Demo Reel Tips

Purpose of the Actor Reel

Actor Reel Scene
We believe an actor reel should be comprised of a couple 20 to 30 second scenes that focus just on you. No turnarounds to the other person. No establishing shot of the café you’re in. Just you.

You’ve got roughly 60 seconds to knock their socks off. Sharing the screen with someone else’s talent or a beautiful shot of the sunset, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

We stay in touch with what casting directors, agents and managers need from a business standpoint, which sometimes differs from what an actor believes they need. We continue to hear that 20 to 30 seconds of an actor reel scene is enough time for them to decide if you’re right for the role or right for their roster.

Actor Reel Requirements

And actor demo reel should supply four basic needs:

  • What do you look like on camera
  • What do you sound like
  • Are you believable
  • What’s your casting

These seem very simple to accomplish, but just review some actor demo reels on Actors Access and see how many of the scenes fail these points.

Look and Sound Like…Professionally

Poor audio and improper framing doesn’t really give casting a professional example of how you’d look and sound on television. It’s also challenging to consider a performance believable when amateur dialogue and situation is not.

Great scene. Now what?

A lot well produced two-person scenes out there forget about casting. A three-minute scene showing a couple bickering might be well lit, nicely-written and even a fun film project to do. The characters may be extremely believable and complex. But what about casting?

We feel our actor reel format gives them all of those things in a very efficient manner. This industry moves fast, and with everything online, you can’t afford to waste precious seconds.


About the Author:

Kevin King is co-creator of Create Your Reel and the Head Editor. Kevin manages the daily business operations and is the Lead Developer of the online demo reel management system "ReelManager".