The Montage Reel

The montage reel.  Updated every few years by most and rarely by choice.  Something about, “2017 Demo Reel” just does not pack the punch that it used to when sharing with potential clients.  Sure… most of the work is from 2017, but only a handful of die-hard fans will ever know it. The montage reel, in my opinion, is a, “Greatest Hits Album”.  Which led me to a series of questions as we dove into cutting a new reel for a new decade. There are several ways to do it, and I am hardly the authority on the matter, but I have probably watched thousands of reels, (at least the first 10 seconds) in my career and here are some thoughts on the subject that no one asked for.




  1. Does a demo reel even matter anymore?

What is the point of just showing a ton of clips with no context to music that probably annoys most people?  I fought with this one for a while… Most of our potential clients, (and parents) have a hard time wrapping their head around what we actually do in general, even when showing them full spots… so how will a montage convey our ability to create and rig a 3D character tracked into a live-action plate we shot that will change the face of their company and promote sales?  In short, It won’t. What it WILL do is create hype, interest, and a general sense of style.

2. What if I am trying to get a job?

 If you are an artist looking for a job, the reel is a huge indicator of your skillset, aesthetic, and vibe.  It is a glimpse of who you are as an artist and what type of work I should hire you for. Here are the things I look for in a reel.  

  • Make it short.  Keep it under 1 minute of your best work only.  If you are not proud of it, do not show it
  • Put the best stuff first.  I may only watch the first 10 seconds, so the first few shots should be aimed to impress and keep my attention.
  • I love a creative intro, but keep it to 5-10 seconds.  The intro is a great opportunity to showcase your creative chops.  You can do anything you want, so show me the type of stuff that inspires you and things you are good at.
  • Put the same project clips together.  I like having some context to a project without jumping around too much.  Highlight the best parts of a project and move on, but try not to come back to something you already showed me at the beginning.
  • Leave me wanting more.  It should have me looking for your website and forwarding it to my producer.

I have a love/hate relationship with the demo reel.  Although it will never really convey the full spectrum of what we do, it definitely creates interest in finding out more about us.  It is a great exercise in brand focus and finding weird songs. It was fun piecing together this updated reel and I cannot wait to do it again in 3 years.

Curt Cooper

Frost Motion Creative Director

Frost Montage 2020 from Frost Motion on Vimeo.