There was a time when you didn’t need one, but in today’s work of multimedia, well, you got to have one. We have camera’s on our phones, so at least it doesn’t have to be impossible, but it may not be high quality. These are vital, not just for actors, but for singers as well. I’ve had so many people give me work, just based on my singing showreel. If you are one of those actors like me who can do both, than have both, don’t just put them into one reel – have 2!
How do you get that elusive showreel?
There are lots of ways to do this, but the 1st thing I’ll say, is it’s gonna take a bit of time and effort, but it’s worth it!
- students films – find any local film schools and get yourself in touch with them, so you can do some short films or even features with the strong and strict proviso that the student will give you a copy and ask by when! So you can get onto them if they don’t get it to you by their due date. Best situation for this is when it’s an assignment, so they have to get it in as part of their school work, then you know there’s more incentive to get it in on time.
- DIY – do your own, this is really great, if you are needing a specific type you need to add to your reel, you get to know people in your local area who have the equipment and either to swap of skills or agree some sort of terms as to why your team is willing to do it for nothing or next to nothing, so that it’s all up front and not some people are getting paid and others aren’t. Often, I get people on board who are like me and wanting to get experience or need new material for their showreel, so we get together to bring the project together – I’ve got 1 in the pipe line right now
- film your work – if you are doing a live show, film it, once again, see if you can get the cast on board, as their maybe others who need material and this is a way to not only help yourself, but others. This isn’t always the best material, as what looks good on stage, doesn’t look great on film, but it’s better than nadda.
Once you have your material, then there’s the edit. I’ve found things like Windows Movie Maker works fine to create and cut my own showreel. It’s not as professional, as a professional, but if you need something sooner rather than later, then this is a great foot forward.
Often you have to self submit, so using the camera on your phone is ideal and learning how to send short films over the internet is also something to get a grasp of. I had to self submit to something while on holiday in Holland and I’m pleased to say, I got the job, so it’s worth getting your head around simple editing. It can make a huge difference and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Time and time again I hear from casting people and agents, they can see you act, that’s all they care about, is that they can see that. They are willing to look past a poorly shot piece, just make sure they can hear you and see you well enough to be able to actually see you act!
It really is an essential tool, so get started ASAP at finding the opportunities to get those samples. The showreel itself doesn’t need to be long, somewhere between 1 to 3 minutes is enough. It quite a short time, you could have something and be that step closer to finding an agent or your next acting job.