5 Tips for good showreel production

Any creative needs a good showreel, whether you’re an editor, cinematographer or director. But today we’re going to focus on acting showreels.

If you’re an actshowreel productionor, other than training and talent, the main thing you need is proof of that, for agents and casting directors. And that means a great headshot and a showreel which showcases your range and abilities. That’s why high quality showreel production is so important, and Nostairway can provide this for you. But let’s take a look at what makes an acting showreel stand out.

If you’re reading this because you’re an actor, then you’re probably familiar with Spotlight, a great place to find casting opportunities. Spotlight spoke with casting directors from major productions, like Grand Budapest Hotel, Breaking Bad and more for their advice on what makes a good showreel. You can find the article here. We took this advice, combined it with our own experience in showreel production and created this succinct list of easy tips.

 

1. Open up with your best

A very quick and basic tip! It’s absolutely essential to open your showreel on your best scene, something that really shows you and your acting skills. Try to use recent material if possible, but this goes for the entire video.

2. Keep it brief

Most casting directors suggest two minutes, at most three minutes long. Similarly to writing a CV, you don’t need to show everything you’ve ever done, just the most important parts. Prioritise your best work, and the scenes which you believe represent you best. Try not to include scenes with lots of other people in them, if possible they should just show you, or you and one other person. I needs to be very obvious which actor they should be observing.

This video is a good example of a brief showreel which still manages to showcase many scenes and character types. It also paces the scenes well, as explained in the next point.

3. Good pacing

The way your showreel is edited, will make the difference between a busy casting director finishing it, or giving up halfway through. So don’t just keep the whole thing brief, keep each scene quick, there’s no need to use long, drawn out sequences.

One thing absolutely all the advice out there seems to agree on is no montages. You might think it looks cool, and shows off lots of different projects you’ve done, but it tells the casting director very little about your performance abilities.

You can see every casting director in this video explain why they don’t need or want to see a montage in your showreel:

Another editing point to mention, is to not add a soundtrack. Productions want to hear you clearly, they don’t need to know what you look like accompanied by music. Of course, if you’re not editing the video yourself, you can make sure whoever is, keeps these things in mind. Nostairway is more than happy to take care of any showreel production you require.

4. Show off your skill not your looks

Don’t worry about being attractive or having a certain look in your showreel, they’ve seen your headshot, what they need is to see your natural self and how that can adapt to different characters. So don’t worry about looking good, just worry about acting well.

Now, acting well does not necessarily mean acting a lot, sometimes shots where you are listening and reacting can be very indicative of your abilities as a performer too. In fact, many casting directors prefer to see the subtleties of your performance, rather than some dramatic, loud argument sequence. So, try to stick to ‘small, subtle movements’ as put by Raindance in their tips for showreel production.

5. End on your best again

Very simple again, just end on a strong point, because it’s what they’re going to remember most once they close the video. Leave a good impression.

Here’s a great example which follows the above advice. He starts on his most recent work, stays on each scene long enough for us to see his performance, but not long enough for it to feel dragged out. At 2:14 minutes, it’s an ideal showreel length, which includes drama and comedy. This also reminds me! If you have the wonderful ability to speak multiple languages, make sure you have a showreel for each one, it can open up lots of doors for you.

 

Remember, Nostairway is available for any showreel production you may require, as an actor, presenter, or filmmaker of any kind. So get in touch today and we can arrange a free consultation, discussing your needs.

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