Here's how you can get yourself a great reel.
It has fast become a pre-requisite for us actors to have a totally solid reel. Agents and managers want it; our friends in casting demand it.
Wait! What if you don’t have good enough scenes to make a great reel? What if you don’t have any scenes to make a great reel? What if you don’t know what exactly constitutes a great reel?
What if just the thought of trying to make a reel makes you want to crawl under your covers and think about other things to stop the spinning in your head?
Well, you’re not alone. But we can help!
In this video you will learn:
- Do you need a reel? (Yes.)
- Is it totally overwhelming to make one? (Doesn’t have to be!)
- What kind of reel do agents, managers and casting directors want to see?
- How do you start building an awesome reel if you aren’t yet in L.A.?
- How do you put together a great reel if you are short on cash?
- What kind of scene should be on your reel?
- How long should your reel be?
And so much more. We’re here for you! You can do this!!!
The post How Do I Get a Great Reel? appeared first on Speak L.A..
Is it important for an actor to have a reel?
What is a reel?
What is the purpose of the reel?
- Proof of your skill as an actor.
Why is a reel important for an actor to have?
- It is an introduction to your talent and ability as an actor.
*A headshot shows your face and what you look like; A reel shows your essence and your voice.
How is a reel used?
- Every day your agent or manager will submit your headshot and your resume for projects that are currently casting - your reel will be attached to this submission. Your reps do this in order to help get you a job. Alternatively, you might submit your own materials - with your reel as an attachment.
What are the different formats of a reel?
- There are many different formats for the reel. None is right or wrong. Your reel format will depend on how much material you have, what type of material you have, and your budget.
Format 1: The Classic Reel/ 1-3 Minutes Long - This reel is 1-3 minutes long and it shows an entire body of work. The Classic Reel will include both comedic and dramatic scenes in no particular order (although most actors start the reel with their strongest and most current work).
Format 2: Comedy Reel and Drama Reel/ Two 60-90 second Reels - This format is two different reels - each being 60-90 seconds long. The first reel showcases your comedy scenes, and the second reel showcases your dramatic scenes.
Format 3: Clips - This is a great format when you have a good amount of material to work with. The work is separated into 15 second (give or take) clips from various projects. *With clips, an agent can get more specific, submitting the appropriate clip for the appropriate job.
Format 4: Speed Reel - A Speed Reel also requires having more material (at least 4-5 scenes). The total length of a Speed Reel is typically 30-60 seconds. *The intention of the Speed Reel is to give a quick peak into the entirety of your work.
Format 5: Simple 30 seconds of you on Camera - This is the perfect format if you don't have a lot of material/money and/or if you're just starting out.
What does a good reel include?
- A good reel is good quality - good lighting, good sound, and a clear and crisp picture.
- A good reel is professional - it feels similar to what one would see on t.v. or in film.
- A good reel showcases YOU - all clips include close-ups of you and show off your acting ability.
- A good reel includes contact information (yours or your agent's).
What is NOT on a good reel?
- No theatre work
- No monologues
- No background work
- No montages
- No commercial work
- No replicated recognizable scenes from a t.v. show or a movie
How do I make a reel if I don't have material already?
- You have two options - Hire someone else to make your reel, or create one yourself.
Option 1: Reel Companies
- Reel Companies make a complete reel for you.
- Here are some reel companies we recommend:
- When you research Reel Companies, start by watching some of their work online and make sure you like the look of what they are creating.
- Next, call them on the phone and have a conversation - do you feel comfortable with the person with whom you will be working?
- The appeal of a Reel Company is that it is one-stop-shopping. They will meet with you, discuss your type, write a scene (or scenes) for you, shoot the scene(s), edit the work, and then deliver a finished reel to you.
- The price of Reel Companies typically ranges from $300-$400 for one scene - to $1,500 for a compilation of scenes.
* Remember you only need 30-40 seconds of you acting on camera. Don't be talked into 3 or 4 long scenes. Not necessary!
Option 2: Assemble your own Crew (DIY)
- There are two ways to approach this DIY approach:
- The first is to check out a site like Craigslist and attempt to put together a crew.
- The second is to reach out to Film Schools in your area. Film students also need to build a reel - Collaborating on a reel can be beneficial for both you (the actor) and him/her (the student filmmaker). Sometimes you might be able to find a film student to do this for free; but paying a small amount may ensure a better experience for you all around.
Terminology you should know for the Crew you assemble:
- Sound=Sound Mixer
- Lighting= Gaffer
- Director of Photography= In charge of the camera (Cameraman/woman)
- Editor=Final Step
How do I pick good material that showcases my work?
- Start by understanding your type.
- Take (Copy) material from t.v. and obscure films and adjust the scenes to fit your needs.
- If you are only making one scene for your reel, choose a scene that shows both comedic and dramatic ability (for example a scene from a Dramedy).
- Create a scene for yourself by copying the dialogue but changing certain lines to make it work for you.
*Stay away from Film unless it's an obscure project.
*Stay away from iconic shows (Friends, Seinfeld, Game of Thrones, etc.)
What about doing Student Films for my Reel?
- Student films are great but have clear prerequisites from the start:
- Only accept a role that you could actually be cast in now.
- You will need a copy of your finished work so that you can use it for your reel.
*Finally, in the world of DIY, there is also IMovie if you really know how to use it.
DOs & DONTs for your REEL
- Do make sure you have a reel- even if it's only 30 seconds long.
- Don't put low quality material on your reel.
- Do keep your reel short using only material that shows you off.
- Don't put theatre scenes on your reel.
- Don't put extra work on your reel.
- Do use mostly close ups of yourself.
- Don't try to tell a story, just showcase your acting ability.
- Do research reel company sites before making your reel.
- Don't have a montage on your reel.
- Do watch t.v. (with popcorn!) to better understand your type.
- Don't feel pressure to get more material than you actually need on your reel.
- Do make sure that you vibe with and like the people you hire to shoot your reel.
- Don't feel like you have to have a perfect reel with a ton of perfect material at the beginning of your career.
- Do remember that you are the boss of your reel shoot.
Do trust that even though this might be overwhelming…
you can do it!