How can I make a reel without experience?
What you should do if you do not have much footage to make your first reel…
(By Jim Webb)
(Photo: Anna Shvets | Pexels)
So, you don’t have enough footage to make your first demo reel? Are you feeling bad about that?
Well, welcome to the club! Or should I say, welcome to the journey. It’s a journey that every single actor has had to endure!
Everyone has to start somewhere! And starting somewhere means beginning without enough footage to make a quality demo reel.
But here’s some more good news. There are several ways to obtain footage for your reel right away, even if you don’t have much to begin with.
Here are a few ways to gain footage fast!
DIY = DO IT YOURSELF. That acronym doesn’t just apply to home improvement projects. It can also apply to building your demo reel.
Find a scene to do that showcases your type, get with your friends and film it together. If you can’t find the right scene, you could write the scene yourself!
If you can’t find the right scene, you could write the scene yourself!
If you do it extremely well, no one will ever even know that you filmed it yourself. You could create a professional-looking reel quickly, with little-to-no cash.
2) Reel Company
There might be a reel company in your town. Of course, that’s provided that you live in a large enough town. If you don’t, you can always travel to the nearest major city.
These types of companies specialize in helping actors produce quality reels. They usually can provide you with help finding the right material to use for your reel, film it, edit it…the works!
Depending on your budget, this may be the option for you!
3) Student films
(Photo source: Seth Doyle/Unsplash)
Another option to consider is student films. There are many ambitious young film students out there who would love to have you appear in their film project. In exchange for your work, they will supply you with quality film for your reel.
This fair exchange barter system has been going on for years. Actors work, often for free, on a student’s film. But their work is not entirely “free”. In the end, the actor is rewarded with footage for their demo reel.
4) Film a Monologue
Another option is to film yourself performing a monologue. It’s not always the best option for a reel, but some actors have had success using this approach.
Find a monologue that you, a) can do exceedingly well and, b) one that accentuates your type and matches the characters that you wish to play. Film yourself doing your exceptional monologue and use it until you gain professional footage to use in its place.
The best option for you will depend on whether you have a DIY mindset, whether you don’t mind investing a little cash, or whether you’d like to collaborate with a student filmmaker.
The point is, you’ve got options!
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