How to Create a Sample Reel to Promote Your Studio Business
Today, I want to talk to you about business, and hopefully a strategy that will help you to grow your business. If you’re doing this professionally or you’re doing it on the side to make some extra money, if you’re a hobbyist and you would like to transition into maybe finding some clients that are willing to pay you, this could be a huge step in the right direction for you. This works for me, I swear by it, I tell everybody about it that I can to try to help as many people as possible, and I’ve written an article about it.
I’ve got that pulled up on the screen over at theproaudiofiles.com on Grow Your Studio Business, it’s called “How to Attract New Clients to Your Studio,” I would encourage you to go read this, but I want to scroll down. The part that I’m going to talk about today and show you in Pro Tools is how I share my work and I create an mp3 of my latest samples.
I do this about every quarter throughout the year. Every couple of months, I’m going to pull open a Pro Tools session, I’m going to drag in my latest samples and latest mixes, the work that I’ve done, and I’m going to kind of balance the levels, do a quick little mastering session, fade them in and out. If you guys have seen those infomercials on TV where they’re promoting an album, you’ve got the credits that kind of scroll throughout the screen. That’s exactly what I’m creating is the audio from that.
I actually did one recently where – if you go to themixacademy.com, you can check this out. I have a video, and if you click that video, I prepared a sample for promoting the site exactly the same way that I’m telling you in this article how to prepare it.
So go check that out, themixacademy.com. Cool stuff there. A little shameless plug.
Well, this is that session. In Pro Tools, I would go and I would drag songs in so that they each have their own track. You’ll see that there’s some processing on some of these tracks. One track I just did some processing because as I listened to it, I felt like it was a little muddy, so I threw the VMR on there. A little shout out for the Slate plug that was just released.
You can see I’ve just faded in and out of multiple samples. This one’s a little bit longer because it’s for that video. I recommend keeping your sample reel to about 4 or 5 songs and be genre specific.
So if you want to gain a bunch of hip hop work, then throw your hip hop samples in, and go find hip hop artists. If you’re working to find maybe some country artists, by all means, take just the country samples. I work a lot in the Gospel and CCM world, and there’s a lot of cross genre work going on, so one artist in the Pop/Hip Hop/R&B world, they may also have some folk stuff, so for me, I take those samples and I market to that niche.
You want to be specific on who you’re trying to reach. You want to pull those samples in, fade them in and out of each other. What I was trying to say there was you want to keep it to about 30-45 seconds, so don’t be afraid to fade in and tease them for 5 seconds on one song, fade it out, maybe 5 or 6 of the next, 10 seconds of the next. Try to keep it short and sweet, because people don’t have a lot of time, and our attention spans are a lot less than what we give ourselves credit for, so you want to really capture them with your most impactful stuff first. Don’t be afraid to include a ballad or whatever, but make sure it’s not the first thing you hear, unless you’re marketing to people who are doing a lot of ballads. That would be a good idea.
So I’m going to hit play to let you guys hear a little bit of what I’ve done in this particular one, and then you can see pretty much what’s going on.
[sample reel plays]
Okay, and I’m going to stop it there, because I want to talk about individual processing so that they sound – I dunno mastered is the right way to say it, but you want them to sound good transitioning in and out of each other.
Some genres by themselves are going to be maybe darker than others, or wider than others, or more low-end, and that kind of stuff, and with this sample reel, you’re really putting yourself on the spot here, and you’ve got to be careful not to let one song out-perform another too much. And so, for me, if I bypass VMR, I’ll open up and show you what I did, I used a free plug-in, but coming out of this song, listen to what this sounds like without my processing here, and without the limiter on.
Okay. So, noticing the difference, the transition there, this song is one that I actually didn’t master. It went to a mastering engineer with the rest of the record. It was mixed by myself and a few other guys. So what I did is I pulled in a maximizer for this song, set it to a certain setting just to kind of hit it a little harder, and then I’ve got a mastered – not a mastered, but a limiter on the overall big picture just so that if anything was going a little bit above, that it kind of hits it and keeps kind of a consistent level. Nothing really too much going on with that.
But then VMR, I felt like Chosen was a little bit too beefy, a little bit too much low-end. It’s kind of muddy, so I’m going to show you now that we’ve got that limiter on to help that one be a little louder, we’ll adjust the volume there. You could use clip-gain as well, that’s a cool tool.
But let’s hear it, and then I’ll pull VMR in.
[sample reel plays]
And here it is in.
So now it’s a little more comparable.
[sample reel plays]
And we accomplished kind of a meet-in-the-middle view of between those two songs, the next song, the same thing.
So anyways, just a little insight to how I’m pulling these tracks in, fading in and out of some spots that I really like of the songs, and then using that to attach to my message. Once again, check out theproaudiofiles.com, “How to Attract New Clients to Your Studio,” “grow-your-studio-business” is the link, you can check that out up there.
Pretty much the basics of it is I’m going to places like Reverb Nation, Facebook groups, anywhere where there’s bands and artists, I’m going hunting for the guys that I want to work with, and I’m sending a message to them, introducing myself, who I am, what I do, and including an mp3. Some people see it as spamming, that’s fine. It’s not for everybody, but I definitely noticed that whenever I include a sample reel like this, there’s a better return on the investment of my time.
You want to take it one step further, go hire yourself someone to copy and paste this e-mail, find a list of bands, make a list of guys that you really dig, you like their music, and then have someone else do it for you could be a cool way to market to the masses, and then when people respond, do that personally.
All kinds of ways, I hope that helps you think a little bit outside of the box. Get your best work, your most recent work. There’s a saying that you’re only as good as your latest project, so make sure you do this frequently. Every couple of months, go on, drag your best samples, we’re always getting better anyways, you guys know that. Take your latest work, put it out there. Hopefully you’re going to find some new clients. I hope that this helps you.
Davidglennrecording.com, themixacademy.com, like, subscribe, feel free to e-mail us with any tutorial ideas, and then of course, theproaudiofiles.com, all the incredible content over there.
So we’ll see you in the next video!