I love working with actors even when they drive me crazy. I’m an optimist and I believe in the beauty of their talent and the power of performance. When it comes to their careers, however, a lot of actors are still clueless about some of the basics. For example, always send your resume as a PDF and go to a professional headshot photographer. You would think everyone would know these things, but I see tons of unprofessional headshots and I often get word docs and resumes with dubious extensions.
So today I want to talk about reels. As most actors know, it is extremely important to have footage. Over the years I’ve gone from being impressed to get a dvd reel in the snail mail to being dismissive of anyone without an easily clickable vimeo or youtube reel. It’s the nature of the business. You need to keep up. Please, please, please put a reel together. Even if it just one clip, that is better than nothing. The only exception is if the acting in said clip is bad or the video quality is terrible. If the acting and the video quality are okay, post it. Ask a friend to help you or follow online tutorials on video editing and uploading to youtube or vimeo.
If you have a theatre background and haven’t done any film yet, get a friend to record you doing a short monologue or get some friends together and shoot a quick scene at your kitchen table or on your stoop. Footage is key and you are a bigger risk to bring in if a casting director has never seen you acting. The fact is that other actors have footage and when you don’t it puts you at a disadvantage. Of course, I prefer to see a reel full of beautiful professional clips from films and TV shows, but when you’re starting out you need to make your own footage and take initiative.