ON GAME AUDIO DEMO REEL SUBMISSION
I've had several conversations with other industry people, including +Zack Quarles
and +Devin Hurd
regarding audio demo reel submissions and I think it may be helpful to debunk some common misconceptions that appear time and time again. Keep in mind that these are not steadfast rules and that some companies may require reels that ignore the standards I will be talking about. Length
Demo reels should be around the 2:00 minute mark. I've had several students over the years submit 5-10 minute reels because it was a class assignment for them. The professor is doing a disservice to the students if the focus is a realistic demo reel. I have a very clear picture at about the 30 second mark on the quality of the reel.Content
Make sure that all of the audio in the reel is yours. Don't ever "mix in" certain sounds or music tracks and then attempt to call them out; it's extremely confusing to know exactly what is original work if bits and pieces are not original. Never slap in a library sample into a reel without at least altering it in some way to make it unique. Chances are high that whoever will be watching the reel will recognize the library samples.Overall
Be yourself. Be bold. Elevate the content beyond the frame. A good reel matches picture to sound in a believable way. A really
good reel is evocative and raises the video content to a place it wasn't before. My favorite sound designer, Michael Caisley, illustrates this well in the video below.
The common direction would be to simply slow down the audio of the balloon impacts (which is fun and shows some sfx chops!) but Michael elevates the reel by adding whimsical urban sounds to the suspense of the balloon hanging in mid air. It's as if the entire city block is caught in the pregnant moment, and we are then allowed a glimpse into a much more rich environment that is populated with an entire world beyond the frame. Furthermore, the gushing waves that crash left and right as the balloon explodes are completely unrealistic, yet they alone evoke the sense of being completely submerged, the sense of boundless water. His sonic choices are buoyant, fresh and whimsical.