Reel Them In: 10 Tips for your Showreel

Using your Showreel for personal marketing.

The very best way for you to showcase your skills – besides the amazing CV you’ve now written following on from our last blog ‘5 tips to make your CV stand out’ is a Showreel.

A Showreel should be strategically planned from start to finish. To help you along the way, I wanted to share my top 10 tips for making a great Showreel which will make the best impact.

Tip 1 – Save the BEST for first.

While your Showreel should only include your best work, you should front load it with the stuff that you’re most proud of. Realistically, the person watching won’t always make it to the end. You will want to grab their attention at the start with the best brands/names/shots that you have.

Obviously, you will want your entire Showreel to be great from start to finish. However, this showreel tip is an important one – because first impressions really do matter.

Tip 2 – Keep it short

Watching through a long Showreel is simply exhausting. It can leave a bad taste in the viewers mouth even if the content is good. You need to be ruthless in the cutting room. The client wants to see what you can do – but they want to see it in the least amount of time possible.

You need to find the perfect balance between showing enough of your work and showing too much. It will take a little bit of time and planning but the reward is so worth it. I guarentee that your showreel will have a much more positive impact on those watching it. Somewhere between 1-3 minutes in length will be where you want to be.

Tip 3 – Simplicity over frills

Keep it simple! You definetely don’t want the edit of your Showreel to outshine the footage which is showcasing the work that you have done. If the edit is distracting, then the viewer will lose interest. This is the point when it has become too much work for them to dicipher the content.

Your Showreel needs to be clear and concise and shouldn’t create any additional work for the viewer. You aren’t creating a musical montage piece and shouldn’t disguise the footage with fancy edits. In saying this, you’re a storyteller so the sequence of your footage can be creatively placed to tell its own story just be careful of over-editing.

Tip 4 – Think of it as a personal advert

You should absolutely think of yourself as a brand. Your showreel is the commercial which helps to sell your service. One of my top 5 CV tips transfers over to here. You need to know what your why is. You should also think about who your customer is and what type of work you are looking to get – knowing this will make your showreels message clear.

Tip 5 – Make your role clear

If the viewer can’t tell what your role was from the footage in the showreel then you need to do something to make this more clear. Be specific about what exactly you did to achieve the footage which is presented.

You can do this by including text over the visuals specifying your role for the project – try and keep the font the same throughout so that it doesn’t move from being informative to being distracting.

Tip 6 – Create a reel for the role

If you have the resources you should definitely try and make sure that the showreel you submit for a role is relatable. If you are applying for a position which specifically asks for someone to do drone footage, then you will want to showcase the best drone footage which you have taken. Similarly, if you are applying for a film editor position you will want to make sure that all your editing work on film projects are front and center.

Tip 7 – Mention the equipment and software that you used

If your role was a technical one, you will have to make sure the viewer knows what equipment or software you used. Again, you can use text on screen to let the viewer know all of these details so that they aren’t left trying to guess how you achieved the final product.

Listing the equipment and software in your showreel is also another way to promote your skill level to the client. Thinking back to tip 6 – consider what hard skills the employer is looking for, have you created something that utilised those skills? Make sure this is included in your showreel.

Tip 8 – Make sure your Showreel is easy to access

We’re getting down to the real basics here, but you should make sure that your video can be shared easily with whoever you want to see it. You should upload your video to sites such as Vimeo or YouTube and you should also have a downloaded copy of your video, in case you need to share the file directly.

Tip 9 – A portfolio could work better than a showreel

If you are an editor, a showreel might not be the most ideal way to showcase your work. If this is true for you, I would reccomend looking into creating an online portfolio. You can include the full project files in the portfolio, so the viewer can watch as much or as little of each project as they want.

Websites such as Squarespace and Wix allow you to create your own portfolio site which is extremely easy to use and to share with those that you want to see it.

Tip 10 – Be proud of the work

My last showreel tip is to make sure that the work you include in your Showreel is the very best material that you have. Including impressive footage is important, but your showreel should consist of work which you are also proud of.


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