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Reel Tips from Advertising Agency Producers

Posted By: Heather Prather on July 29, 2015

Showreel Tips

So that reel you’ve been working on is finally good to go. Awesome!

But, wouldn’t it be even more awesome to know before you hit send if you’ve curated the right spots, selected the appropriate placement and dialed in all of the fine details perfectly? Yep we think so too, so we made a few calls to some of the country’s top agencies for a little Q&A time…

But before we spill the beans, it’s important to note that the key takeaway from all of this is that when sending a reel to a given agency, producers are pretty specific about what makes a reel rise to the top…or sink like a stone. There were some consistencies across agencies and a few unique tidbits.

From title tips to resolution preferences, here’s what four of the industry’s top producers are looking for from your next reel presentation:


Chandler Simms
Creative Content Producer

Simple titles grab my attention first. I live in “30-Second Land” so I like to see reels with 4-5, focused, 30-second 960x540 spots and occasionally a couple of longer, 5-minute short-films as well. This enables me to determine range. If the reel pitches multiple directors for the same job, being able to receive a packaged reel is always optimal.

Digitas LBi

Greg Lederer
VP/Dir/Executive Producer
Digitas LBi

Sure title length matters, but relevancy is key. I don’t need to see more than about 5-6 spots if the reel is relevant plus creatives are usually pretty busy, so it’s nice when the reels are short (3-4 minutes max), highly focused and to the point.

When I receive reels from reps/EPs, receiving a single email with all of the links is best for easy reference later. As far as video size is concerned, I do like best quality. While I realize that wireless speeds impact real time viewing, if the spot doesn’t look good, that reel simply won’t stand out. Always err on the side of quality.


Lauren Bauder
Integrated Producer

Short and sweet titles and 5-8 spots (Avg. length: 15-30 seconds/1280x720) is what we expect and prefer from most reels. Relevancy is always important if we know exactly what we are looking for, but it really does depend on how much we know about the job upfront. For instance, I just started a project for which we didn't have a particular type of director in mind, so we just casted a wide net. The theory behind doing this was to see as many spots on a reel as possible in order to determine general experience to date for work.

When receiving a multi-director pitch, I personally prefer separate links. It’s just easier to keep them separate when sending to people on our team.

Bonfire Labs

Chris Weldon
Head of Creative Strategy and Development
Bonfire Labs

When a new reel comes in, those with short, sweet, hard-hitting titles that are relevant to the content of the reel itself, really grab our attention. Three to five well chosen, 960x540 or preferably 720p spots per reel really gives us a true picture of the work while keeping things moving by eliminating the need to sit for an hour, sifting through numerous options. If I am honest, it’s really the first two spots in the reel where a strong opinion is developed.

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