If you’re putting together a demo reel for the first time or you’re looking to update your reel because for one reason or another it’s not getting you the attention you need, here are some vital tips from Backstage.

Last is First

Make sure you’ve added your most recent footage from the last project you did and that which best depicts your skillset to the beginning of the reel.  And, make sure the footage is yours.  This means that no matter how credible the star you may be playing alongside, the footage needs to showcase your talent.  Adding footage that includes celebrities in order to impress casting directors will only deflect the attention from your role and your contribution will likely be dismissed.

It’s All About Quality

Remember, you may have a lot of acting credits under your belt, but you don’t want to try to pack all of them into a 60- to 90-second reel.  This will only make the footage messy and confusing to follow.  Save space for only your best work.  It may help to have someone with a more objective viewpoint go through some scenes in which you are featured and select what suits you best.

Showcase All of your Abilities

If you are an actor that can do both drama and comedy, you’ll want to put together a separate reel for each genre once you’ve compiled enough credits.  This way you’ll have one dedicated to each area of expertise when you’re submitting for a particular role.  If a casting director is interested in seeing your full range, don’t fret – both can be requested.

Organization is Key

Always label your clips at the top so the casting director knows where the material is coming from, and make sure your contact information is easy to view.  Adding your contact details to the footage is key.  Otherwise, there’s no way to get in touch.  You can also usually submit separate clips rather than compiling a full reel.  Clearly label each of these so the decision-makers can pick and choose which ones to review.  You should also consider posting your reel or the clips to your social media sites along with your photos and resume.  Doing so will ensure all of the relevant information is organized in one place and easy to reference.

The most important thing to remember is that casting directors get tons of submissions for each role they post.  So, you’ll want to make sure everything you forward follows the submission guidelines and is easy to view and understand.  Again, always, always include up-to-date contact information.  If you follow these few simple steps, you’ll have a much better chance of landing the role you desire.

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