With about a million places to go its hard to know where to start. Now, if you are having this problem, there is an easy solution, a cheap solution, and no solution.
You want to do what is going to give you the most ROI (Return of Investment). Going this route will give you the results you are looking for at a much faster rate.
You have to ask yourself the following questions:
Would I rather spend the money now to leap into the next stage of my career where I actually belong?
Would I rather save a few hundred dollars and hope to get a few jobs that may help me pay for the solution that will actually solve my problem?
I don't know about you, but I would rather get something done efficiently the first time and be able to maximize my potential.
With that said, let's go over these solutions:
The "EASY" solution:
1. Pay someone to shoot professional scenes that show you in the best light, like Actors Screener Shoots. They will write you a professional scene, shoot HD footage of you acting the scene, and edit it. (Approximately a 1 week turn around with this company)
2. Acquire multiple scenes, but at least one HD scene and get them edited together at DemoReelsNYC. (Same-day turn around with this company)
Nice and easy, only two steps. Now.....
The "CHEAP" solution:
1. Have a friend or a cheap company shoot scenes for you. You won't have quality footage or sound, but once in a while some actors get away with it. (on average is in approximately a 6 month turn around between writing scenes, getting actors, and shooting it)
2. Edit the scenes together using a secondary cheap program. Editing can take up to 12 hours straight- and that's if you know the program well.
So yeah, its cheap. You will put in more man hours and be hoping the whole time casting directors do not notice that it isn't a professional quality.
And having "NO" solution:
Okay, obviously I'm not going to suggest this. Whenever I weigh this option I think to myself "If I continue on this path, where will I be in 5 years? 10 years? 15 Years?" If you have answered this yourself, you probably will not pick "no solution"
There are a lot of DO'S for actor demo reels, but about a million more DONT'S. We will go through them both, ensuring you maximize the potential of your footage.
First off, if you have NO FOOTAGE, I suggest Actors Screeners Shoot. You can get HD footage and it will look like you were on a high-budget film. I suggest this to new actors with no footage as well as actors who have footage, but really should have a high quality scene.
Okay, let's get cracking.
1. Have at least one high quality scene. It makes you look more professional.
2. Have at least three contrasting scenes.
3. Have your reel branded to the type of character you play.
4. Have your reel meet industry standards of length (under 2 minutes).
5. Have a title page with your contact information at the beginning and the end of your reel.
1. Fill your reel with montages. We want to see your acting, not clips of you doing different things.
2. Drag your reel on forever. This is not 7 Minutes in Heaven.
3. Have bad acting on your reel. It's best not to show something you aren't proud of.
4. Start off your reel with another actor as the focus. It confuses casting directors. and then they can't be bothered to watch more.
5. Have the reel start off automatically playing. If a casting director is in a quiet office and your reel music starts blasting they will immediately click out of it.
So, now what you know all the secrets- SHARE THEM! Good luck and let us know how this helps you!
Many actors find themselves on this page because they realize they need to get a reel, but they also run into the classic Catch 22:
How do I get footage for a reel if no one will cast me because I don't have a reel?
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