Demo Reel: Length

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Demo reels vary from the very long, 10 minute reels spanning the entire career of a particular actor to a 30 second peak into the talents of an undiscovered star.  In my quest to create the ultimate demo reel, people are always asking me how much footage is too much and how much is not enough. For example, I had a client bring in a couple of clips in which he didn’t have more than one line and he wanted to put something together. As you can imagine, this was very difficult but we got a little reel together very quickly and it allowed him to at least get his name out there in cyberspace. The main thing is to start somewhere and build from there. The idea is that he will hopefully come back with another clip to add which will open the doors to future opportunities. The other side of the coin is an actor I worked with about a year ago. He has been working since the 80’s and things have tapered off for him as of late and he’s got a regular job now but he wanted to revamp his old reel to see if he could spark some interest. He had some good stuff but most of it was very grainy, having been transferred to VHS at some point but he had many good qualities and rolls that it was easy for me to showcase. We decided to put his best foot forward but in the end he refused to cut the final segment which was a 15 minute solo performance. The main rule is that you’ve got to leave them wanting more, rather than having had enough. Does it hurt his chances of getting cast on television? Perhaps it does because a casting director may see this and think, “Boy, that’s just not professional.” It would be clear to anyone that this was mainly for the vanity of the actor and I think it’s important to keep it short and sweet and get out with a bang!