Four Things to Know
Before You Shoot Your Reel
1. Your scene must look high-budget and original so casting directors don't think it was shot for your reel.
- Make sure whoever you shoot with has experience in narrative filmmaking, which has a different aesthetic from event, corporate or commercial videography.
- If you need material, be discerning about your script. Make sure the scene is well written and illuminates your acting skills.
- Remember that re-doing famous TV/ film scenes will likely put off casting directors. Instead, consider filming original material inspired by the shows and characters that best suit your type.
- Likewise be discerning about the editing process. Your editor should highlight your best takes and moments from the shoot, and should use a variety of angles so it doesn't simply cut back and forth between you and the other actor.
2. You must make sure your scene is branded for you and your career.
- Go into your reel project with a clear understanding of what you want out of your scene. If you're working with a company, make sure to have a discussion with them about your goals for the project.
- Focus on bringing out your playing type(s), as well as attracting the gigs and roles you want most.
- Be sure that the scene fits in well with the aesthetic of your headshot, website, social media presence, etc.
3. Your scene must be shot on high-quality equipment.
- Casting directors pay attention to high-quality content, which will make you look more professional. If everything in your reel looks low-budget, they might assume you have limited experience on professional sets.
- Good lighting and sound will immediately help your reel stand out from many others.
- But remember: high quality footage, lighting, and sound is no substitute for poor acting. We highly recommend you take some screen acting classes if you don't have experience before shooting a scene for your reel for the best results. Even having a director on set can't help with a lack of professional training.
4. When hiring a company to shoot a scene, they must have proper insurance and meet legal requirements so you're protected.
- Shoots can be sometimes dangerous. Those shooting your reel should take necessary precautions to ensure that you and all others on set are protected, should something go wrong.
- Meeting the legal requirements for your project will bring you peace of mind and ensure everyone on set will be treated properly.
- Ensure whoever you work with has at least $1,000,000 general liability insurance so you're protected.
BONUS: If working with a company for footage on your reel, make sure they are honest and tell you everything.
- Be sure both you and the shooter you work with are clear about what will be delivered/ received with the project.
- If a detail is unclear on the website, ask the company about it.
- Make sure whoever you shoot with is professional, organized, prompt, polite and concerned about your thoughts and opinions.