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Well Intended / Reel life: Lights, camera, sizzle!

Updated 11:30 am, Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Until yesterday, I am fairly certain that I had never heard of a sizzle reel. However, between my cup of morning coffee and getting the kids from school, three separate clients called me asking for help with a sizzle reel. Something was up.

What is a sizzle reel?

I Googled "sizzle reels" and found examples ranging from sports commentators to motivational speakers. They had all edited their three minutes of energetic footage to represent who they are, what they believe in, and how they can help solve a problem. These mini movies are intended to inspire and educate.

I work with experts, speakers and trainers to help them refine their message and develop content and products that serve their customers. Granted, they are an energetic lot and we are always seeking new ways to share their messages. But three sizzle reels in one day meant something. The first step (for me) was clarifying what they had in mind. In one case, the client wanted to film a short video, focused on his face, in which he tells the story of his mission. The other two proposed collecting clips from prior speaking engagements and from launch and training videos to create video collages of the past year. They wanted their audience to be able to quickly understand who they are, what they believe and how they can help.

By the third sizzle reel request yesterday, my caffeine had worn off and I have to admit, I giggled when she asked. Life comprises patterns, but this was getting ridiculous.

After I agreed to help with all three projects, I began to daydream. What would my own sizzle reel look like? Would it be a video collage of me sitting at my desk alternating swirling around in my chair, staring out the window and gazing at my computer screen? Would we add a few seconds of my steady pacing around the house and talking into the phone while wearing shearling slippers because I've learned that the kalumping of my shoes is not professional and somehow in my mind, slippers are more work-at-home courteous? We could edit in a montage of household errands and dog walking. Maybe I could add some animated thought balloons, so at least it was clear that something was happening, if only in my own head.

I am deeply engaged in my life, but it would hardly be thrilling on film. Maybe I should do something about that.

Perhaps, we should all create and share sizzle reels!

Speaking directly into the camera, we could declare who we are and why we are here. We could promise to help in the way that only we could. We could swear to do our best at whatever it is that we are inspired to do. We might even consider dramatic lighting and a driving sound track. Or we could go the video-collage route and choose our best moments and edit them into a story that reveals the truth about our desires, values and what we want to accomplish.

Krista Richards Mann is a Westport writer, and her "Well Intended" column appears every other Friday. She can be reached at kristarichardsmann@gmail.com.