You’ve always felt that you were destined for the small screen and have a serious aspiration to become a professional actor. Yet you’ve never taken a serious step in that direction and may not have enough time to devote to a full-time acting course. If you are to be successful, however, you need not just tenacity but also the right support materials to help you stake your claim. This means a high-quality showreel, a shining resume and a concerted plan.
If you’re now ready to take action you may be trying to figure out how you can get cast on a TV show, but before you make any initial contacts you need to work on that support material mentioned above.
What Is a Showreel?
A showreel is a short video which showcases the skills, range, and capability of an actor. It should have a professional look and should present you at your very best.
Entering the Screenwise Showreel Course, is an important step towards producing an effective showreel. This is a part-time course spread over a year and is led by industry professionals. You will undergo actor training and will be able to produce a state-of-the-art showreel when you’re finished. You’ll even get help with professional editing, post-production and direction as you create your masterpiece, and will be much closer to landing that all important TV show role.
Top Tips for Creating a Showreel
We delve into what makes the perfect showreel and give you 8 top tips to help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
1. Be You
Perhaps the most important piece of advice here is to simply be yourself!
You may spend a lot of time going over showreels from established actors and trying to work out how they weave in their own style of magic. However, if you’re not careful this will simply cause confusion and start you off on the wrong foot. You need to let your essence shine through, as it is your individuality that is going to help you become a star.
2. Show Your Characters
When you’re starting off, you need to show your flexibility and have a mixture of scenes in which you depict different characters. However, don’t focus on an individual style too much and once again, show viewers that you have the right amount of magnetism all by yourself.
3. Focus On All Skills
Some people think that an actor’s showreel has to be all action and never a dull moment, but there is a subtle balance here, as well. You need to make sure that your reel is skilfully mixed together by an editor, so that your presence does not become overwhelming in the context of the piece.
4. Timing Is Everything
Some actors may be able to put together a lengthy showreel and hit the mark all the way through, but it’s often better to create something that is short and sweet. Certainly, the more raw footage that you have the better, as this will allow you to select the best quality samples for your production.
5. Edit To Perfection
You need to be on good terms with your editor, and don’t be afraid to go back and forth many times until you are absolutely sure that you have produced a “gem.” Be ruthless and cut out anything that does not show you in your best light, even if this is in the middle of a scene that you would otherwise love to keep.
6. Strong Narrative
Good entertainment is invariably about storytelling and your showreel needs to follow this philosophy. Sketch this out before you begin adding content, and decide how you are going to tell your tale with feeling. In other words, your showreel needs to have a proper start and finish, as if it were a TV production in its own right and it therefore needs to have a purpose. The last thing you want is to put together a showreel that leaves people underwhelmed, or in a state of confusion. Even though production value is not the ultimate goal here, it will still cast you in a favourable light if done well.
7. Remove Irrelevant Footage
Don’t be afraid to cut out anything that is not up to date. Certainly, you may have had a career-best moment as a walk-on in a film from several years ago, but while it feels indispensable, you may want to focus on a more recent clip instead.
8. Stand Out From The Crowd
Finally, your showreel should demonstrate that you are different from other candidates and not somebody who is predictable or could easily become typecast in the worst-case scenario. You don’t want to become a stereotype in an industry, as there are plenty of them already. Be proud of your reel and make it sing for you.
4 Top Tips to Get an Audition
Now that you have the best showreel ever created in the entertainment industry under your belt, you need to use it to obtain auditions. In the early days you may not have your own agent, understandably, but you need to take on this role yourself and learn how they operate.
1. Research Casting Times
You will need to do a lot of research to find out who is casting for a particular TV show and when auditions are being held. This may involve some behind-the-scenes work, a lot of presence on social media, strategically-asked questions in forums and a lot of time browsing the web.
You should get used to networking as well. This is a people-driven business in which familiarity and connections can help open doors. What you think may be a pointless event could turn out to be your breakthrough opportunity.
3. Be Prepared With Your Portfolio
If you have found out where a particular pilot or television show is being filmed, make sure that you take your headshot, showreel and resume to the casting office and drop it off, for the attention of the casting director. If you can find this individual’s email, send it digitally as well.
Some online mags publish casting notices that show where an audition is taking place. You may also be able to submit your showreel and resume electronically through certain web portals, although this may attract a fee for doing so.
4. Employ An Agent: Ask The Right Questions
If you are really tenacious, then you should make great strides and land yourself at least a few auditions. From there you should do your best to employ a “real” agent, so that you can truly get into your stride. Before you decide on an agent, make sure you ask these key questions:
- Do they have training and/or a professional career in acting?
- Will they use their own network to generate you work?
- How proactive are they in finding auditions? How many auditions can you expect on average per year?
- Does their website portray them in a positive, professional way?
- Who have they worked with before? Any big names worth noting?
- Do they have high standards and understand the acting industry in detail?
- Are they flexible when attending castings and opportunities?
- Do they seem like a trustworthy agent to partner with?
Selecting the right agent could make or break your career, pick carefully and explore all options.
Your Next Steps into Acting
That’s it, our top tips on creating a showreel and how to get an audition. Remember, our showreel course will help you through all of the above and more. We’re here to teach you about the acting industry, give you the skills you need to go out on your own and get the castings you’ve always dreamt of. Hear what some of our old students say about the course:
“I had zero idea about the acting industry and how to even get started,” says Adam Demos, who starred in Unreal. ”Screenwise was my first ever experience in acting and gave me the spark and the passion for acting that continues to grow today.”
Or what about Sam Webb? He worked so hard on his showreel that “my new agents were blown away by (it).” “They were so excited and throwing around potential roles,” says the star, who eventually ended up on the case of both Survivor and Neighbours.