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Tip #657: The Importance of Creating a Sizzle Reel

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The primary purpose of a sizzle reel is to sell your film.

Sizzle reels are hot!

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This article, written by Tanner Shinnick, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

Typically, a sizzle reel is a three to five minute summation of your story’s main plot points, narrative approach, direction, and introduction to your main characters. Unlike a stylish, marketing-motivated trailer or demo reel, a sizzle is a cohesive, narrative visual approach that gives your audience an ultra-clear look at what your story is about.

Typically, the audience for a sizzle is a room of decision-makers who can help make your entire story, film, or series come to life. Its larger task is to sell your film, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. However, what it should do is enable you to create the full, ideal version of your project. Much like a musician has demos of their songs before they go to record in the studio, the sizzle is a necessary stepping stone.

Short films can and do consistently serve as sizzles for feature length narrative projects.

Steps to Create Your Own Sizzle

  • Concept
  • Develop, Research, and Write
  • Gather Assets
  • Produce
  • Pitch

Whether you’re producing a series, feature, or documentary, sizzles are an essential component in making that idea a reality.


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