*This blog entry is part of the cast and crew calls series! Check out the related entries to get the full scoop, my thoughts on cast and crew calls based on personal experience.
I have views on acting reels based on casting my own shorts as well as creating reels for friends. Reels are great for two key aspects: to see how an actor moves and how they sound. These are things you cannot get from a head shot. Additionally, based on an actor's experience, reels are a chance for actors to show their range. With this in mind, when creating a reel, it is important to piece together various performances. Range also includes how wardrobe, hair, and makeup look on an actor.
Most people think of actors when they hear the term "reel," but there are also reels for production teams including camera ops, directors, and writers. Much like an actor's reel, these are an attractive and quick way to show a potential team some experience worth highlighting!
There is an art, or some might say a science, to the reel.
- The average length of a reel (cast or crew) is 2 minutes.
- For actors: The key actor's face should be the first face we see. The casting director shouldn't have to ask, who am I watching in this scene?
- The audio of each clip should transition smoothly. Abrupt cuts are distracting, sometimes making those watching think "wow, who made this thing," rather than "wow, who cut this together so smoothly?!"
- When possible, the transitions and order of clips should be motivated, maybe connected by movement, color tones, or dialogue.
- Last but far from least, a reel is not complete without the subject's name and contact information.
As far as obtaining footage for your reel, be sure to ask about distribution when joining a production, like a completion date and accessibility.
Some teams are great about personally sending a finished product in a downloadable format. Other times, you just have to keep searching for a release on your own. If a video does not have a "download" option, try a website that converts web links for you. I have had no problem using savefrom.net
What are you thoughts on reels?