Acting Reel Tips to Increase Casting Calls

January 22, 2012

Just by creating an actor reel, you can stand out among the many candidates auditioning for valuable roles in the industry. But that’s not the only benefit to producing your reel. The real benefit is knowledge. When you embark upon the task of putting together a reel, it forces you to honestly assess your career. How much work have you really done? What is the quality of your acting? Are you proud of the work? How can you improve upon your oeuvre? A reel gives you an immediate answer to all these questions, and helps you get clear on how to move forward.

But what exactly should an actor include in his or her reel? And what should be edited out?  To squeeze the most juice from your reel, here are a few tips.

The first 10 to 20 seconds: Start your reel with a close up, speaking directly into camera. This will give the casting execs a real sense of  your appearance, but more importantly, it will showcase the force of your personality and the allure of your magnetism. Pick this close up carefully as it’s the first impression that often packs the biggest punch.

Secondly, put your best material in the first minute. With so many other talent choices to sort through, casting executives often decide within the first minute if you’re the right match for their particular role, and need to stop viewing before your reel can finish playing.

Next, keep your reel concise and powerful. Strive to keep it short. That means 2 minutes for those with less material to work with, and no more than 4 minutes for those who’ve accumulated particularly impressive clips. Most reels come in at about 3 minutes. But keep in mind, longer does not equate to better.

Also, make it authentically you. That means, if you play guitar or you’re a first-rate dancer, put it in. The suits should have a real idea of your passions and skills. Additionally, add original content. If you’re not a writer, consider a friend’s original screenplay or grab a scene from an off-Broadway production or a book you love. But avoid performing a scene from, for example, The Descendents. You’re performance will be compared to George Clooney’s—and you don’t need that kind of scrutiny at this point.

And finally, once it’s done, make sure to add the reel to your Casting Frontier profile and website so Casting Directors can view it with ease. To paraphrase Field Of Dreams: “If you make it, it will be seen.” Headshots, resumes, websites, and acting reels…use all these tools in your arsenal to land as many TV auditions as you possibly can.



Increase Your Chances for TV Auditions with an Acting Reel

January 19, 2012











Imagine you were a Casting Director getting to know the talent out there in the great big world. You have hundreds of thousands of actor headshots and resumes to pour through, and limited time to decipher the crème of the crop. It’s an enormous pond you’re swimming in while looking for just the right mix of appearance and talent. Headshots are crucial as they show the clients what you look like; the downside is they only show the clients what you look like. And even this can be inaccurate, as headshots don’t always capture your unique visage.

An actor’s reel, on the other hand, showcases the actor’s presence, their acting abilities, their style of delivery, as well as their voice. They also show how an actor will appear on film. Through your reel, Casting Directors can learn so much about your focus, timing, and overall acting ability–and consequently, they can call you in for auditions that are truly right for you. It’s also imperative casting executives see more of what you have to offer besides merely headshots.

So why are there so many actors that don’t have reels? While it’s true they cost hard-earned dollars, and it can be difficult to find the right person to edit your work, those are really just excuses in the immediate digital world. There are more resources than ever to score a professionally edited reel at a reasonable charge. With the advent of modern editing software, you can cut your own reel if you’re so inclined. The point is to showcase your acting ability to the people who make the decisions, and a solid reel is one of the best ways you can do just that.

Now, you may consider yourself an artist, and this concern with reels may seem too much like a business. Well, you need to flip the script on that way of thinking! Show business is a business. And advertising is key in any business you know of. Advertise yourself with the enthusiasm and energy of a national commercial!

Consider a reel an opportunity to connect with Casting Directors and Agents, showing them everything you have to offer. The latest technology has made the reel-making process easier than ever before, so take advantage of it–and increase your chances for those TV auditions.