Want to Make the Best Film Reel for Your Portfolio?

film reel tips

As a film student, you will start building a portfolio of work while in school to showcase your talents. A strong film reel is an important component of landing future jobs. To help you make the best film reel to show off your work, we asked our film career advisors for help. Charlotte Grady from our Career Development department shared 5 tips that will help get you started with creating your first film reel. Keep these important tips in mind when submitting your film reel to hiring managers and film departments.


Keep your film reel under 2 minutes!

Generally, make sure it’s between 45 seconds to 2 minutes.  If you don’t have many projects to choose from, that’s okay! You can stay closer to the 45-second mark. Just like with a resume, remember that employers are busy people (and likely won’t be thrilled when they see that your reel is 5 minutes long).


Make it reflect YOU.

Even if you have many different genres in your portfolio, try your best to pick images & shots that reveal something unique or specific about your style. Think of your favorite film directors and what style they are known for creating in their work. A great example is director Wes Anderson who is known for his eccentricity and unique visual style.


Pick the right music.

Choose music that reveals something about you and your work…just remember not to overpower any images you include.


Keep your desired job title in mind.

For cinematographers, focus on showcasing your beautiful, interesting shots; for directors, focus on keeping a theme throughout (that might mean having dialogue play through the duration while other shots are shown); and for editors, focus on interesting cuts and showcase your style.


Demonstrate what you want to do more of!

Your reel should demonstrate the type of work you want to create more of. Choose a mix of wide, medium and close-up shots that show off your skills in the type of job you’re seeking.