[Feature photo: Christopher Griner]

Demo reels are the filmmaker’s portfolio. Clients look at them and decide if you’re someone they want to work with.

As a filmmaker, I like to keep an eye out for demos, too. I use them for ideas and inspiration. And if I see one that I love, sometimes I reach out to say hello (even if it seems they are so ridiculously good that they would never even give me the time of day). You’d be amazed at how happy filmmakers are that you noticed their work. And, as the last demo here illustrates, making connections can equate directly into having a kick-ass time filming with other people.

Here are four demo reels that will make you grab your camera and head out the door.

Anson Fogel, Forge Motion Pictures / Camp 4 Collective

Anson Fogel started Forge Motion Pictures as an advertising film studio, and has created some of the most cinematically beautiful ads to air on TV or the internet. Say what you will about advertising, but the benchmark for quality film is solidly in telling the story of a brand. Their pockets are deep enough to fund it.

Justin Weiler

Justin Weiler was one of my first inspirations to make travel films. He’s been everywhere, and done everything from hosted his own travel show to filming doctors volunteering in remote hospitals in Africa.

Bryan Smith

A few years ago Bryan Smith was the go-to guy for filming anything with a paddle. He has since branched out into a little of everything, but his adventure roots are visible in almost everything he shoots.

Camp 4 Collective

This isn’t exactly a demo, but the behind-the-scenes shots alone get me fired up. Seeing how the shot is done is killer inspiration.