Much like a promotional video for a business, a showreel is a first introduction for a Director, Casting Director or Production Company to an actor or presenter, and so it is inherently important that it creates a long lasting, positive first impression.
Similarly it needs to be short, engaging and to the point. Casting Directors don’t have time to watch a 5 minute video, nor do they have time to sit and wait for a 30 second montage to finish. Get to the good stuff…first!!!
When it comes down to it they want to see how you act, how you speak and how you work with other actors, so you need to pick scenes that showcase just this. If you don’t have a lot to choose from thats fine, but use the best bits first. You don’t need to have a 2 minute showreel, you need a good showreel. Infant sometimes 60 seconds is all you need to tell a great story. There is a reason TV commercials are so short.
Furthermore you need to ensure they see what you want them to see. What kind of roles are you going for? Are you a comedian, a scream queen, a period player? Whatever it is you want to be cast for, that it was needs to be present in your reel. Be self aware as to the kind of actor you are and awake enough to understand what the project is. If someone is casting a serious drama about family separation you probably don’t want to send a reel full of gory slasher horror scenes. Businesses spend a lot of time and money analysing who their target audience is and how to get their products in front of them. They won’t tell you what’s mediocre about it and they won’t tell you all the stats, they tell you whats great about and leave it to you to find out the rest.
So think of your next showreel as your own personal advert. What are you selling and what are it’s best features?
Catch ya later - James