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Old September 15th, 2005, 03:00 PM   #1
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Reels

I am in the process of remaking my reel because it is full of old stuff and kinda cheesy. (www.norkafilms.com/reel.mov)
I am not looking for any certain kinds of work so is it alright to show everything I can do or should I focus on one thing? I am also wondering about how long it should be. I have heard that it should be about 10 min from one person and another told me 3 min is too long.
also, is it a bad thing to have shots of myself in my reel?
any advice is helpful
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Old September 15th, 2005, 03:32 PM   #2
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Maybe it helps to think from your intended audience's perspective. So that would be someone who would hire you.

The person hiring you usually wants to see something specific- if they want some motion graphics done, they don't want to see editing or dop reels. And if you say you edit or DOP, then that can be a strike against you because you don't specialize in motion graphics. If it's for web, probably split your reel up into multiple reels. Your audience can pick what they want to see.

So... figure out who your intended audience is (i.e. people who need a DOP). Figure out what they want to see.

2- Generally, the title sequence is something that is wasting your audiences' time. Unless they are hiring you to do a title sequence. I'd do a 2 second (or more) title card/intro/sequence. Put your contact information there (important!), what you do (if it makes them think you specialize in that particular thing), and maybe fade in some audio there (so they can adjust their volume).
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Old September 15th, 2005, 10:51 PM   #3
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I don't understand why reels have not kept pace with technology.

I don't have a traditional "reel". I do have a DVD with Production Samples on it. There are some complete projects (or whole segments) that were 3-7 minutes long, a 35 minute project, some 30 second commercials. I wish I had more variety but that will come with time. I figure the client can look at whatever they like for as long as they like, and choose things pertinent to their project.

A traditional reel does not show anything useful IMHO. Maybe they show that you can find some funky camera angles and do odd things with lighting. But it does not tell me if you can capture audio, if you can tell a story, if you can effectively use b-roll, if you can make effective DVD menus, or if you can work within a budget.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 01:58 AM   #4
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What is a "traditional reel?"

Know how to capture audio? Well, if you show them a clip of your footage, they will know that you can do just that, or that your assistant can. I doubt that "can this guy capture audio" crosses their mind.

What people are looking for are:

-Can they tell a story?
-Do they do the kind of stuff we are looking for?

If the reel is a Graphics reel, it contains grphics. A DP reel is primarily Montage of all teh cool shots and variety of looks they can shoot. Maybe a scene. Editing reels should not just be a montage. That says nothing other than "I can cut a montage." You can have one...one with all your cool stuff that grabs people's attention. But mainly your reel should include scenes or parts of scenes. And be no more than 7 minutes. PERIOD.

Here is an example of an editing reel. Mine. Actually, I have two, one geared towards documentary production, and one towards narrative production:

homepage.mac.com/comeback/professional
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Old September 16th, 2005, 02:24 AM   #5
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I agree that the 7 minute rule is a good one for reels. Generally a decision will be made within the first 30 seconds to a minute, which is eject it or keep it. If you pass the first test, the prospective employer may watch the rest of the reel or they may not, or it may get passed on to other pertinent parties who may watch more or less of it. DVD's are great because they can skip from one segment to the next for variety. I like to put a montage up front that "says it all" in that first all-important 30 seconds.

You can see mine here.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 03:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
I agree that the 7 minute rule is a good one for reels. Generally a decision will be made within the first 30 seconds to a minute, which is eject it or keep it. If you pass the first test, the prospective employer may watch the rest of the reel or they may not, or it may get passed on to other pertinent parties who may watch more or less of it. DVD's are great because they can skip from one segment to the next for variety. I like to put a montage up front that "says it all" in that first all-important 30 seconds.

You can see mine here.
Dear Charles,

Your stuff is phenomenal. Videography is absolutely superb but for a reel, maybe a little bit too heavy on the dark side? But perhaps you had to use what you had... In any case, it was stunning. I am way more than alittle humbled.

When I edit my oh so inadeqate online reel consisting of a few CNN stories and a sample of my PBS docs/promotions, perhaps you would be so kind to offer some suggestions in helping to finally post my video resume? I worked for PBS for 10 years and CNN for 11 and I failed to dub my best stuff...I guess I stupidly assumed that I would be there forever.

But I desperately need to construct an online reel with whatever I have, as most job sites ask for an internet link to your work.

Hope everyting is well. Love ya always,

Steph
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Old September 16th, 2005, 07:56 AM   #7
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thank you all for the tips. I will see what I can do to bust out a better reel here in the next few days.

ps. charles, great work! I have always be a huge fan of your work in American History X.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 09:01 AM   #8
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Well, I guess I have mostly just seen crappy reels. 90% of the ones I have seen are no more than a montage, maybe with a bit of motion graphics. Seeing a good one is a whole different world.

And it clearly does matter what you are selling. In my tiny market, there is little demand for DP or editing as standalone skills, so I sell full production services. For that, my "complete samples" format is probably the way to go (for good or bad).

Charles, I know you love to teach, maybe you should do up a DVD on how to create a reel. :) How long to hold each shot, shot selecton and variety, sequencing, music selection, all those things. Yours was certainly both beautiful and interesting. So do you have to have a good reel to get lots of good work, or do you have a good reel by doing lots of good work to show? (Chicken or egg? :) )

Also, Charles, can you suggest some names of people on demoreelnetwork or elsewhere that would be helpful examples in teaching how to construct a good one? I have seen so many bad ones I need to cleanse my preconceptions....
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Old September 16th, 2005, 09:38 AM   #9
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yes, I would also like to see some other good reels if you know of any.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 03:42 PM   #10
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Hi folks:

Thanks for the nice comments.

I do have a certain philosophy on reels but it is not universal by any means. Most are montages cut to a track, which I find becomes a bit numbing after a while...seeing everything out of context turns it into a music video for me so I like to let some dialogue play here and there to keep the viewer entertained and hopefully watching more of the reel. I don't really know how well that works, but I have had largely good feedback so I keep doing it.

It is indeed true that different disciplines (i.e. DP, editor, director etc) require a different approach when constructing a reel, and the size of the market figures in as well. One thing is consistent, and that is that the viewer wants to see exactly what they are looking to shoot on your reel, so it's a matter of tailoring it however you can and demonstrating a broad range of styles and types of projects. Stephanie, your point about the "darkness" of my DP reel is valid, although if you are watching it on a PC that might have something to do with it (the old Mac vs PC gamma thing). Day exteriors don't tell people an awful lot about how you can light, though.

Bob: the chicken and egg phenomenon is of course always true. My reel has improved incrementally over the years and as a result I am able to get better work. I should point out that several of the items on there were indie shorts that I shot primarily for the footage I knew I could use for the reel. At this point I don't shoot those any more, because I have all I need for that.

As far as other good reels on the demoreelnetwork, I've watched a few and they all look quite good and professional to me, so I suggest just click a few at random. They are generally more oriented towards the commercial/music video vibe than mine (I don't have my commercial reel online as I'm not pushing that side as much).
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Old September 17th, 2005, 12:01 AM   #11
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Hi folks:

Thanks for the nice comments.

I do have a certain philosophy on reels but it is not universal by any means. Most are montages cut to a track, which I find becomes a bit numbing after a while...seeing everything out of context turns it into a music video for me so I like to let some dialogue play here and there to keep the viewer entertained and hopefully watching more of the reel. I don't really know how well that works, but I have had largely good feedback so I keep doing it.

It is indeed true that different disciplines (i.e. DP, editor, director etc) require a different approach when constructing a reel, and the size of the market figures in as well. One thing is consistent, and that is that the viewer wants to see exactly what they are looking to shoot on your reel, so it's a matter of tailoring it however you can and demonstrating a broad range of styles and types of projects. Stephanie, your point about the "darkness" of my DP reel is valid, although if you are watching it on a PC that might have something to do with it (the old Mac vs PC gamma thing). Day exteriors don't tell people an awful lot about how you can light, though.

Bob: the chicken and egg phenomenon is of course always true. My reel has improved incrementally over the years and as a result I am able to get better work. I should point out that several of the items on there were indie shorts that I shot primarily for the footage I knew I could use for the reel. At this point I don't shoot those any more, because I have all I need for that.

As far as other good reels on the demoreelnetwork, I've watched a few and they all look quite good and professional to me, so I suggest just click a few at random. They are generally more oriented towards the commercial/music video vibe than mine (I don't have my commercial reel online as I'm not pushing that side as much).
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Old September 17th, 2005, 01:38 PM   #12
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thanks again for the advice. Do you get a lot of work from the demoreelnetwork?
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Old September 17th, 2005, 01:58 PM   #13
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I've never gotten an unsolicited job from them, but I have clinched jobs on the basis of people being able to view my reels immediately. I have yet to see video on anyone's personal web site that loads as quickly yet is that same image size and frame rate, so it's worth it to me to pay for their service rather than have it on my own (non-existent!) server. If anyone can point me towards such a thing, I'd be interested!
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Old September 17th, 2005, 02:45 PM   #14
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HA!... I thought I would checkout Demoreelnetwork's main page. Featured reel? Who else! :D Everyone else likes your reel too Charles. :D
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Old September 19th, 2005, 08:06 AM   #15
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well, I have started to remake the reel and here is what I have so far... www.norkafilms.com/reel.mov

I believe I am going to keep the DP and editing reel together because all of my projects I was the DP and editor. Also, I think I am going to make a montage for the intro. So this isnt done but this is what I have so far.
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