How to Get an Acting Reel
An acting reel or "demo" is a really important tool if you want to work as a film actor. Many agents and managers want to see a demo reel before they meet you. An actor reel is also handy if you live in New York, for example, and want to be considered for an acting job being cast in LA. Plus, now that many casting websites let actors upload their reels, casting directors use them more and more to pre-read candidates.
Here you'll find step by step guidance on how to build a professional-looking film reel that gets you work.
"How do I get an acting reel?"
"What should I put on my actor reel?"
That really depends on how much screen acting you've done. Ideally, you want to put only your best work. You usually want to show as much a range as possible by picking roles in both film and television that range from dramas to sitcoms (but if you want to market yourself in a niche, you would only put one type of roles on your demo reel instead). Don't put any filmed stage roles or commercials on your reel unless you have to and only show scenes where you are part of the main dialogue (although you may want to show a scene you had just a few lines in if you played opposite recognizable actors).
You can create your own reel on a software like iMovie. If you're going to be acting as a career, knowing how to make and update your reel will save you lots of time and money. In most cases, all you need to do is put one clip after the other and a title with your name at the beginning and end. Just make sure you adjust the sound from scene to scene so an acting agent or manager doesn't have to keep raising or lowering the volume as they watch your reel.
OK, you're done!
Now you have a professional-looking demo reel.
Get a bunch of labels and print your name and number on your acting reels...
... and don't leave home without one! You should always have a copy of your acting reel with you, along with a picture and resume.
"What if I don't have that much to put on my reel?"
At the beginning of your acting career, you may only have 2-3 scenes from student films to put on your acting reel. That's OK. As long as you think your acting is strong, the quality of the footage shouldn't be your main concern. On the other hand, don't put a scene you're not happy with on your reel just to fill it up.
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