Warning: “Creating A Sizzle Reel” Is Hurting Your Career

When it comes to raising money for a film, many filmmakers create a sizzle reel, trailer, or a few scenes of their movie to help get the attention of Hollywood heavyweights or prospective investors. And this makes sense. Film is a visual medium, so why not show something?

Don’t get me wrong. If your goal is to make a great short film, that’s a different story. Sometimes I have seen short films that are so fantastic that I want to work with the filmmaker. But when it comes to creating a sizzle reel or trailer to represent your future film project, you may not have access to the level of talent and equipment that would do your film justice… And this creates additional challenges.

Should You Shoot A Sizzle Reel Or A Trailer?
Should You Shoot A Sizzle Reel Or A Trailer?

The Problem with Shooting Sizzle Reels

Out of all the trailers and sizzles I’ve seen (for films yet to be shot), I would say ninety percent of the time, I lost interest in the film. And I’m not saying this to be a jerk. Again, think about it. When you have a funded film, you’re able to pay a real film crew. And you’re able to hire a legitimate cast.

At the stage of funding when you don’t have money… You’re trying to shoot something without the cast, crew, or equipment. As a result, odds are good that your sizzle reel will not represent your vision. And it certainly won’t grab the attention of industry executives or prospective investors. The point is, that you never want to get into a situation where you are doing a disservice to your film. Here’s a video with more of an explanation:

I don’t want to discourage you. You may be able to shoot a sizzle and make it look amazing. I can think of one trailer for a film where they had access to incredible visual effects, and after I saw it, I immediately wanted to work with the filmmakers. But that is the exception!

The best route is to go for development financing and then you’ll be able to use that financing to make something that you can use to gain funding!

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Tom Malloy is a film producer, actor, and writer. Over the course of his career, he has raised over twenty-five million dollars to produce, and distribute multiple feature films. If you're ready to "level up" your film producing, make sure to check out Movie Plan Pro. The video training and downloadable film business plan template will provide you with the same tools Malloy uses when approaching prospective film investors.