreel will take you some time to put together. My main showreel took me around 3 days. Take your time and don’t rush it. Your reel will pay off tremendously.
- Ask friends and family for feedback on your reels. You may be spending a lot of hours on your reels, so it’s good to get a fresh set of eyes.
- Find the right pacing. It helps to pick a song you like first and match your editing to the style or beat of the track.
- Be as creative as possible with your editing style.
- Use as much sound design as possible. That will help you stand out.
- Try to incorporate smiles and laughs in your reels. Emotions are contagious and will leave a lasting impression on your viewer.
- The only titles I recommend is your name/ logo at the end, there’s no need to include project names as this runs the risk of making your reel slow-paced.
- Short and sweet is the way to go. I’d strongly recommend under 90 seconds.
1 As used for storage capacity, 1GB = 1 billion bytes and 1TB = one trillion bytes. Actual user capacity may be less, depending on operating environment.
Lindsey Veasey is a passionate Filmmaker & Video Producer who has contributed to a variety of media platforms including television, film, social media and online production. Operating under his video production company, Aeon Films - Lindsey develops creative on-brand outcomes for all types of projects, no matter the size.
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