Latest post Fri, Apr 25 2008 11:08 PM by jwrl. 13 replies.
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  • Wed, Apr 23 2008 5:51 AM

    • Dreamer D
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    Tips for Demo Reel?

    Hello everybody,

    My school has put together a big conference and career fair where we have the opportunity to submit demos on DVD for critique from industry pros - and the chance to get our stuff seen by all these potential employers.  At this point, I've not yet made a demo for myself.  My primary interest is in working as an editor, but also independent filmmaking.

    They want a 3-minute DVD and I'm wondering how to start.  Whenever I've checked out various demos online (of a few of you folks, here, too), they're all so different.  Some have titles before each clip, some don't, some show one full clip from each project, others break it up into a fast-paced montages where you might see the same project more than once in the demo, etc., etc.

    Are there general guidelines on what they would look for? I'm also interested in hearing what kinds of demos appeal to you - links to demos you think are really cool are most welcome!

    I only have about six or eight projects (mostly from school) to choose from, but there are good segments in all of them. The event is happening in about 2 1/2 weeks, so I have to get started.  Any suggestions on how to approach making this thing?

    Thanks in advance,

    Dreamer D


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  • Wed, Apr 23 2008 7:18 AM In reply to

    • jasperfdo
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    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    hey dreamer....i was in your shoes not that long ago (graduated in 2006).

    before i left film school i worked hard to get a DVD reel ready with nice printed cover, case insert, etc.  even had a website up...whatever.

    for your screening i'd start a quick montage to some music - but make it QUICK.  you're not a DP, you are an editor, and anyone can edit a music video.  blast into some good scene edits and then blast out at the end with a music montage that ends cool with your name or something.  that is what i did...basically, keep EVERYONE interested for every second.  step back and imagine it isn't your stuff or your edits....is it cool or lame?  and don't show anything more than once if you can help it.  that will give a bigger scope to your ability/experience.

    and then you'll hit the real world and realize that shorts are cool, but you have to get a feature under your belt, and then another, and another.  and you'll realize that learning avid was good, but getting your mind around story is oh so hard, but oh so cool. =)

    cheers.

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  • Wed, Apr 23 2008 7:00 PM In reply to

    • Dreamer D
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    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    Sigh... Last night I looked at the stuff I have from two semesters, and now I officially hate everything I've done.  At first, I was thinking it will be hard to edit down to 3 minutes, now I think it will be tougher to fill up 3 minutes.  Well, I guess I'll have to show off my editing skills in my ability to cobble together a decent reel from mostly school projects that seriously suck.  LOL (not).

    Dreamer

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    I edit in my dreams*

  • Wed, Apr 23 2008 11:25 PM In reply to

    • jwrl
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    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    Don't get too despondent.  One thing you've just established that's exxential for an editor; you have the ability to be critical of your own work.

    What I'd do is approach this job as a complete new task.  By that I mean don't treat it as a simple montage of existing sequences.  What you must remember is that no editor ever got an award for masterly editing on a poorly shot, poorly acted project.  So pick arresting imagery from the past jobs and build your sequence out of that.  Go back to originals if you can.  Tie the sequence into a strong driving music track - they'll remember that - and make it as punchy as you can.

    Then burn it to a professionally labelled DVD with your full contact details on the label.

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  • Thu, Apr 24 2008 1:25 AM In reply to

    • jasperfdo
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    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    sorry - late checking back in.

    like was mentioned above - you are critical of your own work...bravo!  you are now ahead of 95% of all indie filmmakers that are typically so egotistical they don't even want to test screen.  okay, that is a stretch, but maybe not?

    and listen...most school projects do suck.  some are pretty cool, many are horrible.  but just think outside the box.  don't even tie yourself to the story if you don't want to - do it like trailers.  have two people talking to each other that never talk to each other in the short (if that sort of thing works and makes it better obviously).  'The Departed' trailer did some of that.

    good luck man...show us what you do.

    MacBook Pro Retina / El Capitan / 16GB RAM / G-Studio Drive System / Media Composer 8.6.x [view my complete system specs]

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  • Thu, Apr 24 2008 8:11 AM In reply to

    • Dreamer D
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    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    jwrl:
    Don't get too despondent.  One thing you've just established that's exxential for an editor; you have the ability to be critical of your own work.
    Thanks!  I like putting that spin to it.  :)

    So pick arresting imagery from the past jobs and build your sequence out of that.  Go back to originals if you can.  Tie the sequence into a strong driving music track - they'll remember that - and make it as punchy as you can.
    I do keep Masters of every project I've made (on mini-DV), plus all the raw footage. I was intending to work from those masters.


    About the "strong driving music track" -- as I understand you, this means I don't really need to show each sequence exactly as it was in the original projects but put them all together in a new sequence set to a new music track, with some of the original audio popping out every now & then when it's really good and worth hearing.  I like that idea, it gives me a way to start.  Next I'll have to figure out which of my shots are the most "arresting" (and least shaky! - LOL).  Hmmm, should a demo start with the best or end with the best?

    From your post, jwrl, I gather that it's okay for a demo to consist of clips from actual completed projects AND also maybe some stuff that I would edit just for the demo - from unedited footage of other things I've shot (not yet completed projects).

    Then burn it to a professionally labelled DVD with your full contact details on the label.
    Well, I can burn DVD's at home but don't know how to professionally label 'em.  I'll have to look into that.


    Thanks for all the suggestions!  Maybe I can have fun with this.

    Dreamer

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    I edit in my dreams*

  • Thu, Apr 24 2008 8:54 AM In reply to

    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    Dreamer D:
    I can burn DVD's at home but don't know how to professionally label 'em
    Many photographic stores will print labels onto blank CD's and DVD's. Find out what file format they want the graphics in. (12cm by 12cm jpeg at 300dpi is standard)

  • Thu, Apr 24 2008 12:50 PM In reply to

    • jwrl
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    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    Dreamer D:
    About the "strong driving music track" -- as I understand you, this means I don't really need to show each sequence exactly as it was in the original projects but put them all together in a new sequence set to a new music track, with some of the original audio popping out every now & then when it's really good and worth hearing.
     

    Dreamer D:
    From your post, jwrl, I gather that it's okay for a demo to consist of clips from actual completed projects AND also maybe some stuff that I would edit just for the demo - from unedited footage of other things I've shot
     

    The way that I look at it is this:  Unlike any other craft skill in this industry, whatever you do to put that reel together is inevitably going to show your editing skills.  Of course that doesn't mean that it's OK to edit something that someone else has cut into your reel.

    As far as I'm concerned it is OK to revisit work you've done, and even approach it "teaser style", melding sequences from different projects, putting things together in ways that didn't occur to you the first time around.  It will all show how you edit - which is after all what you're setting out to do.

    The hard cold facts of show reels is this:  most people in this industry are too busy to really look at them.  If you don't get their attention in the first ten seconds they'll eject the disc and load the next one.  So make it punchy at the start, give them a feel for what you can really do in the middle and end on a sizzle.

     -And good luck in your future career.  (Did I really type exxential?  Where did that come from?)

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  • Thu, Apr 24 2008 1:04 PM In reply to

    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    jwrl:
    (Did I really type exxential?  Where did that come from?)
     

    Probably because X is just below S on the keyboard!

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  • Thu, Apr 24 2008 1:06 PM In reply to

    • jwrl
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    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

     - or more likely because I typed it after an all-nighter!

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  • Thu, Apr 24 2008 8:36 PM In reply to

    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    jwrl:

    So make it punchy at the start, give them a feel for what you can really do in the middle and end on a sizzle.

     -And good luck in your future career.  (Did I really type exxential?  Where did that come from?)


    This is spot on.  The beginning and the end are two of the most critical pieces (this goes for other areas--such as presentations or speeches--as well).

    Oh, and I figured the "Exxential" is the next Avid product line following the DX nomenclature. Wink

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  • Fri, Apr 25 2008 12:43 AM In reply to

    • jwrl
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    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    Damn it!  I should have copyrighted it!

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  • Fri, Apr 25 2008 7:33 PM In reply to

    • Dreamer D
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    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    Steeldestroyer:
    The beginning and the end are two of the most critical pieces (this goes for other areas--such as presentations or speeches--as well).
    I have read that this is because, in general, people only remember the beginnings and endings of things. I just wanted to make sure it also applies to 3-min. demos.

    jwrl:
    As far as I'm concerned it is OK to revisit work you've done, and even approach it "teaser style", melding sequences from different projects, putting things together in ways that didn't occur to you the first time around.  It will all show how you edit - which is after all what you're setting out to do.

    The hard cold facts of show reels is this:  most people in this industry are too busy to really look at them.  If you don't get their attention in the first ten seconds they'll eject the disc and load the next one.  So make it punchy at the start, give them a feel for what you can really do in the middle and end on a sizzle.

     -And good luck in your future career.  (Did I really type exxential?  Where did that come from?)

    So maybe I don't need the titles of things in that "meld." 

    I was originally thinking only of this media conference at my school (see original post), but since reading everyone's input, I think I can make something good enough to put out there in the real world, too, maybe get some entry level work or an internship.  Thanks everyone - now I'm excited about putting this together! 

    Dreamer

    PS - Exxential... hmm, I like it, gotta use it somehow. Big Smile

    Avid Xpress Pro v5.8......Dell Precision Workstation 390......Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 (2.13GHz/Dual-core)......Windows XP Pro (SP2)......2 GB DDR2 ECC SDRAM... [view my complete system specs]

     

    I edit in my dreams*

  • Fri, Apr 25 2008 11:08 PM In reply to

    • jwrl
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    Re: Tips for Demo Reel?

    Dreamer D:
    PS - Exxential... hmm, I like it, gotta use it somehow. Big Smile
     

    It's yours!

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