Make Casting Director Go: “Awww” – Simple Showreel Tips

Today we will talk about showreels or show demos, you can call them whatever you like.

Let’s start with definition:

A showreel is a short piece of video or film footage showcasing your best previous works. It usually lasts from four to six minutes. It’s very similar to CV for certain kinds of professions, where it’s impossible to print out all your major skills on paper. For instance, a showreel works well for actors, animators, motion graphic designers, movie makers, etc.

Those videos really cost a thousand words as they can help you demonstrate all your talents in action and finally get the job your dream of.

Unfortunately, the matter is not as simple as it seems because casting directors get tons of showreels every day and there is no guarantee that yours will be the best one. Though, we will roll over for our readers and supply them with all essential information on the matter.

So, what to begin with?

First of all you should decide either you are going to create your showreel yourself or turn to professionals.

If you want to know our opinion, the second option is more preferable. Even if you have enough experience in filming, editing and other stuff like this, it is doubtful that you have all quality professional equipment for the whole process. We speak about expensive cameras, microphones, lighting, and software. Unfortunately, without these high end appliances your showreel is more likely to look amateur, which is not too good for your career.

The majority of applicants are willing to pay a trustworthy showreel or editing company to produce a video that will make them look horny as hell, showcasing only the most heroic moments of their work and make casting director ecstatic over the short yet comprehensive performance on the screen.

Most probably you will get your ready-made showreel on DVD and in electronic version for online posting.

No, no, it’s too early to breathe freely as we compiled a heap of tips that will help you distinguish a worthwhile showreel from the mediocre one.

Please, read them all before ordering a video that will change your life.

Simple showreel tips that work

  • 1. Say: “No” to what’s not really crucial.
  • It’s normal if you are emotionally attached to all your works and consider all of them genius, however, you can’t squeeze them into two minute video, so, get ready to ‘bite the bullet’, stand into viewers’ shoes and cut off everything that is not absolutely monster.

  • 2. Brevity is the soul of wit.
  • Just think about how many showreels a day a casting director should view. It’s recommended to make it no longer than two minutes; otherwise your work has great chances to be interrupted somewhere in the middle.

  • 3. Put your trump cards first.
  • As you might have understood from the previous point, it’s strongly recommended to put your best works at the beginning, which guarantees that the employer will see them.

  • 4. All is well that ends well.
  • Making a bizarre start, bend over backwards to finish with dignity.

  • 5. Present yourself like a brand.
  • Please, don’t take the following words as an abuse. Actually, you advertise, promote yourself in a showreel and of course you do it to sell yourself or your services. By the way, according to ‘Visible Measures’ research, 20% of the viewers will click away of your video in 10 seconds or fewer. So, make use of time-tested marketing rules.

  • 6. Make the research first.
  • Get to know what vacancy you are applying for. Then make sure that your showreel demonstrates the skills necessary for the job.

  • 7. Label your work.
  • If your showreel is the result of joint efforts of several people, don’t forget to indicate where your own part of work is. You can make it in the video or in a separate document.

  • 8. Reveal some of your technical secrets.
  • It’s really great not only dazzle your viewer with the dynamic action on the screen, but also with your expert knowledge of the software you use to produce these effects.

  • 9. A man can do no more than he can.
  • By this proverb we mean that it’s better to do something simple, yet qualitative than ‘aim a blow’ on something too complicated and goof.

  • 10. Never sacrifice technique for the sake of distinctiveness.
  • Being one of a kind is cool but skills, quality and technique are more important when people make up their first assessment of you.

  • 11. Avoid commonplace.
  • Forget about how the objects look and act in others movies, virtual or real life, try to do everything your way, implement your vision of things; we are sure this will be appreciated.

  • 12. Don’t play with loaded dice.
  • Present only your works, never give out somebody else’s proceedings for your own. Sooner or later the ‘murder will out’.

  • 13. Remember about the title.
  • Name and contact info at the beginning and at the end of your showreel will help the employer easily memorize it.

  • 14. Be Jack of all trades.
  • Try to make a creative mix of your works, showing the variety of your skills.

  • 15. Keep your showreel easily accessible.
  • Keeping your video always available and updated online on various video channels like YouTube and Vimeo considerably increases your chances to be found by the employer.

  • 16. Add relevant music.
  • Incidental music to your showreel should be pleasant for everybody’s ear and doesn’t distract the viewer from main idea. You can use sound effects to be more expressive.

  • 17. Make separate clips look holistic.
  • Here good transition effects from one project to another will help you create a smooth, unbroken presentation.

  • 18. Use captions where needed.
  • Short simple captions will help the viewer deeply understand your idea and level of expertise.

  • 19. Proper pacing is important.
  • Your goal is to keep the viewer interested. A slow pace will make them yawn, while the blinding speed won’t let them notice all your talents. Middle way is the best possible variant here.

  • 20. Storytelling.
  • Everybody likes to read interesting stories, so try to build your showreel as if you are telling a story about yourself or your heroes.

  • 21. Montage doesn’t work.
  • Don’t stake on montage. It tells nothing about your personality and looks rather indifferent.

  • 22. Feature current works.
  • Be up-to-date, show your best resent works, otherwise your show demo runs the risk of seeming moth-eaten to the casting director. Needless to say that such video tells that you are offside, and your best times have already passed.

  • 23. Ask uninterested people’s opinion.
  • “Four eyes see more than two” – as the proverb goes. So, ask somebody neutral to watch your showreel and give the feedback. We suggest you to consider the comments as an uninterested opinion may be really valuable and help you notice some occasionally missed drawbacks.

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And now, we offer you to view some awesome showreels below to feel keenly everything mentioned above.

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COME AND PLAY

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The Foundry’s 2013 Showreel

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CGI Showreel HD: “Modeling Showreel 2013″ by – Romain Chauliac

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CGI VXF Showreels HD: “VFX Showreel 2013″ by – Crater Studio

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Autodesk Official Show Reel 2013

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Motion Graphics & Visual Effects – Show Reel 2013 VFX

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Storror Showreel 2013

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Rhythm & Hues final showreel 2013 -update- ”Rhythm & Hues finalize…

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RealFlow SIGGRAPH showreel 2012

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Autodesk 2012 Games Show Reel

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G4H Graffiti Art Showreel 2013

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VJ Cold Fusion showreel 2013 – international VJ & Visual Demo

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CINEMA 4D Reel 2012-13

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The Foundry 2012 Film Showreel

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