A few years ago, Peppered Productions added Acting Reels to its services. I put together some tips I’ve learned for clients to get the most out of your their reels. My goal was to ensure clients receive the highest quality possible.
Preferences are always changing, and different trends emerge. I’ve had clients ask for 30 second ‘character type’ reels. Others look for <1 minute total time. Still others seek the 1-3 minute traditional clip to demonstrate range. It’s hard to know what Casting Agents & Directors are looking for today, versus where the trends will take us tomorrow.
Regardless of what the edit becomes, these tips are still relevant. I’d originally posted them on an actors’ Facebook group three years ago:
1. Go directly to the source for your clips. Ask the filmmaker or editor for the original footage – this also ensures you have permission to use them. The more processes a clip goes through, the more the quality degrades. Editing software, exporting choices, and even video sharing sites’ space constraints will all effect the quality.
2. If possible, give your reel’s editor only the clips containing your work. This step could lead to a faster turnaround of your reel, since they won’t have to pull a handful of moments from a short or feature-length film. This will also help them focus on comparisons to make the best choices for your performances
3. A reel is a highlight of your work. Not all clips may be included, but the ones chosen should really be their best work. Reels are also relatively short – 2-4 minutes is ideal.
4. Find an editor you are comfortable with. Ideally, they will work with you to put together the best reel possible. However, keep in mind, they are professionals and will likely have limits to the number of edits, updates, and/or hard copies included in their initial fee.
5. Don’t forget high resolution photos! They make a great beginning/ending pieces to your reel.
6. Make sure you provide the title of every movie clip you’re sending.
7. To get these higher quality clips and photos to your editor, I recommend either having a disc or portable hard drive to give them, or you can download “dropbox” to send them along to their email.
Hopefully these tips gave you insight into steps you can take to ensure a great experience and end product for your reel. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or queries for me – I’d be happy to be of help.
***Actors/Filmmakers – do you have any additional tips? Experience in the industry that supports or negates this list? I’d love to hear from you