Showreels are the second most vital tool after your headshot. Casting directors, agents and directors need to see you act. They need the reassurance that it’s worth the time, energy and expense of seeing you in person. Without a showreel you are making yourself a bigger risk and an unlikely prospect for the role.
The bottom line is, if you don’t have a showreel, get one! It doesn’t have to be full of bells and whistles or edited by a BAFTA winning editor but it does need to show you acting. Even one good scene on your Spotlight profile will help you look more professional.
If you already have a showreel, great! However, don’t rest on your laurels for too long; the acting industry is a fickle place. Make sure your showreel is up to date and follows our advice!
So without further ado, here are our top tips for a top class showreel:
We hate to break it to you but no one wants to sit through a long showreel, no matter how good it is! Your showreel should be short, sweet and snappy. Max out at 3 minutes.
Don’t save the best until last. It’s a sad fact but it’s unlikely that anyone watching your showreel will watch right to the end. If you’re lucky they’ll skip through and watch a few sections but either way make sure you start strong for that all important first impression.
Yes we know “even Rocky had a montage” but montages in showreels have gone majorly out of fashion in the last few years. Casting directors and agents want to see you acting, reacting and speaking. They don’t want to see tiny clips of you set to music. A montage doesn’t add value to your showreel but it does make many in the industry want to turn it straight off. Don’t make that mistake!
As the saying goes “quality over quantity” and this is very true of a showreel. It’s better to have a few great scenes (and by this we mean the lighting and quality of the footage itself, not just the acting) than a host of badly shot, too dark to see, fuzzy clips that do nothing for you. Be selective and make sure your chosen clips show you to your best advantage.
Remember YOU are the star of your showreel.
Make sure it shows you off and not someone else. You are well within your rights to adapt clips to give yourself more screen time. (Do you really want that great reaction shot from your co-star outshining you in your own showreel?! Of course not, cut it out!). That said, unless you’re a wiz in the editing studio you may want to invest in professional help with this one.
Update! Don’t be afraid to update your showreel. Yes you might love that clip from 4 years ago but does it really stand up to scrutiny? A short scene from a bigger production are likely to carry more weight with casting directors than a dramatic monologue in a student film.
We hope these tips have been useful, whether you’re creating your first showreel or editing a new one. While they might not be rocket science, they are golden rules for a reason.
If you’re struggling with where to start with your showreel why not get in touch with YAFTA? While there are plenty of short filmmakers and students looking for actors in return for footage and this can be a great place to start, you can’t always guarantee the quality of the footage or even how much you’ll be featured in the final edit.
YAFTA offers a range of professional showreel services which take the stress out of creating a showreel. Whether you need simple editing from existing footage, additional scenes or a full showreel, we’ll have the right package for you.
We also have Showreel Days which offer all inclusive showreel creation (scriptwriting, locations, filming, sound, editing, actors etc) for a bargain price.
For more info and to book visit www.yafta.co.uk/showreels
See you on screen!