WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE A REEL
Reel Talk: You’re Already a Professional, Act Like It.
It’s a catch 22: you can’t book work, without first having work to show your skills as an actor. It’s the classic “you need money to make money” not entirely exclusive to the film industry. Fortunately, a reel doesn’t have to be that long. A minute to a minute and a half at most, and ideally your best self is in the first ten seconds. Here are creative ideas for you to piece together a reel, with little to no experience.
- Create your own scene with friends. What better way to celebrate all of your film friends’ talent than to write, direct, produce, edit and act in a short film together. Not only does everyone get something out of this, but it’s a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
- Keep auditioning. If you follow our guidelines on How to Create the Perfect Self Tape, you should without a doubt have crisp, clean content to string together for your first reel.
- Book work with UpCast! Ideally those self tapes you keep submitting allow you to perfect your craft, and you land a role! Now, not only do you have audition clips that are a proven success, but you can also mix it up with work from real, paying gigs.
- Seek out a reel company. These services will spend the afternoon with you producing professional, custom scenes with you as the star. This will run you anywhere from $400 to upwards of $1000, which is steep. But check out our post on Side Hustles for ideas on how to make that extra cash in less than a couple of months!
- Take on camera classes. This one will also cost you money, but at least you’re learning and networking in the process!
Whichever option you choose to build your reel, remember the key is showcasing your natural look and voice right up front – don’t act out extreme emotion or speak in a faux British accent. Range is always good, but first impression is also important – as we’ve said time and time again. Once it’s all put together, be sure to add it to your personal website and social profiles like we talk about in our Building a Website and Social Media for Actors posts!