Resume reel question

I'm currently working in market an upper 80's and have been for four years. I'm looking to move on, ideally to a top 25 market, but as long as I'm nearer to home in Maryland I'll be happy. I've been shooting for nine years, 2 of which covered DC (was not network though). The biggest problem I'm encountering with my reel is that I don't have any hard news. Our market is very soft and focuses a lot on politics. It's somewhat of a sleepy town and I'm getting bored. So my question is, will that matter when sending out my tape? I realize that bigger markets will have a larger focus on hard and breaking news and I know I'm capable of covering it, I just don't have the proof.
Any advice is much appreciated.


Well-known member
I'd say do the best with what you have. Ideally, you'd have a wide mix of stories on your reel, but I wouldn't put a mediocre spot news story on it just for the sake of having one. You can mention the reasons for a lack of spot news in your cover letter. If the rest of your stories are good enough, it shouldn't be a huge problem.
With that said, can you try to do some spot news stories on your own? Grab a scanner and listen to it 24/7, and go cover anything vaguely interesting even if your station doesn't care about it...and if they're ok with you using their gear for that purpose.
We definitely don't have enough gear for that. Also, law enforcement in our area is not media friendly. They typically set up barriers so far back that you can hardly see whatever it is that's going down.
I like my reel, and it's gotten me interviews in the past, I just don't want it to be a roadblock as well.

Latin Lens

Well-known member
Honestly its the display of skill on your tape that helps get you jobs rather than the TYPE of story it is. While its nice to have a variety to showcase your skills...most chiefs can understand your personal predicament with the lack of hard news. Whatever you have on your tape should be able to showcase what you can deliver in any scenario and the art of the interview is being able to talk about yourself and how you can and could help their news operation. If you have a passion or a desire to cover more hard news than talk about that during the interview process. How you want to get in there and get your hands dirty with those types of stories. It could lead to insight about the station and their philosophy and the more information you have the better to make a decision if its the place for you. Showcase your skills on your tape...showcase yourself in the interview. Desires, aspirations...etc. Good luck.

Latin Lens

Well-known member
Thanks Latin Lens, that's good advice. Last question (for now), is there a time frame I should keep my tape to or under?
Good question....depends. Really. Only because if you have GA stories then your top 3 or 4 should propably be hitting the under ten minute mark. If you are a special projects or in a Investigative unit it'll be longer 15 mins or so. Remember, the chief is NOT going to watch every second of every story. He's going to look for something that catches his/her attention off the top and then shuttle, shuttle, shuttle to see what else might catch their eye. You need to put your best stories that showcase skill...framing, nat sound, sequencing, good video...that sort of thing....not "this is the one grandma likes". Chiefs look at tapes differently then the casual or even hard nose viewer or your family members. Understand that and you'll be getting alot of phone calls. Work on these skills in your daily stories to allow that to take place too. If you don't have it now...take a chance, you'll never know you could get lucky. But if you have this skillset jobs are easier to come by when they are hiring.


Well-known member
And don't forget to have a second tape ready as well...if someone likes your reel, they'll most likely ask to see some more stories. Better to have that ready, instead of scrambling to find stuff.

Chicago Dog

Well-known member
And don't forget to have a second tape ready as well...if someone likes your reel, they'll most likely ask to see some more stories.
While that's true, it doesn't necessarily mean they're looking for another "best of" tape. A lot of hiring managers who ask to see a second tape will ask you to show them your most recent work. They're checking up on your consistency. They wouldn't waste time asking for a second tape if they weren't already interested. The only reason you should be worried is if you lack consistency (in which case, work on it).

A word of warning: a hiring manager can just pull up your station's website and check dates on stories, so don't try to get sneaky. If you don't have a lot of choice in the matter, be up-front about it. Include a brief explanation as to why you're sending two packages that are four days apart.


Lots of good advice here.

Five or six well shot stories are plenty for any tape.

Yes, have another tape with fresh material on it should you land a second interview.

As CD mentioned...consistency, not necessarily subject matter are what stands out in a second tape. I wouldn't fret too much if you don't have strong spot news from your current market. Frankly, I don't believe spot news is always about well composed shots as it is about capturing compelling reality when it happens.

Make sure to have examples that show you know how to use a few lights to their best advantage. Even if you don't have the best in light kits, show them what you can do under deadline.

When it comes to your tape, leave them wanting more without being disappointed in what they've already seen. Less is more if you have the bases covered!