I am in the process of editing my online showreel. I have 3 short films (or not so short 1 is 36 minutes and another 19 minutes), a trailer and a DVD intro / pre-menu clip. Now my main focus for my career or should I say where I would like to direct my career is dialogue editing and location recording.

It has been suggested to me that my showreel should be no longer than 4 minutes, but am wondering how I could showcase some of the lengthier scenes within that time. Do I also try and create something thats snappy and jumps around or do I put the clips from the films together? My DVD showreel will include all the films after the edited reel automatically plays, so for that I am happy in the knowledge that people can watch the full films afterwards. However due to restrictions with 2 of the films I am unable to upload them in full nor are they available elsewhere, so how do i get around this within the 4 minutes.

Any ideas or examples that people think might help would be greatly appreciated.


2 Answers 2


Consider your audience.

You can make it as long as you want, but don't expect anyone in any position to hire you to sit through more than about 90 seconds of the online version and maybe 2 minutes of a DVD version.

The first 10 seconds are the most critical - if the first 10 seconds isn't absolutely gripping you will get passed up immediately. Sweat that first 10 seconds like crazy. Then sweat everything else. Use titles to outline what you specifically did on each shot that the showreel includes. This gives your audience perspective and allows them to focus on your work and not wonder "ok, this is good but what part did Dave contribute here?"

No one will watch the full films even if you include them unless they already know them. Not prospective employers, not interns, not your friends.

If you have access to stems or even just production you can better isolate your work or otherwise put it in context of the whole piece by doing (titled) audio shifts from full mix to isos of what you did.

video editing is storytelling. for a good example of how to isolate specialized work in a complex setting go look at some vfx houses showreels. They will often show the greenscreen clip and then shift immediately to the final rendered clip. Do this but with audio. Also notice clip length in those showreels.

short fast punchy interesting. but mostly interesting. also mostly short.


4 minutes is way too long. Like Rene said, try to keep it as short as possible.

Human attention span is very short and it becomes shorter when you review hundreds of reels evryday! No need to say most of them goes to garbage if they don't give a nice impression in first 15 seconds.

As a little advice, I always love to see before&after sequences in a reel. Check this out Although it is VFX, you'll get the idea!

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