By: Nicole Sellars
Founder: Trend E News Media, LLC
So, you consider yourself somewhat of an expert. You have a medical degree, follow all the fashion blogs religiously, obsess over technology news, and always keep up with the latest health breakthroughs. You get the idea. Now you may be thinking to yourself, I could certainly be one of those experts on TV! A contributor with credibility and personality of course!
But before you start calling talent agencies, you need a demo reel! A roughly 5 minute highlight video of yourself performing in a variety of situations. Best to stick with your niche so you establish yourself as the expert, but be sure to show different sides of yourself, and personality.
For example, if you’re a physician and want to pursue becoming a medical contributor for a news program or daytime talk show like “The Dr.’s”, you need to show the producers and talent agents your skills. How do you do this? A demo reel!
A demo reel should run about 5 minutes and include at least 8-10 different clips. Demonstrating your expertise, personality, comfortability in front of the camera and so on. A few clips can include you, the expert, being interviewed and answering a medical question, talking to the camera about the latest health breakthrough, interacting with a patient and discussing their latest successful treatment. There are a ton of creative ways to prove you are the best expert for the job! On tape, not just your resume. Unfortunately, your resume alone isn’t going to lock you into TV gigs.
Here are a few tips for experts looking to land a spot on TV.
#1.) Begin your demo with a ‘SLATE’. This includes your name, title and contact information. A music bed is OK to use under the slate to add some edge.
#2.) It’s a nice touch to include a MONTAGE after your opening SLATE. The montage should be about 10-15 seconds in length and include short, energetic, fast paced clips showing off your personality. Best to choose clips that are consistently moving and creative rather than shots of you standing still. These are typically short clips that foreshadow what your viewer will see in the next few minutes of your reel.
#3) All video clips should typically be around 20 seconds each. Be creative, conversational and energetic.
#4.) ANCHOR READS: An anchor read is recommended for a demo reel. You can be sitting at a desk or standing in a studio set-up. This demonstrates that you are capable of reading a teleprompter or going off the cuff and comfortable in front of the camera.
#5.) STAND-UPS: The sky is the limit. Two part stand-ups and demonstration stand-ups are good options. It’s always better to SHOW what you’re talking about as opposed to standing still. For example, show HOW this new medical breakthrough drug works.
#6.) ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEWS: A one-on-one shows your ability to either conduct an interview or answer the tough questions as an expert.
#7.) MOS (Man on the Street). These interviews are quick and punchy, and yes, typically on the street. Good exchanges show your ability to encourage the “Average Joe” to talk and share an opinion.
#8.) A NEWS PACKAGE: A full news package (typically around a minute and a half) will show your creativity and writing abilities. This can be a story of your choice. A standard news package includes TRACKS (narration), SOT’s (sound on tape) and sometimes NAT SOUND (natural sound). I suggest taking a basic news writing class to enhance your skills and learn how to write a package properly.
If you don’t have any material on tape, you can hire a professional production company to shoot this for you. Prices range from hundreds to thousands depending on the quality you are looking for.