10 reel tips to land you in a first job or a top 10 market

May 10, 2018 11:00

Since starting Reel Media Group in 2013, we’ve seen a handful of very first boot camp students go from reel, to first job to a Top 10 market. In a couple cases, a network!
Nine cities and almost five years later, we’re saved up our top 10 tips for anyone building a reel.
1. Your reel does not need to be 10 minutes. Five is plenty. This is a common mistake. News directors would rather see a shorter version of your best stuff. You should have around 4 to 5 stand ups or live shots and 2 packages.

2. Your standups shouldn’t be longer than :10 seconds, in most cases, and your packages 1:30 and under. This shows that you understand timing and pacing of local news.

3. Ask yourself, “Does my reel show a potential news director what kind of storyteller I am?” Before you put your reel together, ask yourself what stories you like to cover and you're passionate about. The goal is not to show that you can cover news, weather and sports, but rather show a news director what unique reporting you’ll bring to the table.

4. Don’t be afraid to incorporate digital clips like Facebook live segments or Snapchat stories. The more creative, the better. This is a great way to showcase that you're a multi-platform journalist.

5. If your reel consists of stories you edited over a week’s time, it might be pretty but won’t do you any good when working on deadlines. Challenge yourself. Set timers. Set deadlines. It will be worth it in the end. If you're looking for your first job, this is a good way to instill confidence in news directors that you will be ready on your first day.

6. You can show different looks on your tape but try to avoid different hair lengths or a variety of colors on a reel. It's important for your future news director to know what they will get.
7. Your first clip should be your best. This doesn't necessarily mean breaking news or hard news. Your best standup or live shot is probably something that shows you doing something.
8. Writing matters. If your package has a track that is longer than :15 seconds that is too long. Think about finding a way to add a soundbite and some nat sound to break it up.
9. Your reel should be reflective of work you have done in the past three months. If it's more than 6 months old, it is time for new content.
10. Upload your reel to a YouTube or Vimeo page. This can be private if you want. If you send a link to your website, be sure your embedded video reel is the first thing visitors see. Don’t require news directors to click arounds your website to find your reel.

About to graduate and looking for your first news job? Download our complete guide to landing your first news job, incuding more on crafting your demo reel, how to write a strong resume and cover letter, why and how to network and what to expect on day one. Let's get you hired! 


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