If you're an actor, director, producer, or pratically anyone who works in film or television, having a demo reel is a must. A demo reel showcases the best of your work so that a potential employer can quickly see your skills and talents.
When a potential employer asks you for your reel, if you don't have one, it can be seen as a red flag. And a sloppy or low-quality reel can makes your work look low-quality. Having a reel that's polished and up-to-date shows that you take your craft seriously and you know what is expected in the professional production world.
Your demo reel is a huge part of how you market you. It's your own personal commercial. And it's often the first impression you make on a potential employer. As such, it needs to show your specific style, while also showing the range of what you can offer. A short, snappy demo reel leaves them wanting more.
Planning Your Demo Reel
For those who work behind the camera, here are some great tips from Adobe about creating your demo reel.
For actors, here are some great video tips from Virginia-based producer/casting director Erica Arvold:
Lots of actors have diverse material, and might prefer to do separate reels for comedy and drama. Directors (like me) might do a narrative reel and a non-narrative reel. The important thing is to prepare your reel for the types of jobs you want to go after.
Displaying Your Demo Reel
Once you have a reel, it costs zero dollars to stake out some online real estate where you can display it.
If you don't have a website just yet, I recommend getting a free basic Vimeo account. It's ad-free and not cluttered with cat videos. Create your profile and set your demo reel as your featured video. You can also post longer clips of your work, which is something potential employers often like to see. Vimeo gives you lots of privacy controls, so you can send a clip to a potential employer without making it public.
If you want to actually build a portfolio website, there are some great free and low-cost hosting sites out there too. Don't forget about an IMDb page!
Do it Now!
You never know when the next casting call, crew call, or job opening will come along, and it's never too soon to be prepared. If you need a demo reel and need one fast, or even if you just want to spruce up an old one, contact me. You can view my examples here.