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What is an Actor Demo Reel?

What is an actor demo reel?

An actor demo reel is a compilation of the actor’s on-screen work. It is an edited video that showcases clips the actor’s best performances. Since each performing is illustrating their best work, their demo reel is more like a movie trailer instead of a short film and should normally stay under two minutes long. Each demo reel should be enticing, concise, shows various emotions and scenes, and convinces a casting director to want to see you!

What should be included in an actor’s demo reel?

The purpose of the actor’s demo reel is to showcase his or her acting. In your demo reel, you want to include scenes that really show what you can do! Including a variety of scenes—comedic, dramatic, heavy, light—will not only show your depth as an actor but also capture the viewer’s attention.  Nowadays, some actors have so much work, that they split their demo reels into a dramatic demo reel and a comedic demo reel.  Use your best judgement– don’t just feature all of work because you have footage.  You want to use your strongest performances.

How is an actor’s demo reel used in the industry?

Casting directors and agents uses actor demo reels when finding talent. When actors are submitted for jobs, the casting directors not only sort actors by their headshots and resumes, but they also go through their reels to get an idea of their on camera presence and skill level. The demo reel is usually the deciding factor for whether an actor will be asked to audition. Sometimes, after a casting director views a demo reel, he or she will ask the actor to come in for a callback and skip the initial audition. When meeting with a talent agency, they will also want to see your reel because it is the tool they will be using to find you jobs.

What else should actors have besides their demo reel?

Because casting directors have to go through hundreds of reels, which is very time consuming, sometimes a clip will be requested instead. If a clip is requested, the casting director is looking for someone who has already played the type of character in casting director’s project. For this reason, submission sites like Actor’s Access, allow actors to put up different clips separate from an actor’s reel.

In our showcase class, we create an actor demo reel for each of our performers.  Because most of our actors are starting out and just beginning to break into the industry, they do not have professional footage, so we create a beginners’ reel for them.  It’s so important to have something professional that shows casting directors where you’re at as an actor!

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