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Demo Reels

An edited video collection of an actor's best performances is called their "demo reel". Professionals such as talent agents, managers, casting directors, and potential employers view demo reels when searching for new talent to get a sense of an actor's abilities and gauge their on-camera charisma which may convince a them to call an actor to audition for a role. It is prudent to remember that this compilation is of an actor's best work. The high-quality footage must only include performances that showcase an actor's abilities.

Here are some points to setting up a demo reel.

Book any role possible:

Self-taped scenes are acceptable, but clips of professional work are ideal. Look for opportunities to get cast in a web series, student films, or independent shorts. Getting much compensation for this type of work may not be optional, but obtaining high-quality clips for the demo reel can make these early jobs worthwhile.

Obtain your acting footage:

Once shooting on a project is wrapped, inform the director or a producer to provide a copy of the scene for the demo reel and ask for their contact information. Since the post-production process takes time, it may be necessary to wait a few months before formally reaching out and asking them to oblige.

Hire an editor/Learn to edit:

The demo reel doesn’t need to look spectacular, but it should still appear polished. If using editing software is not feasible, it is recommended to hire someone who specializes in demo reel editing, or ask a friend with basic video editing skills to help.

  1. Keep the reel short. One - two minutes in length is significant for a demo reel. Include several scenes that showcase both comedic and dramatic performances.

  2. Lead with the most impressive credits. When the viewer will stop watching is uncertain, so place the most recognizable credits first. Films and televised shows belong up front and short films, web series, student films, and self-taped scenes go later.

  3. Keep the focus on the actor's performances. The majority of the reel should shine the spotlight on the main actor rather than others in these scenes. The bulk of the dialogue should be kept on the main actor for their reel.

  4. Include contact information. At the end of the reel, include contact information such as name, email address, website, and representation (if applicable).


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