I’m currently editing my new showreel and I could use some advice from people with more experience. As a freelancer, I often have to wear very many different hats, usually handling all aspects of audio post production from Foley and SFX to dialogue editing and mixing.
My question is: How can I optimally explain what it is that I’ve done for each film. Should I have a section in the bottom left corner of the screen where I display the name of the project and list what I’ve done?
Film Project Name
Foley, Sound Effects, Sound Design, Dialogue Editing, Mixing
Is there perhaps a better way of doing it?
I know this isn’t the exact question you are asking but… Show reels tend to be aspirational… so rather than show everything you can do (or did) they could/maybe should focus on what you primarily WANT to do in future… I felt the same about your question as to how to diversify income – what do you actually WANT to do? Whats the 5 year goal?
When I was chasing & pitching for work, I had multiple show reels eg a horror sound design show reel, a drama sound design show reel etc… I figured a drama film maker won’t be so impressed by horror, and vice versa…
Along the lines of what Mr. Prebble mentioned, I don’t think having one reel works for freelancers anymore. You can have multiple reels, some based on genre, some based of the type of work you did on the project.
When I last tackled making a new reel I ended up making 3 different ones. An animation, a live action and a documentary reel. I mostly do SFX editing so I did not make ones based on the different types of work I did.
I think if your business regularly involves you doing lots of different audio roles then having a demo that reflects that makes sense. A simple “bottom third” with text listing the roles you completed per project would make lots of sense. If you are putting yourself out there as a one stop shop then have a reel showing off that skill.
However if you are trying to narrow your career focus in future work and just be a foley recordist, or a dialog editor for example – you would be best served to make a specific demo showcasing that skill.
Most importantly, try to get the mix stems of the projects. If you are making a reel for SFX editing and you only have he full mix with music crashing over all the SFX work – then that is not ideal. Get the stems and mute off the music entirely. Let the work you did take center stage!
I think that show reels are much more meaningful when they are able to tell a story. Sure, having a 3-minute piece showcasing your best work is really cool, but the challenge lies in the story.
If I am a director or a producer looking for a sound designer for my next adventure or drama film, I’ll look for those who, aside from creating high quality sounds, demonstrate they understand the genre and are able to convey the right message.
Hope that helps.