Building a demo reel can be an extremely tedious task. You not only need to follow a lot of the rules associated with producing a great audio or video demo reel, but you also need to FIND that material to start with.
Having compiled more than a few demo reels in my time for both myself and colleagues, I’ve been able to refine my technique and help cut the stress of showcasing my best stuff to employers on a demo reel.
The secret is to grade yourself as you go. For every game, I have a line coming in from my mixer to the microphone port on my laptop. My broadcast configuration means that I’m using that signal to send back to the radio station, so I can get double the use out of it by recording a local copy of the game on site. This local audio recording, done through Audacity, is extremely useful as it helps me maintain my audio levels during a game, AND means I can cut highlights extremely easily.
However the real value of a local recording is when it comes time to build a demo reel. Following each game, I file all the audio away into its own folder. This includes the raw recorded audio (the wave sound files), plus any highlights I’ve cut and the produced features/interviews I ran during that game. Once they’re together in a folder, I will label the folder with the date, the opponent and a quick grade.
But what is the grade based on?
It’s purely how I feel after a game. Did I have a good game, or a bad one? Did I start strong and finish weak? What does my gut tell me about the 3 hours I just spent live on air? From here, you can easily go back to games you know you felt great about and listen for great bits of commentary.
It’s not a fool-proof system, as your initial feelings about a game can differ when you listen back to it. I’ve found that some of my A and A+ games weren’t as good as my B+ ones when I listened back. However this system does allow you to easily identify your better material and save you from sifting through some early season garbage while you were shaking off mic-rust from the off season.
Creating a demo reel is an important part of the business, and being able to showcase yourself to employers will help you advance your career. By taking the time through a season to catalogue your audio, you can drastically cut down the time it takes to find your best stuff and help you create more audio for future employers to love.