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Television Reel Question

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Television Reel Question
on May 2, 2007 at 10:44:01 am


I am a television editor working on putting together a demo reel. Most television reels I have seen amount to little more than show clips edited together in a interesting way, and that is what I had in mind when I started cutting mine.

But when I shared a rough cut with a producer friend of mine, he basically declared it DOE. His reasoning was as follows, "Ideally, you need a reel that shows that you know how to tell a story. That

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Re: Television Reel Question
on May 2, 2007 at 2:22:18 pm

[BillG10009] " but how do you tell a story in a two minute reel of five different shows cut together?"

It may not be possible with this as a set parameter. Is there a reason you can only have 2 minutes in total for your reel?

I like your reel, but it goes a little long w/o adding new information. Without dramatically different material, the value of a montage really wears off. It'd be like showing the color red over and over again - you think it's something new, but it's really a slight variation of the same color.

What you may want to do is a short 30-60 sec montage as an intro to your work, then build 2-3 minute (or so) sections of the actual pieces as they aired. You could show a portion of the show at the beginning, then again somewhere in the middle and finally some type of resolution - telling mini-stories within that 2 minute piece.

The point your friend makes is valid, and people who are seriously considering you for a long form editing type position will sit and watch each segment. If they lose interest in your reel too quickly, it won't be because of length.

Anyways, just my $0.02.

Good luck!

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Re: Television Reel Question
on May 3, 2007 at 12:48:11 am

how do you do those quick zoom in effects? Is it just a really sped up camera zoom? or something else?

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Re: Television Reel Question
on May 3, 2007 at 1:50:33 pm

your reel is tough, unless you are going for more work of the same nature (the how too shows). If this is the case, i would drop the music style/montage thing and just show a one minute clip or medium sized clips that tell the viewer you know what you are doing. the shots you are working with really just aren't captivating enough to put into a montage, and to support the producer's point, they don't tell the viewer 'hey this guy knows how to edit a tv show'. i do like the multiscreen animation thing to get you from show to another, that feels like you've done a bunch of stuff and helps the viewer transition. maybe just use some sound design for this. it's okay for a reel to be 4-5 minutes. i would find the most interesting parts to your shows. obviously the pacing on these shows is not quick, because that is their nature. they aren't driven by the edit. they are to inform. so again, it's a toughy.

if you're trying to get other type of work? if so, then it's a tough one. not sure what to tell you there. sorry.


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Re: Television Reel Question
on May 9, 2007 at 3:37:12 am

Consider your audience, first off. If you're pitching to a television producer, your audience is an experienced, technical person. With experience comes practicality. Practicality means improvision, adaptation - your ability to make a good story out of very little.

The motion graphics reels tend to get most of the attention in the industry because they're quick, "flashy" and "cool" meaning they sort of cater to the attention deficit. Even the most patient manager type will quickly grow accustomed to taking a quickie peek at a reel and throwing it away if he's not immediately impressed.

A television editor on the other hand needs to show creative problem solving, meaning you're handed footage and you can quickly make a story out of it, and you can create the supplemental work you need to as well (promos, sponsor commercials, etc.). A creative story teller usually follows the fundamental structure of a story, and this includes hooking the audience at the beginning, setting up the story and building it to its climax, then a short relief before the credits. The skill comes not in knowing the structure but in -implementing- it.

The above dribble points at the following ideas I'd have for your situation:

- Try picking out key scenes with short cuts (shorter the better) that you're most proud of. This might act as the hook to your potential television producer. Naturally if you customize your reel toward the exact genre you're after you'll have better luck (probably wouldn't show a shoot-em-up scene if you're wanting to get onto a reality production).

- After several quick-cut scenes, consider making a pseudo documentary explaining the footage you were given and what you did with it. This both explains how you've dealt with editing problems in the past and overcome them but more importantly it illustrates how you can put together an interesting story - your story, about how you edit.

- Wrap it up with a quick ending that summarizes yourself (very briefly) and maybe with a contact page at end or a reference to a website or something.

If you really want to get fancy, pick out your top 5 ideal places to work and then customize a reel for them. Call up the person(s) responsible for the production and mention their name in your reel. I'd be very surprised if you didn't at least get a call out of that.

You're a visual, technical person. -Illustrate- that you have the skills, never -tell- them you do.

Good luck. :-)

- MythProd
(John David Hutton)
Digital Effects Artist, Support Technician
Kansas City, Kansas - United States

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