Just joined this site, so thought I'd give my first question - which I'll try and keep short!

I've done Sound Design in theatre for a few years now and am looking to working in film and other media. Really, my theatre work has comprised of mostly creating and recording soundtrack music to go with the plays and some minor sound fx when needed.

What I was wondering is, what's the best way to present yourself as a Sound Designer for film? Is it best to create a short film or showreel demonstrating sound fx and music? I've seen some Sound Designers have taken trailers for modern films and dubbed their own FX on to them as a way to show what they can do.

I do have a website for my music and soundtracks, but not a showreel or anything visual just yet (though I have got a YouTube channel.)

Sorry for the newbie question...!

Thanks in advance.

  • What does it even mean to a "reel" when you're doing sound? Is it just a compilation of various clips which "sound good"? Or do you try to do a theme? With a DP, it's relatively straight forward. Pick a great song, pick your greatest shots, make a great edit. With sound it takes a lot more creativity. What is it people are looking for in an audio reel?
    – user5987
    Apr 29, 2013 at 5:59
  • You do something that appeals to other people. What you do depends on what you're interested in. But everyone who's in need of a creative audio person are looking for someone to contribute to their vision, which is some other type of creative activity e.g. film-making. The reel can be as simple as a collage of the best work that you've done, or it can be a collage of work demonstrations/exercises, if you're just starting out, but its point is to show that you can do what's needed or that you have a particular type of taste (and motivation) that appeals to the person listening to your reel. Apr 29, 2013 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


Depends. I, for example, can listen to just audio and decide, whether I like what someone is doing or whether I don't. Some prefer to see the sound working with a visual media, because that's what you're basically looking to do and should demonstrate experience specifically in matching sound to picture.

You should "always" have a demo reel containing your best work or at least a portfolio (e.g. in the web), especially when you're starting out (or trying to). That's what you present to all new people that you meet and the reel is what ought to be the thing that impresses the people that you show it to, which in turn may bring you gigs.


Self-promotion advice

REBOOT: What makes you think YOU'RE a sound designer?

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