Reels are compilations of work a talent may have done. A reel is the equivalent for an actor that a book or portfolio is for a model. It shows the client or director pieces of the actor’s work. And, like a book, a talent’s reel can make or break them. The vast majority of reels we see from this side of the desk are terrifying, which confirms our worst fears about the actor’s ability or potential, but those same bad reels also catapult the great reels to our attention and appreciation! Is your reel opening doors?
Directors frequently ask for reels of work when considering a talent. Having it easily accessible is key in the fast moving world of production. As there are many ways to submit your digital headshot and resume, there are also lots of outlets for showcasing your reel. Talent should start by being sure their reels are present on all the online profiles used by industry professionals. Your reel should also be in the hands of your agent. Being able to submit it in hardcopy form is also a great way to open doors.
Talent who are ready to move from the mediocre world of working occasionally to the fast lane of booking lead roles NEED a reel. The difference between a day player and a lead role on set can come down to the accessibility of the talent’s reel. Not every director has time to visit the casting room; and credits matter, so showing the credits you’ve collected in movie format gives the actor a substantial competitive edge!
You may have the skill set to carry a lead role, but how will the decision makers know if they can’t experience it first hand? Put your reel in the places that will get you ahead . . . and be sure it makes everyone say WOW before doing so!