Filming a Showreel

Hello and welcome to my blog, if this is your first time visiting, my background is as an actor, model an agent and in casting. Here I write from my own personal experience.

My husband hate’s it when I make a list. But that’s what I do, being dyslexic I have become extremely organised to combat my tardiness and if I don’t write a list I get confused and forget the important points. I like to do things in order and I love to tick the tasks off as I go. There is no better way to feel accomplished  than looking back on a list with big fat lines through the middle. Whether the list gets finished by the end of the day or not, it makes my efforts worth while and I remind myself to believe that the glass is half full and not empty.

So at the beginning of the year I started out with a master plan, or a ‘Marketing Plan’ as called by Nicci Topping (Casting Director) in her recent Blog – Marketing for Actors  . 

It’s probably the entrepreneurial part of me that treat’s everything I do like a business, and with my past experience as a casting agent, I have a good idea of what production companies, casting directors and agents need from me. To get back into my acting career after a seven year break, I have to make sure that all my ducks are in a row and have all the ‘marketing tools’ that are needed from me.

An actor, model and performer all have something in common, we are all a ‘business’ and you must market yourself as one. Business tools are a huge must. Just like a decorator needs a paint brush, a model needs a portfolio and a dancer needs her dance shoes. I have started purchasing my ‘tools’ just like any skilled worker. First on the list is the important Actors Head shot then a show reel and a website. Do a lot of Social networking, gain more credits, join and update IMDB, re-register with Spotlight and Equity and lastly, find an agent. Yes that’s right, Lastly. I say lastly because I don’t expect an agent  to accept me without any of the aforementioned. I believe an actor should be able to prove that they can help themselves by actively looking for work and promoting themselves. No actor should just rely on an agent. You need to work hard for your own career, otherwise how is your agent going to have any confidence that you are going to turn up to an audition with an ounce of enthusiasm? Or be trustworthy enough to even turn up at all?

As an ex agent myself, it was the models that barely kept in touch with me that I was least likely to promote and put forward for work, not only do you need to build a relationship with your agent but you also need to prove that you are trustworthy, have the ability to communicate, be respectful, not work shy and have the tools which will help the agent promote you to potential clients. Otherwise, how on earth do you expect an agent to promote you and get you work?

For the past couple of years I have also been watching Wendy Alane Wright  on her You Tube channel, Wendy repeatedly explains the same point, to push and promote YOURSELF.

NEVER RELY ON ANYONE ELSE TO DO THAT FOR YOU.

Catherine Zeta Jones was once quoted as saying that she has always seen herself as a business and that has stayed with me ever since.

When I first started  my acting career back in 2004 when I graduated from my Theatre course, I started filming Student films immediately, within a couple of months I had an agent and I was auditioning for Television work. Now its time for me to start all over again (Read my previous blog – Back to the Beginning).

I have had my fair share of let downs in the past as far as getting a show reel together is concerned, working for no pay, only on the promise of film footage, a credit, festival play and an IMDB credit, with nothing to show for my trouble. That is why I recommend working with Student film makers. Not only are they taught the correct procedure on how to treat actors, they also sign the PACT agreement  and you are guaranteed to receive a show reel within a couple of months. Plus you never know were they may end up in working in the television or film industry in the future, it is possible to be remembered. The downside is that is unpaid, something that I don’t  necessarily agree with when models are paid by universities to work with design fashion students, unfortunately the same consideration is not given to actors.

It is extremely important for me to get my film clips completed in time for  #showreelshareday on July the 19th this year. #showreelshareday has become an international phenomenon on Twitter since its launch only last year. It’s is a great way to connect actors with casting directors, agencies and film industry professionals. No actor should miss it!

After scouring sites such as Castingcallpro for the perfect student film with no luck, I was fortunate enough to come across a request on the Actors UK page on Facebook for a female co star to appear in a short scene for an actors show reel. Jo J Scott had enlisted Chris Stone Films to create her show reel from scratch. This was a completely new concept for me, I am pretty sure there were no production companies when I started out first time around that offered this particular service. However with social media nowadays it has become so much easier for actors to come across such a business. It is such a great idea to film separate scenes as different characters, you also work with a professional and experienced film maker with the promise of a final cut which can easily be uploaded to networking sites. Casting directors can see how you work on screen at a simple tap of a button. When I first acquired an agent back in 2005, I had to edit my own footage, print it onto DVD’s, design the cover work and label myself and post a box full of them to my agency. Hovever after all that. I am not sure if any of them ever got sent out. But today, with sites such as Youtube and Vimeo I am now pretty much guaranteed to be seen by someone…anyone!!

So I am now working on finding some more film makers and actors to work with to complete my show reel in time for #showreelshareday. I aim to get it completed by the Summer, with an extra couple of credits to update my CV. Get some more acting workshops under my belt to brush up on my skills, prepare some monologues suitable to my casting type, become a member of IMDB, re-register with Spotlight and Equity and then approach an agent. I will then keep on working on student films, short films and low budget films to keep my show reel fresh until I reach my ultimate goal and start working as a professional actor again. I just. Can’t. Wait.

Thanks to Chris Stone Films and Jo J Scott.

Follow The Secrets of a Hollywood Talent Manager, Nicci Topping CD, Act on This and Backstage Access for more Actor Business and Marketing tips.

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