If you’re ready to create your acting showreel, you want to make sure that you’re doing everything right. Here are five of our top tips for making a showreel that will show you off in the best possible way.
1. Keep it short
You are not making a feature film here. Your showreel will be among hundreds of others that casting directors look at, so give yourself a bigger chance by showing the best of your acting as soon as possible. Your showreel should be no longer than three minutes long, and would be better if it was shorter than two.
2. Keep it focused
Your showreel is to show what YOU can do. If you’re using a clip JUST because it includes someone famous, but you have only one word of dialogue, get rid of it. Whilst you DO want to show other people in the scene, so that casting directors can see how you act with others, make sure that YOU have some dialogue and can be seen, too! Similarly, if you have a long scene or a small part in a short movie, make sure you cut it so that you are immediately showing yourself. A casting director or agent doesn’t want to see the full story, they just want to see what you do with your character arc.
3. Act with someone
A showreel is not the place for a monologue. About 99.9% of the work you will be hired for will involve you acting alongside at least one other person, and there will be very few monologues in real life acting jobs. So why would you show off a skill that you’re likely to use 0.1% of the time or less? Casting directors will be looking for how you interact with other actors in the scene. After all, remember: ‘acting is reacting’.
4. Be confident
Acting is all about being confident – time and time again you have to put yourself out there and be at your most vulnerable. Your showreel performance, of course, has to be confident, and you can help this by picking the right types of characters and making some important decisions. Don’t play a character that you’re uncomfortable with just because you think you should. And, if you want to show off an accent or another useful skill, then make sure you’re confident with that. There’s nothing more off-putting than hearing an actor try to stumble through the lines in an accent they’re not 100% comfortable with.
5. Embrace typecasting
Before you close the browser, here me out… Many actors want to move away from typecasting, but chances are that, by doing this, you’ll make life more difficult for yourself. The first thing a casting director is likely to do is look at your headshot and make an immediate judgement as to whether you look right for the part. If they think you look right for a certain type of role but don’t see you portraying that in your showreel, they’re going to move on to the next person. So, whilst you want to show a range of acting styles and scenarios, you also want to be honest about the roles you’re likely to be cast in.
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