Showreel shelf life?

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Dodger'smum
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Showreel shelf life?

Post by Dodger'smum » Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:40 am

Some time ago, On It Artists failed to renew our Spotlight membership - we only found out some months later when I happened to ring Spotlight with an enquiry. It lost our showreel even though lovely Ellie at Spotlight tried her best with the tech team to retrieve it (it was one created by them inhouse).

Anyway, that's all in the past and worse things happen at sea :) We're ofcourse with a new agent now but starting to think about new showreel. As we're relatively green to all this my question is... should the showreel only show current stuff or what the child has done over time to show progression (considering they grow so fast and can look completely different)?

Also, any suggestions as to showreel creators who are good value and easy to liaise with? (We don't have masses of stuff and we're not London based but I don't know if that makes a difference..?)

Would love to hear some NAPM views. Thank you x

pg
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Re: Showreel shelf life?

Post by pg » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:48 pm

The ideal showreel is one that shows the caster what you are like now, so I would stay away from older material if you have enough new stuff.

If there has been high profile, broadcast work that isn't too long ago, it may be worth including - as that shows experience/employability.

If you are just looking for an editor, then checking the work that someone has done will probably show you who has the skills you need. I've used Round Island in the past.

You can do quite a lot of the correspondence and so on on-line - you don't necessarily need to be in the same vicinity. I sent stuff through the post to Round Island.

If you watch several (maybe 20 showreels) back to back, you will get an idea of what you want, what works, what's irritating - then you can instruct the editor. Definitely stay away from montages with music at the start of the showreel - I don't know any CDs that like that. They just want to see your strongest acting scene first and to know who they're meant to be watching. A brief frame with headshot/name/contact details and then launch straight in to the acting, preferably making sure you (the actor) are the first person in shot.

If you're looking to create new material for yourself, that's quite a bit more involved and needs quite a lot more thought and preparation.

Shot from scratch material is quite hard to do well. There are dozens of companies offering it now but I think the quality is very mixed. In my opinion, to get the best from shot from scratch, you need to know exactly what you want to achieve before you engage someone.

I've just written a response on another website about showreels, so I'll copy it here in case any of it is useful.

I came across someone on another forum based in Staffordshire - and I thought his work was high quality from what I could see (and didn't fall into some of the traps of shot from scratch) but I don't know anything about him particularly: I haven't worked with him, though have briefly corresponded with him.

http://www.chrisstonefilms.com/folio-in ... reels.html

You probably know more than you think about what to look out for (it's definitely worth shopping around and doing plenty of research) but here are some thoughts on the subject for what they're worth - any other questions, please let me know. I've watched scores and scores of showreels and find it quite interesting to analyse why some are good and some are simply shockingly bad!

In response to a question on another forum:

Watch loads and loads of showreels, one after the other (it's what CDs do ;) ). CCP is good for this. Watch those not from scratch as well as those that are. In fact, it's useful to watch 30 or so on CCP and see which ones you can spot in an instant are shot from scratch. Analyse why you know this and what you might be able to do to make yours a tad less obvious.

Look at what is annoying. See what makes you want to give up watching or skip through. Make a note or the things that keep you interested or are a turn off.

Look at lots of showreels pretending you're an agent looking to take on some interesting new talent. (This is often more useful when analysing showreels than pretending you're casting something and looking for a particular "type") - so you are trying to see what kind of actor someone is. What is it that allows you to judge that quickly? What do actors do that helps you to make that judgement?

Make sure that the scripts are a) original and b) written by someone who understands screen writing.

Stay away from the cliched scenarios (if you watch 50 plus showreels you'll be in very little doubt what I mean by that!).

Make sure that your screen partner(s) have some screen acting experience.

If you've done very little screen acting yourself, make sure that the film makers have experience in *directing actors* : many film makers with oodles of excellent technical abilities don't know how to help actors with screen acting.

In my opinion, it is useful to get some screen experience before you spend money on getting screen material - you do need to be really clear what you need from it to get your money's worth.

It will be useful to do some student films - or just to film yourself and friends with inexpensive equipment and watch it back to see how you come across it terms of ease/pace of delivery/knowing where the camera is etc.

Good luck!

Dodger'smum
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Re: Showreel shelf life?

Post by Dodger'smum » Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:45 pm

Wow, thank you so much pg for the fab advice which we have taken on board. Lots of thinking and viewing to do now prior to picking up the phone.
Much obliged to you :)

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