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Keeping your showreel short and simple

For any performer, perfecting a showreel can be a daunting task. Like a magazine editor, knowing what to leave in can be just as hard as knowing what can be taken out. Here we have assembled our top 3 tips for short, sharp, showreel production.

1. Treat it like a performance
As a performer, conveying emotion without going OTT is paramount to success. Avoid the temptation to apply Hollywood production values, musical scores, and other bells and whistles that can detract from the talent on display. Be professional, be presentable, be succinct – but leave the theatrics for the actual content, not the video package around it.

2. Remember your audience
Some great advice from Victor Jenkins of VHJ Casting was published recently by Spotlight, in form emblematic of the practice itself.

Note that montages are not a good thing. There seems to be a trend for them in the industry today but they are not often well received. Remember that Casting Directors are your audience in this particular instance, not the consumers who will see the final production should your audition be successful, and understand the way they review submissions and tailor your content accordingly.

3. Be concise, but remain committed
Short showreels work best, as emphasised above. But just because a Casting Director may only view 30-seconds of film at the preliminary stages does not mean that they may not want to revisit your work in greater depth further down the line. Shoot for a production of 2-3 minutes max, place your strongest work at the front, and particularly for TV castings try to shoot for a multi-angled approach that is representative of the way television and film is shot.

A showreel plays an important part in portraying an actor’s ability, personality and range to potential employers. But it is not the only part. Keep your showreel short and simple and use it to enhance the other aspects of your CV and promotional channels.