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Actor Demo Reel Tips:

Why you need a Demo Reel:

A demo reel displays your raw talent as an actor, and ultimately gets you hired. In many cases, it’s your chance to make a first impression and get you noticed by the casting director. Ideally, a well-executed reel should be able to showcase your range and ability as an actor.

What it should be included in your demo reel:

  • Your demo reel should include high quality clips from professional productions or the next best thing: these can be professional self-tapes, or perhaps student films, or any other acting experience you may have.
  • Not only should your performance be of high quality, but the media should as well. It is important that you make sure the technical aspects are top-notch. Invest in a professional editing session to ensure a seamless reel with excellent high quality audio and video.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Essentially, a reel should be no longer than five minutes in length; however, many casting directors won’t generally watch past the first minute and a half. It is important to include between and two and five scenes of various length that showcase your entire acting range.
  • Since a casting director may or may not watch the entire demo reel, it is important to capture their attention from the very beginning. You should start the demo reel off with your strongest performance, and make sure your the footage on your reel is recent.
  • Make sure it’s accessible. You’ll want to ensure that your demo is easy to access and easy to play. If it’s on DVD, ensure that it starts playing automatically – disregard all use for menus and options that may prolong the playing process. If it’s online, ensure that you can send off an easily accessible link – perhaps use a site like Casting Workbook or  YouTube to host your demo reel.

Actor Demo reel mistakes to avoid:

  • Do not include a poor opening scene. This is the first thing that a casting director will see and if it does not captivate them immediately… there goes your chance! It is important to include a powerful opening performance that can keep the casting director engaged and willing to watch the remainder of your demo reel.
  • Do not submit an outdated reel. Casting directors want to see what you’re capable of right now.  They’re not concerned about your impeccable acting job back in 1996. Like a resume, your demo reel needs to include your most recent and intriguing projects, so remember to update it every now and then.
  • Do not include bad acting. Your demo reel is meant to promote you and showcase your superb acting abilities. Therefore, it should only include your best on-screen moments – don’t bother including anything that isn’t your best as you’re only doing yourself a disfavour.
  • Do not include montages. They are a waste of time to casting directors as they do not highlight any of your acting skills.
  • Do not skimp on editing. It is important for your demo reel to look as professional as possible. If you are in fact a good editor, then by all means, edit your own. However, if you know that you cannot produce a professional quality reel, invest in the services of someone who can. Casting directors will notice a poorly produced reel – you want them to focus on your acting abilities and not your lack of editing skills.
  • Do not make your reel too long or too short. It is important that your reel is not too long as to bore the casting director and include everything you’ve ever worked on, but not too short as to omit crucial pieces that could possibly get you the job you desire.

Keywest’s demo reels:

Here at Keywest, we’ve got what it takes to produce a captivating and interesting reel. We work closely with Casting Central and have produced countless demo reels for many actors. At Keywest, you have the option of sitting one-on-one with an editor and coming up with the perfect demo reel to meet your needs. We will also provide you with any type of deliverable that you desire – just let us know and we’ll make it happen. Take a look at our services:

Actor Demo Reels

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