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A thumping base line starts. Digital images appear showing flashes of color and action: a snake writhing in the grass, a baseball player winding up for a pitch, a fisherman reeling in a catch, eyes dancing in the darkness. It’s a rhythmic display of pigment, sound, and talent. What is it? It’s a showreel.

Traditionally used by actors and models as a visual résumé, showreels have become a mainstay in the media and arts world. A professionally put together short promotional film, the purpose of the showreel is to display a montage of the artists talents, letting a potential employer see the very best work that they have to offer.

Some of the best showreels currently available are those put together to display motion graphics. The idea is not just to display a random collection of images, but to construct a reel with atmosphere, energy, and originality – presenting the motion graphics in the best possible way, whether it is for a potential employer, a website or an exhibition.

So what makes an epic showreel? Showreels, much like music videos and theatrical trailers, go through style fads. But the whole idea of a showreel is to stand out from the crowd, to be memorable. So when creating a showreel, envision something unique and different, something that is ‘you’, not just something that is currently a trend.

A showreel is generally no more than 5 minutes, and it can sometimes be difficult to appreciate the full amount of effort that has gone into such a small production piece. For this reason, incorporating a short write up or a few behind the scenes sketches can add depth to your work. It shows that behind the music and smooth graphics you are a talented and hardworking individual with impressive creative ability.

A common mistake made by new artists who are just starting out is feeling the pressure to include every sing piece of work they’ve ever created, regardless of how good the piece of work is. Remember that this is a showcase of your talents, so quality will always impress over quantity. A well thought out showreel with a few key projects will impress far above and beyond a dizzying display of mediocre.

Industry experts also recommend opening with your most impressive piece – media executives may only watch the opening few sequences before deciding to go on to the next reel, so you want to open with a bang!

Remember, the showreels that are remembered long after the music stops are the ones that showcase real talent, not just a good soundtrack.

For your inspirational we collected well made examples of showreels. We hope they’ll aid you during the planning period. Enjoy!

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Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos. Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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