The Performance Mentor

Mentor > Work Tips > How to make a great Showreel

How to make a great Showreel


Title: How to make a great Showreel


It is becoming harder than ever for persons to start careers in entertainment, whether in movie making, 3D, motion graphics or animation. For this reason, persons have to be more creative when they want to land their dream job. One of the ways to do this is to create a showreel. Read the following tips to learn how to make a great showreel.

Make a showreel that starts and ends well.

You should open with your very best work. Beyond that, you want to add only work that really belongs on your reel.

Keep it short, simple and sweet.

Less is more when it comes to the duration of a showreel. This is especially true for studios which receive thousands of unsolicited reels regularly and endures an avalanche whenever a position opens up. You want to grab attention so your reel must not outstay its welcome. A good recommendation is to make it with a length of one and a half to two minutes with the beginning having all your best work. It is always better to do a simple reel really well instead going for more advanced projects and end up looking like an amateur.

Show a breakdown of your workings.

The reel that you create will speak for itself to a certain extent, but it is a good idea to show how it was done. You can do this by providing a short breakdown to show the software used and what you contributed. This will show off your original side as well as your good creative eye, especially if you are looking to land a technical role. If you’re a dancer or choreographer, you need to keep a behind the scene separate to a finish work reel as the qualities are different and you have location, make up, props from the commercial, video or event.

Simplicity is Beauty

It is way better to create something simple & done excellently, than trying to be pretentious to look like an amateur. The complexity of your reel wouldn’t even matter if the folks who’s going to view your reel wouldn’t understand a thing or even feel it. Keep things simple.

Contact information and photo.

Your name, telephone number, web address and photo should make the most important part of a showreel. You should display this in the clearly on the video title, DVD cover and main panel of the menu, or your description area of your link. Your showreel will be an extension of yourself, so even if people forget your name they are less likely to forget your face.

Think of the showreel as more than a video montage.

Consider it as just one aspect of a bigger picture, a package with a selection of materials and not a video clip reel. Vision statement, CV, cover letter, storyboards, artworks and drawings, scripts, essays, and writing samples all in one!

Match your showreel to the desired position.

Do your research and then tailor your showreel to match the available position because every client looks for different skills. It would be good to add relevant stuff, instead of just throwing in things.

Just include your best work

Most people would forcefully include their dull or even outdated work just for the sake of having something more to put on their reel. Well, you should not be afraid that you might not have enough stuff in your reel. Do not sacrifice a “what could have been a great short reel” for a “long yet irrelevant ones.” Quality over quantity.

Get inspiration from other people’s work

If you still haven’t figured out your own ideas, you could search for sample showreels on YouTube. You could use it as your reference or as an inspiration. This may also serve as your venue for expanding your knowledge.

Know that no man is an island, you could always ask your peers on what they think regarding this matter and brainstorm ideas on how you could create one.


Pick music that compliments your showreel and doesn’t over power it. Also take into account that music without copyright permission will be blocked on certain third party sharing sites like YouTube. If your reel has hundreds of views and then they block it, it’s a problem for you.

Have a reel for your different areas of work, in this day and age everything is online and available to all. So, make sure you are included and representing yourself in the right way. Hopefully these tips will help to take your showreel from something good to one that is great. Your showreel should be presented professionally, regardless of the position you are applying for and the content that you are including.