An obvious, but important fact: The advent of YouTube, and specifically, dancers’ incorporation and utilization of YouTube & dance-cinematography to showcase their work, has dramatically revolutionized the dance scene.
Beyond just posting your workshop footage, or a lil freestyle, several dancers are thinking bigger. Bigger, and more professionally.
If you’re pursuing dance as your career, knowing what makes a good reel is essential. It’s your visual resume, a literal sample of the work you’ve done. A reel is used to supplement an audition, in lieu of an audition, to apply to castings where you cannot physically be present, or for a myriad of other occasions where anyone needs to see your skills. It’s a selling tool, and all those watching are looking for versatile, professional dancers who can execute their projects.
Needless to say, this important little video probably shouldn’t be thrown together on an app you downloaded on your phone. There’s a lot of freedom to edit it as you wish, but there are general guidelines that all reel should be made under. Wanna know more? Press play ->>
Short And Sweet
Your reel should be, at most, 2-3 minutes long. I know, I know! You have so much stored in that vault of choreography and performances, it seems impossible to trim down. But make sure it’s a curated collection of only your BEST work! And the clips themselves should be short, (under ~10 seconds).
Only The Best (And Most Relevant)
If your technique or performance wasn’t 1000% flawless throughout an entire video, that’s okay! CUT THOSE PARTS OUT! Every single second of your reel, because it’s so short and carries so much importance, is going to be scrutinized (by expert, critical eyes.) Lead with your strongest samples and don’t showcase your weaknesses.
And UPDATE when your reel when you get great new footage that can replace older material, or if you feel like it’s no longer an accurate representation of your goals and abilities.
Music 2 A Minimum
Pick only one or two catchy songs to make up the soundtrack. Yes, for the entire video. Might sting a little to lose the musicality behind each movement, but it’s even more disadvantageous to distract the viewer with a different song each clip. Mute your original track and overlay the chosen song(s).
If you’re submitting your reel for commercial work, choose something catchy & upbeat. Otherwise, choose something versatile and not too stylized
Just make sure that they are PC and free of curse words. It can reflect your style of course, but in a professional manner. View your entire video after you throw the music on, and make sure it looks cohesive.
Do You, Boo Boo
Just because people are watching your reel for professional purposes, the purpose doesn’t devalue personality. Meaning: Yes, they’re looking to work with you, but people want to work with people they like. Dancers who are unafraid to be themselves and are likable and friendly.
With that said, let your personality shine through in your clips. If you’re killin’ it front and center in a group performance, great! If not, you can edit clips to draw the most attention to yourself (darkening or blurring surroundings, spotlight effects, etc.). For solos, use ones where you’re really connecting with the movement and the viewer can tell that you’re an invested dancer.
Call Me, Beep Me, If Ya Wanna Book Me
You just showcased 2 minutes of your greatest work. Great! Bravo! We love you! But. Who/where are you??
Don’t forget the most important part- your name, contact number, and email address at the end of your reel. Don’t overload with too much info- just those three things are sufficient. You can talk details later.
Another no-brainer, but your demo reel should always be accessible. YouTube and Vimeo are popular sites for reels. I actually recommend Vimeo, as it has a more professional flair. And it’s less distracting; there are no advertisements before the video starts!
For all you aspiring professional dancers, we hope that this was helpful in putting your reel-y awesome skills into a reel! Happy dancing, happy sharing, and go get #bookedandblessed!
What are some tips and tricks with reel-making you’ve learned? Comment below and share with us!
Want some advice on the production side? Learn a few things about dance cinematography from Gerald Nonato and Jon Shih!
Not quite ready to compile a reel yet, but still wanna get your work out there? Make sure you’re not making these 5 mistakes…
Your reel is going to evolve and your dancing evolves. Always be learning and growing- which you can now do anytime, anywhere! Try out STEEZY Studio today!