Creating My Demo Reel

So you've done the work editing news packages/short films/documentaries/and anything else you have up your sleeve for the past year-maybe more. But, how do you combine it all together?

A demo reel is the short answer; a web portfolio including a demo reel is the long answer. A demo reel will not only display the best of your work, but should create a lasting impression on employers, professors, and really anyone who watches it-whether they are familiar with editing techniques or not. A web portfolio is a great thing to burn onto a disc and hand to an employer during an interview. It not only shows professionalism, but that you are organized, have more than just one skill set, and that you are prepared. If you don’t have access to a professional program such as Dreamweaver, consider using IWeb-a free application on Mac Computers. I used IWeb and was able to manipulate my website to look professional. I also used Photoshop to help me make links and graphics.

The best thing is that a demo reel and a website can be personalized. First, think of what field you are going in. I answered this with broadcast journalism. Because the industry is turning so that journalists now collect their own b-roll, and edit in many television stations, I included two reels-an editing reel and my main demo reel. This is also helpful because before going on air, the majority of anchors are producers.

Because of the wide variety of jobs, I created a web site that gave a broad introduction of me and my skills sets rather than an overly detailed description. If I actually go into an interview, I can always customize my website for that specific position/employer.
 
Think of what message you want to send to anyone who views your website. I answered this with that I want people to see the work I’ve done in high school and be impressed. After I get more work through college, I’m going to add a separate page of JUST high school work to show I’ve been at this for a while. The links I added include my welcome page, my resume, a video page, a graphic design page, a writing page, and an awards page. The great thing about a website is you can keep up with it-add new things to your resume, or update existing information.
 
The welcome page should not scroll. Provide 2-3 paragraphs about yourself and interests. While I was designing my page, I kept in mind that it should be somewhat timeless. I put that I was currently attending The Ohio State University and majoring in broadcast journalism, even though I was a senior while designing it. I’ve now graduated, so it would have been rhetorical to state my current year in high school.

The resume should be the page that is the most detailed. Include skills, awards, jobs, experience, and the dates for all of the above. Make the resume downloadable and have it viewable straight from the page itself. Hand a more detailed copy specific to the job you are interviewing for to your employer.

The video page included my main demo reel-a set of my favorite clips from news stories and documentaries I’ve worked on. (My editing demo reel was on a separate page.) There is really no set way to do it. You can include graphics in between, music behind it, or stand up in between to showcase. Make sure it is captivating!
 
On the graphic design page I showcased all of my favorite Photoshop projects and 2-3 sentence descriptions for each.

For the writing page, I gave the titles and brief descriptions of my favorite articles and placed links to other pages on MY website that would have them in full. In case a website took the link off or moved it, I didn’t want to give the actual internet link.
 
The awards page included pictures and descriptions of the awards I won. It also placed links to any of the video pages that showed my winning project.
 
Below each page I included that the web page was created by me, and was copyrighted.

I tried to not give you too much info about each page, simply because when I was designing, I looked at other web pages, but in the end created my website using a lot of my own ideas, or making an idea I saw, my own. Try web design-it’s a great way to impress employers or teachers, and a fun summer project. Get creative with your website, and simply experiment.


Melissa Prax is an active student and athlete. She found her love for film and writing in an Interactive Multimedia Class through her high school. She is currently attending The Ohio State University to major in Broadcast Journalism and is considering medical school after her undergraduate degree is completed.