April 18, 2015

demo reel blog

This week we’re learning how to make the best impression with a show reel or demo reel for your clients, and other people you might be working with.


As far as I know, none of the filmmaking opportunities I’ve had have come from my reel, it seems to me that personal, real life connections are what gets you hired in this business. But even so, one of these days I know my reel will come in handy as a way to show off my filmmaking skills to a potential client / coworker.



With this reel I was focusing on rhythm and energy – I think there are too many slow, wistful reels with minimalistic music.  I’m not 100% happy with it at all, I’d definitely like my next reel to have a story, even if it means shooting stuff specifically. This is still a bit too much of a meaningless montage, but at least I’m going in the direction of making it more interesting.


I’d love to see someone put these editing techniques to use in a reel. It’s that old saying that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Two shots on their own can mean nothing, but when combined they are given value through association. (First realised by Kuleshov I believe, but Hitchcock explains it well).


Really distinct visual style in this one – hugely cinematic and yet somehow more artistic. Brilliant music choice, perfectly complements the atmosphere.

Completely on the other side of the spectrum, this one has a completely different tone. For an advertising agency this makes a lot of sense. Great use of sound, and carefully selected montage. You can probably tell that this was a big inspiration for my own reel.


If you’d like to see my progressions in framing, colour grading and editing, below are all of my reels, including the terrible corporate-video ones from the early days. Weird to think that it was less than two years ago.

Simon Cade

Filmmaker, and host of DSLRguide. Since I was making my first film age 11, I have always been fascinated by the way films are produced, and the effect it can have on the audience.

  • Priscilla Lynn

    Where do you recommend getting music for demo reels? I was reading about reel advice on pixar and they mentioned to be careful because they turn off the sound and get really annoyed if they don’t like your taste in music.

    Please email me if you have a chance: prisography@yahoo.com

    I’m interested in your feedback & I like the music in your reel and the reels you chose as examples!


  • Nicola Campbell

    great explanation of how best to make a showreel. Thanks for taking the time to share the advice.