Why Every Actor Needs A Demo Reel

actor demo reel

Let’s talk a bit about perhaps the most important tool of your portfolio in your quest to get a talent agent- the demo reel. This is what the agents use to determine whether you have acting prowess (or lack thereof), and ultimately if they want to sign you or not. The good news is, there are no hard fast rules. The bad news is, there are no hard fast rules. So how then to go about building and polishing a fantastic, mesmerizing demo reel? Keep in mind these crucial factors:

  • 5 – 10 years ago, demo reels were extra, not every actor had them. With the advent of tech and in house, agents demand that you have one, no excuse for not having one

Title Card

Don’t ever forget this. In the beginning and end of your demo reel, include a title card with your name and contact information for quick reference. Once at the beginning to get inside the agent’s head, and again at the end to remind them how to contact you.

Length

This is hands down the most often discussed dilemma. How long should my demo be? The general consensus among industry professionals is that it takes an agent about 30 seconds of watching your reel to decide whether or not they will sign you. With this in mind, keep it short, nothing over 2 minutes.

Clip Selection

Only the best. Make sure the focus in each clip is YOU. If you don’t hog the screen time in the clip, have someone re-edit it so you do. Make sure everything is current and looks pristine. Talent agents like to see things that are up to date and relevant. Always put your best clip first, but make sure the following clips are just as extraordinary. Save a really strong clip for last, so the agent is left with a powerful impression of your ability. Some agents like to scrub through the reel until they find a clip they like, so don’t make them all the same. Show us your range!

Demo Reel Companies

You don’t have to book a slew of underpaying gigs just to build up a demo reel these days. There are a ton of companies that will put you on tape and make it look professional for the right price. Relentless Filmworks and LA Reels are two of the most popular that come to mind. They’ll write scenes for you tailored to your needs and even provide actors for you to work with. Just make sure the scenes are an accurate depiction of your range and ability.

Demo Reel On A Budget

  • friends shoulder in the shot
  • shoot at 24p
  • apps at 24p
  • mic link from dylan
  • sound is important
  • something decent other than nothing
  • pick a scene from acting class

You’ve got your demo reel. Now you’re ready for talent representation!

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