First and foremost, your acting reel is your commercial. With it you are creating a response that encourages the producers/directors to hire you.
Back in the day, a head shot was the commercial for actors. However, times have changed and having just a head shot to show is not going to cut it. Create your profile and have an acting reel. Directors and producers want to see more than just a pretty face.
The ‘I played character X in this and that film/play’ or ‘I directed/edited Y and X’ is also not sufficient. It can mean the difference between booking a job or not. It also shows how important you are with the industry.
Since you only get one chance to make a first impression, make sure it’s the best you’ve got. I am going to give you three tips to help you make a good reel.
Before that, I must stress that as an individual you can’t do everything. You want to give directors/producers a sense of who you are and it is important to have an identity they can look for.
Actors, in particular often try too hard to show they can do everything, before they’ve shown they can do something. Be specific.
1. Best Work Only
Including your best work is crucial to having a great reel. If something is kind of old, out of date of just not as good as your other work then leave it out. Think quality over quantity. Remember bad stuff always sticks in the mind.
2. Make Sure You Feature More Than Your Scene Partner
A reel where the other actor is pulling more attention than you is not good for you, obviously. Don’t give your director/producer any reason to not be focusing on you.
3. Leave Out The Montage
Overall, montages waste time. It should show what you look and sound like on screen and your acting ability. Cutting straight to the point with your best scene will serve you well.
Remember, your show reel is your resume. Make it sell.
Here 3 examples of good show reels to give you an idea: