Last Tuesday, May 17th. APP-NW hosted an incredible workshop and social gathering at the Lucky Lab. Our guest speakers Erich Demerath and Robin Vada gave us very important and insightful information on how to create a reel that showcases our work as actors, and how to use it as a marketing tool to position our brand.
If you missed it, here are the highlights of the night!
What is a reel? Clips that show that you can act, what you look like, and what you sound like. Ideally, it gets you work.
Current trends – new technology makes equipment cheaper, quality higher, easier to watch it from anywhere, but shorter attention spans. More content and more convenient to watch than ever. The length of reels has shortened – now, 2 minutes at the longest. Reels are more important than ever.
Types of reels:
Once you have enough work, having them all together is confusing. Pay attention to the quality of both visual and audio. Lead with something in your wheelhouse.
Where to start?
Gather Your Footage:
From the directors, producers, and editors. Maintain good standing with them. Get contact info and inform them you want scenes for your reel. Request footage once the project is complete, though many projects end up not ever being completed.
Perhaps try to get a written contract that includes that you will have access to finished footage.
You may also be able to download clips yourself if they are available. For your records and for your reel editor.
The higher the resolution the better. The larger the file the better (within reason).
HD: 1920×1080 or 1280×720
Try to avoid SD. Try to avoid letterbox.
Don’t forget about audio!!!!!!
What clips to not use?
- Theater clips
- Self-taped auditions
- Clips that do not feature you
- Home videos
- Anything with poor production quality
- First shot should be you.
- First voice should be yours.
- Not longer than 2 minutes.
- Do not worry about the context of the scenes.
- Use medium and close up shots as much as possible.
- Avoid montages.
- Titles of productions – this is a grey area; some people like it, some don’t; just be consistent.
- Start and end with your name and contact info.
Production Quality Matters!!!!!!
If it is a good performance, but poor quality, think twice. You’re only as good as your poorest quality clip.
Before Giving Footage to Your Editor:
- Log your footage
- Write timecodes of your best clips
- Don’t just hand off a stack of films
Shooting Your Own Scenes:
There have been classes in town that are based around shooting scenes for your reel. Or people have hired crew to shoot scenes for their reel. Make sure you do it right. Make sure the quality is good, the audio is clear.
What to do with your reel?
- Youtube channel
- Personal website
- Maybe also upload full scenes as supplements
- Get feedback! Let people be honest!
- Maintain it.
Robin Vada from Professional Acting Reels
They can rip almost anything from on-line, whether iTunes, YouTube, website… Charge $25. They also create reels and create scenes for footage for reels.
Your reel can start to cultivate your brand as an actor. What is your essence. What is it that you do well.