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Jim's Video Blog

For over a year, Jim posted weekly videos about the business and art of acting.

Demo Reel Do’s and Don’t’s

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Your demo reel is an important calling card. Here are some quick tips for making it as solid as possible.
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Transcript

Hey everyone,

Welcome back. It’s good to see you. I’m grateful you’re joining us this week. Last week we touched on making sure that the quality you shoot is quality, that the level of script, performance, lighting, camera, sound, everything, is at a strong level if you’re going to use this in your demo reel.

So let’s talk about demo reels. I know we touched on this way back when, but I want to hit on it again.

How long should they be?

How many things should be in there?

Here’s the rule of thumb: less is always more. Two minutes is plenty, and we don’t need the full scene. We just need the money. Within 10-15 seconds, I get your character, I get the emotional life, I get your type. And you want to show as many varied types as possible.

So let’s say you’re a guy. One minute you’re a tough guy, and the next, you’re a very sophisticated professional guy, and maybe the next one has an impediment where you’re drunk (not literally drunk, but you know what I mean), or you’re high or something where it could show that kind of range.

They’re looking for shades and colors, obviously. You’d don’t want to have the same guy every scene, the same character, the same emotional note. You want variety. Put yourself in the buyer’s position, and that’ll help dictate how long the scene should be.

Here’s another good rule of thumb: get in as late as possible and out as early as possible. That’s a good editing tip for any filmmaker, but it’s especially important in your demo reel.

Less is more.

Just get in as late as possible and out as soon as possible. They don’t need much. This is what they do for a living: view and buy talent, and they can tell right away.

So there are some tips. Oh! And always lead with your best stuff. Always have your strongest work up front, and honestly it should all be strong, so there’s that. But absolutely put your strongest at the top. Hope that helps, and we have more coming.

 

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