marlonjohn: If it's anything like songwriting, we definitely need a demo reel, but I'm sure there's some tips that others have learned by experience that would be very valuable. Pixar's website has some good advice for putting together a demo as does other sites but getting our demos to stand out from the rest is another thing.
For songwriting, who you know and how you present your material are usually what get your foot in the door (not just the material). Then it's your talent that keeps you there. Many singers/songwriters starve because they wait to get noticed or they're not aggresive and knowledgeable enough.
For example, I've learned that if I submit a demo reel for modeling and I add music that the listener doesn't like, they might hit eject before seeing any of my work. I plan on learning everything about "getting in". I guess, if you think about it, there really isn't any "secrets", but just knowing all the facts. As I learn them, I'll pass the info onto you.
Don't be satisfied with what you can do but rather strive to do the things you can't do!