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It’s Upfront Season.

It’s Pilot Season.

It’s Wabbit Season!

Okay it’s not “wabbit season” but this time of year does feel very looney tune-y with everyone frantically on the hunt for the most sizzling sizzle reel out there.

I’ve been making sizzle reels for decades now but each year there is a new “WOW” factor that has to be reinvented or dreamt up. No matter the trend du jour, there are some must-have mandatories that remain timeless in order to make a great sizzle reel and draw in your audience.


There is a very big difference between hiring a great editor and a knowledgeable producer versus the hybrid preditor (which sounds violent but is actually a combo producer / editor). Assigning two individuals to a project obviously costs more money but results in higher production quality and value. A preditor is less expensive but may be slightly off target or not be as fine-tuned as you had originally dreamt.

A seasoned editor will have the experience to guide what footage or graphics are most on target for your brand’s goals. If they are a great editor, they are in the editing room and not the 60 min marketing task force meeting. Having the editor who is not a seasoned marketer or producer in that meeting is not a good use of their time. They should be sifting through footage with the brief that the producer has given them so they can devote all of their attention to finding the most powerful and not-so-obiovous visuals.

When budget takes precedence, a preditor can do the job of two people and there is less red tape when one person is touching or approving the project, however it’s easier to miss the mark when one person is covering two completely different expertises. In general, I caution away from using preditors when possible.

The difference can cost your sizzle reel its ultimate goal of whetting the appetite of your audience and potential decision makers.


Your company has its own magical uniqueness to it. When you think about the content you’ll feature in your sizzle reel, consider how you can maintain continuity using an appropriate editing style and motion graphic design as a way to communicate your brand. This will make it possible to resonate with your audience through multiple mediums.

What happens if you task your preditor to also be your motion graphics designer? Now you’ve got three people in one chair. There is a reason why the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” was invented. If your graphics do not tie immediately back to your brand’s essence, mission, tone and stand-out qualities, then your sizzle will be less memorable and, therefore, less effective.

Speaking of less effective, there’s always the challenge of featuring marketing bullet points as part of the sales process. I personally do not love text on screen and putting key words over video, but I understand the pressures and direction our clients are receiving to make sure key messaging is front and center.

An expert in motion design is able to provide creative solutions so that the promotional language is obvious but in a way that does not compromise the integrity of the design or become distracting.

This way we can both sleep better at night.


If you have them captive in a huge theatrical presentation, a 1 min sizzle reel is acceptable. If you are sharing the sizzle reel as part of a much bigger presentation, consider adjusting the length to meet the need.

The goal is to entertain and inform. Attention spans are short and once people “get it”, they switch off. Know your audience and adjust the length to suit your needs and their state of mind.


It’s a no brainer that design is an integral necessity to point back to your brand. New and fresh graphics are needed each and every year. Recycling older materials will give off the vibe that it was an afterthought or not uniquely important.

Have you presented your audience with a similar video but with slightly new text or colors? Think about what that says about your brand. Unless you are selling a second-hand thrift store, update your graphics library with today’s trends in colors, animation styles and aesthetics.

The goal of the sizzle reel is to sweep everyone off their feet in seconds leaving their head swirling with excitement and understanding about how you will super-serve their needs.

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+MERGE CREATIVE MEDIA is a forward-dreaming design shop with a sky’s-the-limit spirit serving broadcast, feature film, and health & wellness industries. Let’s connect over how we can deliver the most compelling narrative on budget and on time.



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