INDUSTRY TIPS

A reel should “have no montage, no flashy open, no music over somebody’s name for 14 seconds. The best demo reel…starts with your name and goes immediately into a scene. Casting agents use the demo reel to identify what qualities the actor has. It needs to be concise and tight.”

Mark Sikes

Casting Director, Los Angeles

“You wanna SLAM the best thing in the beginning and get the WOW factor from someone who is watching so that they want to watch more.”

Gary Zuckerbrod

Casting Director and former Casting Society of America president

When I put a breakdown out to the talent directly, I get hundreds of submissions. The ones that have a reel are the ones I look at first. I do look at everybody that submits, but if an actor has a reel, I do give preference to those actors first.

AmyJo Berman

Amy Jo Berman Casting, New York

A demo reel is a reel/video that should show your work in less than two minutes. While a reel should last up to two minutes, casting directors know within 15 seconds if you are right for the part or not.

Ken Lazer

Ken Lazer Casting, New York

So many actors that ask for our feedback on their reels are not overly enthusiastic when we say, “Lost interest after 30 seconds,” “It’s too long,” or any other words that aren’t “Loved it!” We have cast roles before solely on the strength of a reel, and if our attention isn’t grabbed straight away, or we are bored after 45 seconds, then it is a “reel” problem.

Danielle Eskinazi

Danielle Eskinazi Casting, Los Angeles

What is most useful to a casting director is to see you doing something in a dramatic or comedic context, acting opposite other people.

Paul Schnee

Barden/Schnee Casting, New York