Demo Reel Editing: Montage

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I help a ton of actors with their demo reel editing and sometimes the question of Montage comes up. In fact recently, a beautiful young starlet came into my office with some really amazing footage. She had a bunch of poetic imagery and a song. In fact she had it all planned out and when we put it to the test, we came up with something really like a tone poem. Sure it was only about the first 20 seconds of her reel but it ended up like a commercial for a mysterious perfume. Another actor I worked with was all about action and guns and manly muscle. We put down some heavy riffing guitar based music and cut together about 30 seconds of good old fashioned ass kicking imagery at the beginning of his reel. The footage spanned his entire career and it was quite impressive. Most actors don’t want to do this kind of montage sequence because they really want to just get down to brass tax and start showing that they can deliver lines with power and grace. In the end, there’s no wrong way to structure the reel. The main thing is to keep it interesting. Of course you’ll watch your reel over and over again but the question is, will anybody else? That’s why it’s important to keep it creative, keep it fresh and keep it moving.