Updated: Nov 15, 2018
Learning how to make a better audio portfolio might have you scouring other artists websites trying to find similarities between them that stands out. This tutorial will save you the trouble.
If you want to make a better portfolio as a freelancer or as someone looking for an in-house position, this will break down the elements of a good artist portfolio and some tips and tricks too.
Deciding what comes first in your portfolio layout can be a tough choice.
To get your point across and prevent a prospect from bouncing before even getting to know what you do, you need to make things interesting from the start.
A good order of items/sections on a single page would look like:
If you can, keep pages separate. Split it up into pages like “about”, “contact”, “testimonials”, and of course “projects/work” or "portfolio".
Be selective and only show your best work on your portfolio and put a limit on how much you show. It’s not only about presenting your skill and talent but your style and taste.
Keeping it around 5 pieces shows that you know what's good and respects the attention of the potential client. This doesn't mean only have 5 things to show, be prepared to show more.
Your demo reel should consist of only your best work and work related to the job you’re going for. Don’t include work you don’t like doing - you’ll attract projects you won’t want to work on.
Probably the most critical thing you need to do in your demo reel is to keep the best of the best up front and order it from best to not-so-best.
Cut out the bad, you don’t want to turn them off and doubt your capability.
Another important aspect of making a professional demo reel is to keep it short and respect the time of the viewer. A recruiter will often have many, many applications to consider and review.
They may only have 1-2 minutes set aside for each demo. Keep it short!
As a quick recap of what you should do:
If you don’t have any titles to showcase in your portfolio and want to look professional without any previous work, there are a few steps you should follow.
When constructing your portfolio from scratch, you can either take the best of what you've made so far and put it into a single track or do redesigns. A redesign can be replacing the sound effects, soundtrack, or voice over of a production with visuals.
It's important to remember, you're goal shouldn't be to lie about the authenticity of the project. Instead, use this tactic to illustrate how well you can carry out a given objective and to show an employer what they can expect from your capabilities.
Follow a general guide or style to keep it organized and relative to potential projects you want in the future. Handle it as if you are the real sound designer or composer for it.
You also want to keep it isolated to what you did. For example, if you made sound effects, don’t throw in a loud soundtrack or voiceover.
Some very subtle background music/ambiance should be okay. Just don’t distract the listener from your work.
It’s important to point out what you did/didn't do (during the video and specific scene if possible). Make it absolutely clear what you've worked on in the demo and don't be sneaky about it.
And whatever you do, don't forget this…
Don’t redesign something made by the company or team your applying for. This is a big no-no that can come off as disrespectful and ignorant.
To take it a step further, do some research on what the members of the team made (just in case they did something you’re redesigning).
Even if you’re absolutely amazing at what you do, it can be an extremely risky move.
After you get an actual project finished, replace your original reel with it if you have the rights to do so.
To recap in a short list:
I hope you enjoyed this one and got something useful out of it. Share this on social if you did! As always, thanks for reading.