Mistakes Actors Make On Showreels Which Keeps Them From Work

Avoid these mistakes actors make when creating a showreel from scratch.

Acting Showreels from Scratch are a relatively new concept – and therefore, many people dive deep into the many pitfalls. Here are five of the most common. Oh and, for those of you who don’t know what a shot from scratch showreel is: it’s where you write, direct and edit scenes specifically for demo reel purposes, rather than taking material you’ve acted in from other projects.

1. They steal material from TV and film.

They think them doing their own version of Cumberbatch’s ‘Sherlock’ is a good idea. They think their own interpretation of Morgan Freeman’s parole board meeting in ‘Shawshank’ will impress. Sure, the film industry is known for rehashing old stuff, but leave that to Hollywood, it has no place on your showreel.

2. They rely too much on one scene.

Nothing is more boring in a showreel than a scene that lasts for a minute and a half. The scenes should be short and to the point. We want to see who you are and how you talk and move, and then move on to the next thing.

3. They make them too long.

Afraid to cut stuff out; what should be two minutes ends up being four minutes. Casting directors are busy people and if you’re to stand any chance with them, you need your reel to be short.

4. They load the end of the reel with bad material.

Why? Maybe insecurity, a way of saying ‘look at all this other stuff I’ve done!’ Don’t do that. Drop the stuff that isn’t your best.

5. They act too much.

Maybe the phrase ‘Acting Showreel’ is what makes them over-do it, but your reel is not the place to show everyone your wild side. It’s a place to be a human being. To say your lines and to be real when you say them. To react like a person reacts. To find the humanity in the character. Leave the theatrics at home.

Fade Out

If you are thinking of making your own acting showreel from scratch, try to be as natural as possible. And hopefully you too will avoing the Mistakes Actors Make.

Ask a question about Mistakes Actors Make On Their Showreels

If you enjoyed this article, email a question directly to the author Daniel Johnson, who, incidently, makes great actors showreels. From Scratch!



Daniel Johnson is an award-winning screenwriter and film director from London, England. He also creates actor showreel scenes from scratch. You can view more of his work at danieljohnsonfilms.co.uk

Stay updated with his work

His new book How to Build A Great Acting Showreel is available on Amazon now. 

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