We asked Sim Higginson, our Senior Creative a few questions on how to creatively approach a showreel.
Why was it the right time for Clockwise to cut a new showreel?
We recently rewrote our company handbook and re-considered our own brand’s vision and mission statement. At the heart of it was a thirst to be authentic storytellers that connect brands with subcultures – it’s what we do best. The last few years have been somewhat strange for a lot of film production companies. During the pandemic, showreel-style filming opportunities were rare, but since the world has opened up again, the priority has been to be back out on shoot. We felt that enough time had passed since our last showreel and more importantly, many exciting projects have been released.
What was the aim of the showreel?
Like any project, the key is to set yourself a brief and cutting a showreel is no different. The aim of the showreel was to stand alone without any additional blurb and give the viewer a clear understanding of who Clockwise is and what we can offer. If you can’t stamp your brand identity on your film, how can clients expect you to amplify their message? To emphasise the storytelling aspect of Clockwise, we were keen for the film to showcase whose story you were hearing. The graphics intend to help map out the Clockwise vision and mission statement and approach to work.
how can you avoid a creative block?
The key to cutting a new showreel is a media management process which you have in place beforehand to access the best footage easily. For us, it was essential to access the native quotes from interviews and actuality and from the exports. Featuring spoken content gives a taste of the projects we have worked on and subtly acts as a stand-alone film with its own beginning, middle and end.
What I find more important than all of the above is a tune. If you are not stoked on the tune it becomes a much harder task. Once you commit to that, the entire film becomes easier to visualize and that’s when the fun can begin.
what do you look to include or even avoid in showreels?
My personal pet hate is when you see a succession of shots of interview setups but can’t hear what they are saying. I don’t know why but it just bugs me. I also think variety is key. We have shot a lot of large-scale music events but 2 minutes of wide crowd shots would start to drag. I try to never re-visit a film twice in the showreel. Once the best shots have been selected from a film I think it’s good to move on in the edit.
What advice would you give to someone cutting their first showreel?
For a young filmmaker, it is effectively your CV. When we receive an email asking for work, it’s very natural for the showreel to be the first thing to look at. Less is more in terms of running time, so we decided that a maximum running time of two minutes would be ideal. For anyone about to undertake this task, it’s worth having good media management, so the showreel can be constantly updated. We are approaching the film as an evolving piece, rather than a signed-off project so it feels fresh and showcases our latest work.