A Sports & Entertainment Company

Make It Happen Productions: The Sizzle Reel

At Make it Happen Productions, we produce a wide variety of content for a diverse selection of clients. When it comes to development for non-scripted television, a strong sizzle reel is a necessity. Below is a little Q&A with our company’s Executive Producer Billy Frank about what it means and why it’s important to sizzle!

 What is a Sizzle Reel?

Years ago, in order to pitch a show to a network executive, you would get a meeting and sit down in front of them and pitch your idea. Nowadays, with our attention spans being broken down into tweetable blips and catch-me-while-you-can impact visuals, the sizzle reel has become the ideal way to pitch an idea. It is a shorter format, character driven visual synopsis of your idea produced in a way that makes it “sizzle” or in other words, leave a burning, unforgettable impression on that potential buyer, investor or green-lighter.

Where’s your tape?

You will hear this a lot if you have an idea you want to pitch. Tape is an old school term for what is really the sizzle reel.

What should the sizzle reel portray?

Yes, the execs want to understand the full idea of what you’re pitching. But for your sizzle reel, what matters the most is that you deliver character. Buyers respond to character more than anything else. This is why a sizzle reel doesn’t even need to be an over the top production these days. It needs to get the point across and make you feel something for the idea with character driving the piece. We’ve recently been working on an idea with a young African American man named Abraham McDonald who won the $250,000 music challenge and a Def Jam contract on Oprah. This six foot eight crooner comes from the streets and is now intent on going into the schools and rehabilitating children through song. We’ve known all along that his story will easily attract the masses but for our sizzle reel, all we really needed to do was show him in action and allow his passion to translate. Because of this, a sizzle reel may also act as a casting reel.

Any favorite sizzle reels you’ve got that you can show us?

One was a show called The Crew, which we ended up selling to Viacom based on the sizzle reel. They intended to air it on LOGO. You’ll have to actually watch the reel to see what it’s about and why it sizzles!


For more information on sizzle reels, show pitches, or to talk about us putting together one for you, give us a call at 818.981.2327 or email Billy Frank atbfrank@mihp.tv. For more information on MIHP or to get to know us better, check out our website.