Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Brian Medavoy. Brian is charismatic and smart, and his resume as a producer and talent rep stretches a mile long, but in a cutthroat industry of intelligent and fascinating slicksters, what consistently stands out to me is his attention to detail and how much he cares. I’ve worked with him on demo reels for many of his clients, and I’m always floored by his intimate knowledge of their work and his awareness of their nuance. In our numerous conversations it has become clear to me that a great demo reel is an essential selling tool for Brian and his team, and as a seasoned industry veteran, I felt Medavoy’s opinion would be a great resource for visitors to my site.
He agreed, and was kind enough to share his thoughts below…
A demo reel is the actor’s ultimate selling tool. The head shot and resume is an antiquated model that fails to convey an actor’s true abilities. Demo reels do just that. So much so, that the quality of the reel has a direct correlation with an actor’s consideration for a role.
When you’re just starting out, you want your reel to demonstrate your range, and what you look like on screen. But acting is a business that functions on memory. What do you do if a casting director or producer feels they already have the measure of you? If you want to shock people, and make them remember you the right way, you need to make them feel something. In today’s viral world, it’s essential that your reel be more cinematic in nature, and change people’s perceptions. It must educate the viewer, convince them you’re right for the role, and ensure that they’ll come to you next time.
I’ve talked to thousands of buyers who have seen hundreds of demo reels and let me add that no one makes a better, more effective reel than Marc. Based on their continued feedback, here are three tips I share with my clients when we put together their demo reels.
The Viewer Must Feel Something
Focusing time and resources on a dynamic presentation and putting a good deal of thought to its structure can significantly elevate material, often times making your reel greater than the sum of its parts.
Leave Them Wanting More
Brevity is ok. Remember, your reel is a foot in the door and attention spans are short. Your favorite 2 minute scene plays just as good at 45 seconds and leaves room for other material.
Show Your Range
This may go without saying, but using diversity of material to illustrate your range is important. This goes deeper than just putting comedy and drama scenes together on a reel. It’s important to gently infuse different looks and styles and to showcase different accents and characters you’ve explored in a short clip section or montage.
Ultimately, your reel is a reflection on you. How you want to be perceived is in your hands.
Good luck out there!