Actors need a demo reel
Casting Directors, Directors, and Film makers demand that actors have an demo reel. I have worked with some directors who will not even look at an actor who does not have a reel. They consider them a hobby actor and not professional. Hobby actors are considered unready to take on the stress, demands, and time commitment of a professional gig.
There are different type of reels:
1. Character Reels: The purpose of these is to highlight a certain character.
2. Work Reels: Highlighting scenes from Projects you have been in.
3. Genre Reels: The purpose of these are to highlight skills of a certain
genres the Actor wants to highlight. Screams and fear for Horror, Technical speak for science fiction, Romance and Family issues for Drama. The list goes on.
There is of course some cross over, but the idea is to show acting strength in the genre of a project that an actor wants to audition in.
As an actor you want to be taken seriously.
The demo reel really is the most important part of a casting submission. In fact they can be more important than headshots and resumes.
Why? Because they can see the actor perform.
Actors need a reel that has a professional look.
The content of a demo reel should have a good production value. For the starting actor footage from student films, independent films, online content, and character scenes can be used on actor demo reels.
Be Real to your Character
Casting people are really interested in seeing how the actor looks and sounds. They are also judging the emotion and the over all realism the actor puts into the character they are trying portray.
Many novice actors are just quoting out their lines. They are not really giving a cinematic act. Therefore it is good to work with a director when you are working on reel material, a director can help bring out the best performance possible.
Actors need Diversity
Actors need to show several different Characters and Genres. This diversity will allow them to be flexible in the roles they can audition for. It also allows actors to match more characters that are being cast.
Highlight and Genre Reels
Think about Genre reels that you can do that can match what is being cast the most in your area..
For example, if you are trying to land a horror role, a reel that highlights screams and mean looks would perhaps catch the attention of those doing the casting over a reel that is full of comedy and cuteness. Again this depends on the character they are casting for.
When an actor has several genre reels they can use the best moments from them to make an overall generic highlight reel.
1) You want to show your best
If the production value of your scene is not that good or the acting is sub par then it maybe better to pass on that scene and wait for better footage.
2) Reels need to be short and to the point. You have to grab the viewer right at the beginning and then use that energy to hold them for the next 60-90 seconds. In that time show the skills they need to make a decision.
3) Reels need to have a slate. The slate should have your stage name and a way to contract you ( Email, Website, etc)
4) The focus needs to be on you, not the set, not the location, not the other actors. Close ups and other shots that highlight you are gold.
5) The Reel needs to be accessible, so post them online. The best is a Professional Actor Website and Professional Social Media Pages ( Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc. You also want to embed the reels on your casting profile on casting sites.
The Purpose of a Demo Reel
The purpose of the Demo Reel is to help you get an audition.
Once you have that audition, the job of the reel was done successfully.
Your performance at that Audition will be what lands that role.