Your showreel is your acting business card - we can help you put together a killer reel!
Showreel Video Editing - London
The importance of a good showreel
Being an actor in the modern world is about presenting yourself in an interesting and dynamic way in order to stand out against all of the actors vying for the same role. In a world where everyone in Snapchatting and posting videos on Instagram, actors need to be able to make themselves look good on video and capture the attention of deliberating casting directors.
That’s where having a killer showreel is so important.
A casting director may have chosen you for further consideration based on your headshot – they’ve seen you have the right look for the role, and they’ve added you to a pile of actors they’re going to investigate further.
This is where having a good showreel is so important. It’s the modern equivalent of a business card. It’s a highlight reel that shows your range, versatility and charisma and grabs the attention of a casting director quickly. So it needs to be well put together.
What is a showreel?
A showreel is a video portfolio of acting moments that show you in the best possible light. Usually 3 minutes long or less, it contains scenes from shows and films you’ve been in, clips from performances filmed by others or audition self tape moments. It summarises you, and your acting range, in an efficient and interesting way.
What makes a good showreel?
There are some vital elements to a good showreel:
It focuses on YOU: You need to make sure the scenes you include in a showreel feature you. You may need the occasional shot of another actor for the scene to make sense, or for context, but this is YOUR showreel. A casting director may simply skip through your reel, stopping at random points – and if each time they stop they see another actor, or a prop… you’re missing the opportunity to present yourself to them. Your editor should be able to recut your scenes to focus more on you, while keeping the sense of what’s going on.
It’s high quality: The footage you choose must be of the highest quality. Each shot needs to be well lit. Each scene needs to be properly scaled to fit in the frame – footage shot on a phone, for example, needs to be sized to fit well with the widescreen clips that come before an after it. Blurry, dark or low quality clips should not be included – remember, if a busy casting director chooses a moment from your reel where you’re barely visible…. you’ve lost your chance at grabbing their attention. Make sure your editor has adjusted the lighting to be consistent throughout the reel
It showcases only your BEST and LATEST work: That short you starred in at film school ten years ago? You don’t look like that any more. Ditch it. The scene you did that was hilarious even though you’re an extra in the background? Ditch it. Show off your best performances that are recent and represent who you are as an actor now, and be ruthless – this is where having someone else edit your reel is so important. They won’t have an emotional attachment to your scenes, they’ll cut away the excess, the boring moments, and leave you with something vibrant and exciting.
It’s short: Casting directors are BUSY. If they’re looking through 50 showreels to find an actor, they wont appreciate that yours is 5 minutes long. They may not even bother. They probably won’t even watch the whole thing. Keep it to 3 minutes or less – 3 minutes is a long time on screen. That’s where having a good editor can be vital – they’ll know what to cut and what best represents you.
It starts with a bang: Often a casting director will only have the time to watch the first few moments of each reel. Your face needs to appear right at the start, and it needs to be your best scene, or the one from the most famous show you’ve worked on. If you’ve worked with a big name celebrity – that’s another scene that should go first. Impress them, and make them want to keep watching to see the other nuances of your work.
What Casting Directors look for in a showreel
A London-based casting director who works with The Reel Scene explains it like this: “The first thing we want to see is the actor’s ‘look’. We are trying to fit an actor to a role. If you have the right look, we’ll stop and keep watching. We like to see a range of performances, but sometimes one really good scene is enough – we just want to see you working on screen. The video has to look professional, be 3 minutes or less… and we hate montages!”
Choosing a video editor
When you decide to have a showreel put together, you’ll find there are lots of companies and individuals offering editing services. As an actor, you’ll need an editor who understand you and your industry. Some things to think about when making a decision:
How much experience does the editor have? Anyone can download Final Cut and call themselves an editor. It’s important that you choose someone who has worked in the industry professionally. They need to know how to cut drama, they know how to deliver media, they know the right formats for uploading to YouTube and Vimeo. You need to see examples of their work.
Do they understand acting and actors? Having an editor who is also in the industry – as an actor or director for example – is a huge benefit when putting together a showreel. They’ll be able to help you choose moments in your performances that best showcase your strengths and talents, and they’ll be able to skillfully trim scenes to focus on you while keeping your intentions and performance foremost.
Are they able to turn your video around quickly? It’s important your showreel is kept up-to-date and that means that if you finish work on a project, you want to know your editor can update your showreel quickly and efficiently without you having to wait weeks. They need to be able to stick to deadlines and deliver what they promise.
Are they prepared to work with you to keep your reel up-to-date? Working with a professional editor means they will keep backup copies of your reel and associated footage, and be able to update your reel for you
What are they like to work with? Most of all, you need to work with an editor who understands what you’re trying to achieve. Someone who can sit down with you and help you bring out the best in your performance, without judgement or bias.
The Reel Scene video editing services
At The Reel Scene, we only work with industry professionals. We’re proud to offer video and showreel editing services led by Lucas Young, who has been working in the industry since 1995 and has a wide range of experience, from being an editor at Television New Zealand, to working with Peter Jackson at Weta Digital on Lord of the Rings, to shooting and editing a number of his own short films. At The Reel Scene, Lucas has worked on and recut a number of showreels amd sizzle reels for high profile actors including Asa Butterfield, Steve North and David Schaal.
At The Reel Scene we work with you to showcase your best performances and put together a punchy reel that will impress, and go a long way towards scoring you that next acting job.
Sample Reel Scene Showreels
Asa Butterfield Sizzle Reel
This short sizzle reel was put together to showcase Asa’s film history, rather than as a traditional acting showreel. At the Reel Scene we use this to introduce new actors to Asa’s work, and we update it regularly with clips from his most recent films.
David Schaal Showreel
This is a showreel for actor David Schaal (The Inbetweeners, The Office) and includes both comedy and drama scenes. Different versions were put together for the American market – a drama-only version and comedy version.
Steve North Showreel
This is a showreel for actor Steve North (Doctor Who, Holby City). Steve is also a coach at The Reel Scene. We reworked his older showreel to create this more up-to-date one.