10 Ways to Create an Engaging Showreel

May 16, 2019 | Blog

Professional showreels are the key to landing acting jobs in the entertainment business. Although they come in many different styles, they share one thing in common: they are meant to market an actor for potential job opportunities.

Here are ten tips on how to create an engaging showreel that stands out and increases your chances of bagging that dream role:

1. Keep it short and concise.

creating a showreel, how to make a showreel, create an engaging showreel
Photo by Wahid Khene on Unsplash

You will get different answers when you ask casting directors how long a demo showreel should be. However, there is one aspect that is obvious: it is short.

As an actor, a showreel should emphasise your best work. Hence, it should not be a sample of minor things you’ve done, such as acting auditions or non-speaking roles. Again, it should be the BEST.

An acceptable showreel length should be 60 to 90 seconds. If possible, do not go over 2 minutes. Don’t worry about not being able to highlight your acting prowess. If you work with a professional video editor, they should be able to help you tell a clear story, given a small amount of time. The Showreel Course offers the professional guidance you need in order to ensure all the technical aspects (i.e. editing and directing) are confidently put together – so the only thing you really have to focus on is the quality of your performance. 

2. Make your reel specific.  

People in production these days possess multiple skill sets. So, when applying or auditioning for a certain role, make sure that your reel speaks about it. It has to be targeted specifically to a distinct job function or skill.

Though this means you might need to create multiple reels, you will benefit in the long run. This is because people who are looking for talents often have limited amount of time to watch reels. They will prefer seeing samples that are ideal for the position they are looking for. If you are looking for a new Showreel and want the assistance in choosing the right scenes that best represent you as an actor today, then the Showreel Course is something to highly consider in this instance. 

3. Highlight your best work.

creating a showreel, how to make a showreel, create an engaging showreel
Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

In some cases, the old adage “Save the best for last” may be applicable. But for demo reels, you can’t do that. When creating a showreel, make sure you feature your best and strongest work. It would be great if you can put that immediately at the beginning because you only have three seconds to capture the attention of viewers.

4. Be honest.

If you feature certain work in your reel, be sure that you had a part in it. Being dishonest might cost you the job. 

Avoid using copyrighted material as well. Not only is it illegal. It may turn off potential employers. Though it is tempting to use (such as popular music), do not risk an opportunity due to a technicality that you can avoid. 

5. Include your contact details.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

This may sound like a no-brainer, but you should include your name and contact details at the beginning and end of your reel. Be sure to use your basic contact information, including your name, email address, website, and contact number.

What’s the use of your showreel if your employers don’t know how to contact you?

6. Put short descriptions in your showreel.

One way to best describe your involvement and roles in your clips is to write short descriptions. For example, if you are a professional animator who did the entire modelling or animations of a certain scene, include that in the footage. You can say that you are the lead animator.

By doing this, you can say something about your involvement. At the same time, it will give the viewers a better idea of your abilities.

To include short descriptions, you can use tools or software like Final Cut Pro Editor. You can also research similar applications online.

7. Focus on your impressive clients.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

If you’ve worked with a big client, use it to your advantage. Working with big corporations, television networks, and popular flicks can really give you an edge. You can mention these in your reel.

8. Show your personality.

creating a showreel, how to make a showreel, create an engaging showreel
Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Use your showreel to showcase your true personality. Do you have a wild sense of humour? Do you think you are a bit edgy? Regardless of who you think you are, do not be afraid to include a bit of YOU into your work. This way, people will have a better sense of who you are as an individual.

Just make sure to avoid profanity or offensive words. When you put together your showreel, use your common sense and personal judgment. After all, it is you who know YOU better.

Screenwise Tutors are there to support actors in discovering their personalities on screen – so when you arrive at producing your Showreel you will have a clear and concise understanding of who you are as an actor.

9. Make your showreel accessible.

If you want your showreel to be easily accessible by industry stakeholders, you should try uploading it online. Create an account on video-sharing sites like Vimeo or YouTube and upload your showreel there.

Uploading your showreel online can benefit you as well. The goal is to let people conveniently view it. If a production is urgently hiring for a certain position, you can simply send over a link without having to leave the comforts of your home.


Creating an engaging showreel might seem like a challenging task, but it does not have to be. As long as you consider and follow the tips above, then you should be able to create a showreel that positions you for success.

If you wish to know how to create a demo reel that stands out, enroll in Screenwise’s Showreel Course.


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