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  1. Best Work Only! – Choose your best work.  This may sound obvious but here are some simple tricks to making sure you put your best foot forward with your acting reel.  Ask your acting peers.  Show them a collection of scenes and ask which ones stand out to them.  We’ve all invested time and energy into roles that just don’t hit the mark.  As much as we want to get something out of that investment, it’s often best to cut and run.  If it’s not showing you at your best, it will not be effective.  Ask your acting coach, favorite HMUs or friends outside the industry for unbiased feedback.
  2. One – One and a Half Minutes – Cut to the chase.  If your best work isn’t highlighted upfront, you won’t get that gig.  Casting directors are short on time and only concerned with casting the best possible candidate in the least amount of time.  If your scene wanders, if it has unneccesary intros, if it doesn’t highlight your best work first … it just won’t work.  Actors Demo Reels need to be concise and to the point.  Get to the drama!
  3. Include your Contact Info! – Anyone seeing your Demo Reel will need to know how to get in touch with you!  Include your full name (or stage name), phone, email and all contact info for your management / agent.  Don’t miss out on that role because they can’t get ahold of you!
  4. Best First – Start with your best footage and go from there.  Your best scene should go first.  Casting directors don’t have much time and you want them to see your most professional footage first.
  5. 3 – 4 Scenes – Show your range!  If at all possible, have a demo reel for each character that you specialize in.  No one wants to be type cast, but you’ll notice that you routinely are picked to play certain types of characters.  Go with that!  If you’re cast as a husband/father, make sure you include a range of emotions.  Sympathetic to demonic.  Watch movies with actors cast in similar roles and notice how frequently they play similar parts.  This may give you an in to the type of roles that are currently being offered.
  6. It’s Your Reel! – Never let the footage speak more of another actor than it does you!  Hire an edito to cut out as much of the actor from your reel as possible without affecting the storyline too much.  This is why actor monologues are perfect material for demo reels!
  7. No Repitive Footage – Include your best work from each project only once.  You want to show that you have range, your projects are varied and you’ve worked extensively in the entertainment industry.  Variety is key.
  8. Keep It Current! – Shoot as much as you can.  Sign up for student project, hire a custom demo reel service and get your reel out there so you can start doing what you love.  But continue to update as your creativity expands and your talent grows.  Expand your reel to include more characters and roles.  Experience is key.  Show them that you got this!

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