Reels – what makes a good reel?

Trying to figure out how to make your Reel capture our hearts?

I know you are first of all limited by content. You want to star in a big sci-fi action movie, but don’t have any professional clips that inspire that casting. I know that this is the first hurtle. But let’s skip that one for just a second…

I would like to turn your attention for a moment to the end result. To get your eye keenly developed to find out what you LIKE and to identify what works for Reels, in general.


Google some acting reels of people that you do not know personally or possibly at all, and of varying professional experience.

Examine these aspects about each Reel/Actor:

  • How much of the Reel did you watch before you checked your email?
  • What does this Reel tell you about the actor?
  • If it is an actor that clearly doesn’t have a lot of “professional” experience on her reel… what can you still tell about her from these small clips?
  • Does that deter you from calling him in to audition?
  • Which types of roles might you call her in for?
  • Which sized role might you call him in for? Would you audition him for a lead role? A supporting role?  In an Indie Film? A Studio Matt Damon/Julia Roberts film?  A commercial?  Comedic role or Dramatic role?
  • Is the Reel enough to qualify as a possible “prescreen” for a role?  Meaning, would you call her in straight to the director or only to the casting director?
  • How would I contact him if I was interested in scheduling him?

Try to answer these same questions now for your own Reels.

What are your goals and does your Reel represent it?

Remember, like attracts like.  So think very specifically about what you want to attract to you in terms of acting work and then design your reel specifically for that.

(Heck, be brave and eliminate outdated work, clips that look really amateur if you want to be working professionally, and also delete examples of your work that are really far from your current type. Spiff up your Reel so it feels like the “current” you.)

Spend time refining your Reel in relation to the type of audition that you seek. And it will come.

And back to the original question I hear loud and clear from you.

But what if I don’t have any professional or awesome clips at all?

And that, my friends, takes me back to the biggest life motto of all: build it and they will come.  Build the project and they will come. Build the short film, feature film, commercial spec, youtube video, web series.  Be creative. And they will come. They will want to work with you, and join you. Don’t wait for someone else to give you the awesome footage from your career.

A reel is, in the end, not a guarantee for more work.

But, a creative heart and persistent belief will get you there for sure.

your fan,

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