Some film and TV producers like to make pitch videos, sizzle reels and proof of concept videos when they are pitching project ideas ,trying to raise finance or just trying convince VOD platforms and Broadcasters to fund or buy their projects. This is a a big and important step in the pitching process. Making the right sizzle reel to paint the perfect picture is an art form.
I’ve had an opportunity to work on a variety of sizzle reels with various clients and I’ve noticed the more effort put into a sizzle reel the better.When producers do this, they stand a chance to communicate their vision to their clients clearly and effectively.One time I worked on a sizzle reel for 6 whole days, this was clearly a very important project for my client. But if you are young producer with a limited budget you might not be able to hire a video editor to craft your perfect trailer or sizzle reel for 6 days, so that’s why i decided to write this article to share some tips to help you along the way, so that you can make a bad ass sizzle reel whether you are working with a video editor or you are cutting the reel yourself.
How to create a sizzle reel
First before you create a sizzle you need to write a video script of your idea.A video script helps you paint a clear pitcture of the sizzle reel for you, this is usually done in the TV promo industry, this paints a picture of what the audience will hear and see, video scripts are usually split into two sections , with one side representing the audio and the other showcasing the visuals.
Here is a rough video script for a fictional sports TV show sizzle reel
As you can see the script showcases the tone and the feel of the tv project.
The section on the right showcases what the voice over will sound like and the section of the left showcases the style of visuals that the sizzle reel will have.
The GFX abbreviation, showcases what the full screen graphics animation will be .
Having a script like this will help you build the sizzle before you have shot anything or spoken to any Video editor or Animator.
This script is obviously a generic script , but it is written in a specific tone, you can almost imagine how the tone of this sizzle reel will be, it will be big, epic and high energy judging from the voice over.
Use The Highest Quality Assets
If you are producer who doesn’t have a big name, high quality content can help you get that meeting or move things forward as this will showcase how much you care about the idea and also showcase your abilities, visuals are very powerful. You can do this by shooting your sizzle reel in crystal clear high definition (HD)or even 4k. If you can’t shoot it and have a tiny budget you can use high quality stock footage from sites like artgid and shutterstock.
Music, Music, Music
Music is one of the most important parts of you sizzle reel, well after the visuals ofcourse. Music will showcase the tone and genre of your project, music can make or break your sizzle reel. So when you use music, make sure you use the best version of music you can find, make sure you even mix your sizzle reel with a proper audio engineer.You can use commercial music as demonstration or high quality Library music.
The are many useful library music sites like UNIPPM, Extreme music, Mamadance and many more.
Finding and working with talent
Sometimes you need to find talent for your TV project and when you need talent, you need to make sure you sign a 1 year option agreement with the talent while you shop your TV show idea to different broadcasters,this prevents the cast from working on any side deals with other producers or production companies.If you have an IP you want to produce, you can also have an option agreement with the rights holder of the book you want to adapt,this will help you protect yourself and cover your bases. And when you are preparing to shoot a proof of concept with talent make sure they look good and make sure to film the characters in their natural enviroment relative to the show.
There are so many types of sizzle reels and i am going to just list a few types
a)The “Rip-o-matic”: This type of sizzle reel is usually created by putting together footage from
existing sources ,like Youtube, stock footage and news clips). Note that doing this without permission from the copyright-holders is technically illegal and exposes you to legal troubles. This kind of sizzle is produced quite often and it is usually 1 to 7 minutes
If you ever produce a sizzle like this make sure this is only for internal and client viewing, never ever post it online and only use it for pitching purposes.
b) “Talent Sizzle”: This type of sizzle reel showcases a particular character in their natural
environment, a day in the life type video. This type of reel would best suited if you are pitching a character centered tv show,documentary or reality show
C) “Independent TV Pilot”: This is a full version of the show This can range from – 5- 60minutes. This type can make or break you , the cons are execs dont really want to watch a 30- 60minute video as they are very busy people, but the pro is that if they do and they like your show, it can sometimes work in your favour.
I hope this article has been helpful, please share this article with someone you think might need it and drop a comment below if you agree or disagree with my points.Peace out.