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Here’s Why Your Reel’s Not Working

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If you’ve created a demo reel to add to your marketing materials and you’re still not getting booked, you may have to tweak it a bit.  There are a few reasons it may not be impressing casting directors.

You’re not giving yourself enough credit. The material you’ve chosen to include may not be highlighting your true talent.  You may be overshadowed by another actor in a scene, not showing much range, or the scene is otherwise lackluster.  Refrain from including outdated material and strike a balance between interacting with someone and allowing them to take over the spotlight.  While you may not want to submit a scenario in which you are the only one present so you can show off your conversation skills, you want to make sure the footage features you.

It’s not the right length. If you have a lot of credits under your belt, great.  But demo reels only need to be 90 seconds in length, and, in this short amount of time, you’ll want to include your best work.  Don’t overdo it and submit a reel that’s five minutes long with choppy content because you’re trying to cram everything in.  Remember, a casting director’s time is valuable.  If your submission comes across as not valuing this time because it’s well over the required length, chances are the reel will never be viewed.

It’s the same thing, over and over again. If you’ve been primarily cast in one type of role, you don’t have to include pieces from every project in which you’ve been featured.  This makes your reel relatively monotone, which will only leave a CD bored and looking for more.  You really want to showcase your range.  This is the purpose of compiling a demo reel.  Otherwise, minimize transitions and only include a couple examples of what you’ve got.

It’s not organized properly. There’s no need to create a build up in which you opt to save your best footage for last.  Make sure you include stand-out scenes early on, so you entice a CD to watch your reel all the way to the end.  It can help to have someone review your work before you submit it so they can offer feedback on which roles really captivate an audience.

Creating a stand-out reel is not as easy as it seems.  But, by following a few tried-and-true basics, you can put together footage that will give you a leg up.  Remember, you want to show some variety and ensure you’re including material that highlights your talent.  If you’re not getting cast, ask yourself what you can do to improve the material.

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