Video: How to Make a Demo Reel Part 1 – The Format

Entertainment careers are different than most, many require a performance element or tangible work that can be displayed. A demo reel helps you present your skills to a hiring manager, whether you want to work in visual arts, as a TV news reporter, sportscaster, DJ, producer editor…you name it. Any job that can be enhanced by showing your work, rather than just talking about it, should create a demo reel.

But how?

Former News Director and current Director of Content for Brian Clapp, is conducting a 5-part series on how to make a demo reel, in part 1 he discuses the format. For links to future parts see the transcript below the video, and if you have questions ask them in the comments – we answer every single one. On with the show…

Watch the Entire “How To Make a Demo Reel” Series:

Video Transcript for “How To Make A Demo Reel Part 1 – The Format” Director of Content Brian Clapp: Many entertainment careers require a visual component to the job application process, it’s called a demo reel and it goes hand in hand with a paper resume. It allows you to show what you can do rather than just talk about it.

It’s an extremely vital part of becoming a producer, editor, reporter, anchor or a DJ – you need to be able to show a hiring manager ‘hey this is me in action’.

We’re going to do a 5 part series on How to make a demo reel and in part 1 today we’re going to discuss the overall format.

how to make a demo reel

A demo reel provides the opportunity to show hiring managers what you can do, not just talk about it.

Generally speaking it’s going to be about 4-5 minutes long but the most important part is the first 30 seconds. If you are an aspiring TV news reporter, you want to show a quick montage of 6-7 second clips of you in various settings: Live shot, on set, various feature reports – give a sampling of what you can accomplish that will grab the attention of a hiring manger and let them know if they want to see more.

Also, if you are wondering how to make a demo reel – don’t build it like a novel where you build up to a climactic finish at the end – you actually want to put your best stuff near the beginning because if you don’t hook them initially, they are never going to make it to the end.

This is just part 1 of our 5 part series on how to make a demo reel – tune in next week for part 2 (or just click the links we will add here after publishing)

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for &

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.


  1. Kimberly dole says:

    Can you touch on entertainment reporters? What to include in Reels & looking for jobs

    • Thanks Kimberly – good idea, look for a blog post in the near future! – Brian

      • Brandon Brown says:

        Can you touch on editors. Im always confused on what can we show as editors? transitions, cuts etc?


        • Brandon – It’s a good question, I believe editors can show a lot, especially by utilizing feature stories. Editing to music, dramatic builds, varying shots, visual storytelling. As a former news director, for each opening I had for a editor I’d only get a resume reel from I’d say 10% of applicants. But you know what, those that sent me a resume reel almost always got a call back. I could see their work, I felt like I knew them more than someone who just sent me a paper resume. – Hope that helps, Brian


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