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How to make your CV and Showreel stand out in a COVID Secure Media Industry

In recent weeks, we’ve been given more opportunity to socialise and collaborate with one another as the lockdown policies are slowly mitigated and things are gradually returning to what seems to be a normal, but reformed, way of life. So we at TCC are thinking of ways we can all ready ourselves for the new world ahead and be prepared for humanity’s great return! Whilst the pandemic may have left indefinite change to our society, and the media industry, there is light at the end of the tunnel for clients and freelancers, and the TCC team are here to help you brush up your CV and Showreel ready for your way out on the other side.

We have already been booking more freelancers in recent weeks and hearing of ways that our Clients are adapting to the current climate which is really promising! More clients are now able to accommodate remote work, and with the easing of lockdown measures and the implementation of COVID-19 guidance even the work that cannot be done remotely is springing back into life.


Has filming and production returned to normal in the UK?

Well, not entirely – but with the green light to continue work on productions, new COVID-19 training and shooting guidelines to make coming back to work as safe as possible, the wheels are certainly in motion. We are hearing more and more of Coronavirus certified supervisors on site, staff being provided with Coronavirus training, temperature testing on set, and much more. In fact, if you haven’t yet seen it, Screenskills are offering a brilliant online training course that will give you basic training in these new guidelines…you even get a certificate for passing!

We have been thinking a lot about our freelancers during this time, and want to help as many of you as possible over the coming months! So what is it you need to do right now to keep ahead of the herd, use this time wisely and be fully prepared to get back out there? One easy step — ensure your portfolio (CV, credit list & showreel) is up to date and effective!

Below are some tips to keep your CV short, sweet and to the point.

CV LENGTH – Keep it to 2 pages max! We know that’s hard when you have lots of wonderful experience, but be selective about what you put on your CV. If you have credits coming out of your ears, you may want to consider having a number of CV’s – one for short form, and one for long form for example. You can always have a full credit list on standby to send to a Client if they are asking to see more.
KEEP YOUR CREDITS RELEVANT – Use your full credit list to swap relevant credits in and out of your CV, depending on the project you are applying for.
THE CREDIT LIST – Make sure you have your credits listed on the CV in a simple format with the production company name, brand/client name, project name and a brief sentence explaining your duties on the project. Don’t forget to state key attributes you used such as 2D animation, underwater filming, tracking etc. See our sample Credit List here.
JOB TITLE – Be clear what your job title is on your CV, preferably somewhere near the top of your CV, and next to your name.
SOFTWARE/KIT LIST – List ALL of the kit & software you can use even if you only have basic knowledge of it. Sometimes clients will need you to have expert knowledge with one type of software/kit but may see another listed on your CV that could improve the project significantly.
PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT – State your permanent employment history within TV & Media in a brief and easy to read manner. Try to stay away from words like ‘I was’ or ‘During my time’ — make it a mission statement.
EMPLOYMENT HISTORY – Cut out any employment history before your time in TV & Media. Whilst it is recommended to state your previous employment when trying to secure a permanent position, it isn’t that important when approaching freelance roles as the client is only interested in your time spent in their industry.
IMAGES – Steer away from using imagery, leave that for the showreel/portfolio. Images can make your CV too dense and sometimes clients’ software may display your CV differently from how you saved it, and it could come out looking a little jumbled.
COVID-19 – Taking into account the current climate, a great idea would be to tailor your CV detailing how your skillset/kit can make it easier for the client to work within the social distancing guidelines, whether it be detailing any Covid-19 certifications/training, remote set-ups or anything else you think may be useful to the client!
EXTRA TIPS – Try not to give any false information on your CV, whilst it might be tempting to cover up a gap in employment or falsify your skillset to get a role with more responsibility, if the client becomes aware of this they could lose trust in you as a freelancer.

Now we’ve got a decent idea of how to write an effective CV, let’s move on to what will really put you a step above the rest… The showreel!

See below for some pointers on making an effective reel.

LENGTH OF REEL – Make sure it isn’t too long, 1:30 – 2:00 is the perfect length for a good Showreel.
VARY THE CONTENT – Try not to recycle the same project continuously throughout the reel, the clients like to see variation in your work.
MUSIC – Ensure the soundtrack you are using is diegetic and fits well with the reel. You might need to be careful about what music you use on your reel too, as sites such as Vimeo monitor music rights very carefully, so you might be better off choosing royalty free music, or getting proof of the rights to the music to be on the safe side!
WHAT IS IT? – With each clip, it is effective to state the project name/client and your title whilst working on the project — clients love this!

For more detailed guidance on creating a showreel – why not check out our earlier Blog post on Top Tips for Creating a Showreel.

Make sure to update your CV and Showreel regularly!

You may have worked on a project recently that we think may give you more opportunities, so it is essential you try and keep your portfolio up to date as and when you can to ensure you get exposure to more work.

We strongly suggest if you’re freelancing and are often applying for different roles i.e. you are a Camera Op and an Editor, that you create 3 separate CV’s — A Camera Op CV, an Editor CV and a combined CV. It can also be beneficial to have separate showreels! Take care of your CV, ensure you are topping it up with fresh new credits and removing any outdated ones — try to keep on top of it!

Simplicity is key when it comes to your CV and showreel. Clients are usually in desperate need of a freelancer to help ease their burden whilst being under pressure to get the project completed, so when the client is trying to scan through a CV that is overloaded with information, make sure your key attributes vital to their project aren’t overlooked.

We hope all of this has been helpful to you, if you have any questions do feel free to get in touch with us! The team are hoping the return to normality continues to keep on building over the coming months — after all, the show must go on!