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demo reel advice
Old 23rd May 2003
Gear Nut
🎧 15 years
demo reel advice

i'm getting ready to put together my demo reel and need some quick advice.

if YOU were listening to my demo reel, how long would you want each clip to be? its mostly to display my engineering, editing, and arrangement chops - so i don't think there is an advantage in putting a whole 2-5 minute song on there. right now i have chunks of the songs that are :30 - 1:30.

any advice appreciated!

Old 24th May 2003
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I use whole songs rather then clips. Whatever works.
Old 24th May 2003
BevvyB's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Put the best music on there, not the stuff you think is the best technically. Most people can appreciate a good track, not everyone can hear good production or engineering in a sub-standard piece of music.

If you had 10 tracks on a demo reel, one of them may fit the bill with whoever's listening to it. At least if they have the full version they can get into it. People don't listen linear any more, they flick between tracks. They will keep flicking till they hear something they like.

Make it clear on your demo sleeve that you can supply more of a given style should the need arise and that the demo is a selection.

Another thing that can be useful is to have a 'taster' track on the front that whizzes through what's to come with some clever editing. That way you get to show off your editing at the same time as showing what work you've been involved with. It's hard to show off editing in real bits of music when the whole point of it is it's meant to be inaudible.
Old 24th May 2003
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Damn good question... the last couple I've done I've put the whole song on them... because I usually do my best "creative ****" in the bridge of a song... and it's kind of awkward to just put a bunch of bridges on a demo reel...

I usually limit it to 4 songs and let them call if they want more.

I have no idea if thats the "right" way or the "standard" way to do a demo reel [I suspect it's not... but don't know any better]
Old 24th May 2003
Jules's Avatar
For generic showreels I used to use a 2nd verse, Chorus & M8 snippet and have 6 or 7 tunes cross fading...

Nowadays I prefer to have a meeting at my own studio where I play the band stuff only that I think they might like & that relates to thier music...

However if forced to, I will make up a CUSTOM showreel just for one band, I dont belive in general purpous show reels these days.. They just dont suit me... and I find gtr bands HATE most other bands by and large.. If they hear one style act on there they dont dig I find they treat me as if I wrote the damn song, sang it and head up their fan club....

I am carrying around a CD entitled 'Spring collection 2,003'. It has 4 acts on it that I have done recently. I hand this out to music biz folks I run into. I have about 5 CDR's right now in my cargo pants side pocket, here in this internet cafe in Berlin....

(Looks around, hmmm no A&R execs or manager here,goes back to typing......)

So for general purpose, I vote edited fade in - out. 7 songs under 10-15 mins = the attention span of an A&R guy with last nghts coke still buzzing through their system...

Old 24th May 2003
Lives for gear
littledog's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I kind of gave up on a generic demo. The last thing a hip-hop act is gonna trust is a studio whose demo has an adult-contemporary MOR lush ballad with (shudder) reverb on it. Or visa-versa.

So I usually invite them over and ask them to bring something THEY really like (either their's or someone they want to sound like). Hopefully i can scramble and find SOMETHING I've done that sounds similar.

(Which leads to another pet peeve - bands that record in your studio and then "forget" to send you a finished/mastered CD for your archives...)
Old 24th May 2003
Here for the gear
🎧 15 years
hey guys -
My manager sends out a showreel with about twenty songs that play through the first chorus or so - starting with the most high profile acts, and working down. On the C.D. is printed "full songs, and artist C.D.s upon request" he also writes a note like " check out tracks 1/4/7 etc. depending on who's listening.
I'm a producer so the reel is just to give people an idea of what I've done to get them to a meeting - this is where you can play more artist specific ****, and see if everybody gets on.
As someone who has hired AE's from showreels , I think what's important is - quality-work history-versatility-weird coolness factor - in that order. ---- the ability to barbeque helps.
stay cool, and check your meat - I think it's done -- Dave Darling
Old 25th May 2003
Gear Guru
Drumsound's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I put full songs on my demo reel. I try to keep the CD around a 1/2 hour. I usually put it on while I'm meeting with the client. We talk while listening and I will point out things I think they should notice. I then take out the CD, which we may have bounced around, or not heard all the way, and give it to the artist.
Old 27th May 2003
Gear Head
🎧 15 years
thanks guys!!!

i was originally planning to have one generic reel to have handy, and then make custom ones as needed. but i think i'll end up doing each one custom - using all your advice depending on who this thing is going to.

thanks, and if you need an AE in chicago - you know who has a reel ready-made just for you!

(aka viaspiaggia)
Old 29th May 2003
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
🎧 15 years
What do you do if you have a great song with a good mix but there's one minor flaw in it? Maybe it's musical or maybe it's a technical thing like distortion on the lead vocal or a botched edit/punch-in that nobody outside of the people who made it will ever notice. Do you put it on the demo reel anyway?
Old 29th May 2003
Jules's Avatar
Jay for meetings, you need to learn the old 'coughing fit' trick during bad parts on a show reel...!!!
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