Actor reels, web series, and casting
I started some preliminary casting this week for the feature I’m putting together.
Which has led me to watch a lot of actor reels.
My thought is that actors don’t put enough thought into how they are presenting themselves online.
A lot of the reels have some bad clips in them. By bad I mean that they don’t show the actor acting well. And/or they have clips with very low production design, audio hum, poor lighting, etc.
I know that actors usually don’t have control over the final product and the production value, so I don’t hold this against them. I know they have to build up their chops and get in reps and take student films and gigs for practice and experience.
But you do have a choice in what you put into your reel and what you post on your website. Quality is much more important than quantity.
A better option, if possible, would be to show a single short film that you made, which really shows off your ability. I know, that’s hard, and if you aren’t going to produce it yourself then you have to wait until you get cast in something like that.
I really like the Cinema Lab shorts by Stephen Cone. The actors are all from a class he taught. It helps that he’s a great director, but these shorts really show off the actors in the best possible way.
I think I’d rather see no reel than a poor reel. With just photos and a resume, I can imagine what might be. When I see a weak reel, I’m forced to consider that maybe this is as good as it gets.
I’ve also seen some bad web series this week. There are a lot of reasons to make a web series, but if you’re an actor and you are making one to show off your talent — then you should really make sure that it shows off your talent.
If you’re an actor and you wrote and starred in the series, I’m going to assume that you made it to show off your talent. And if it looks bad, the writing is bad, or the acting is bad — then…
We’re all trying to get better and of course the first things we make are rarely the best. That’s certainly the case for me. But you have a choice in what you put forward and what you leave out.