of no fixed subtitle
September 20, 2004
Curious George: Showreel
Curious George: Showreels
What exactly does an actors showreel contain? Is there a standard formatting that is expected or is it just free form? I'm about to make one you see...
19 years ago
Crap. Did I mention this was a question about showreels?
Check with the client which format they want it in. VHS, usually. It's been a few years since I've dealt with this, so maybe CD is now used more often? Not sure. From memory, just a montage of the best stuff, showing as much variety as possible. Better to have a short clip of good stuff, than a long clip of mediocre, IMHO. Put the best stuff at the beginning of the reel. Punch 'em in the guts first shot. Hook. Hook. Hook. Most of the ones I've seen weren't lots of cuts, but longer sections. Too much short stuff probly distracting. I'm not a filmmaker, tho, just a sound engineer, so I don't know that side of things too well. Apart from that I've seen quite varied structure. I'm sure there must be examples on the web you can download to view, give you a few ideas. That's what I would do; start watching a bunch of other people's stuff and try to do it better. You probly know about proper presentation, labelling, etc. For audio shit I would label everything, list tracks, even timecodes. Totally pro. This shit impresses people no end.
I cut actors reels all the time and for the most part I would agree with Nostril. But I would caution against using a montage up front unless it is nice and short and then you go to your best scenes. Montages are often used when you don't have any real scenes that feature you to use. Sometimes I have cut a montage for an established actor utilizing their 2nd or 3rd rate stuff and put it at the back of the reel with a bit of music that closes with their name and management's telephone number. The other thing is when you do cut your scenes, try to cut down as much as possible the other actor's screentime without screwing up the meaning of the scene. In other words, feature yourself as much as you possibly can. Put your best scenes first. There are also actors that cut several different versions of their reels for different roles (comedy, drama, television, features, commercials...). One more word of caution, be careful when cutting scenes that have a strong music bed underneath them. Makes it difficult to cut. If you have any further questions, write me at the email address on my profile page.
I'll check around for demo reels online; hadn't thought of that. It would help to see what everybody else is up to. I'm lucky in that I have good material, several movies in different genres and terrific acting (not tooting my own horn, the actor is a friend of mine). I'm thinking a short montage to open and close like you suggested, squidranch, and then the some good varied scenes as the main part. Thanks for all the advice, Nostrildamus and squidranch, very helpful!