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let's get reel!

As the daughter of schoolteacher and a Marine, I have always been about education and teamwork. When it comes to career success, no one should be left behind!

 

In July, I organized a meet and greet event for my acting group Here and Ready. with the Casting Society of America's Equity in Entertainment committee.  

 

I was invited into the room while the committee chairs reviewed every demo reel submissions and made actor selections.

 

And now, I am happy to share what I learned about demo reels with you!

let's get reel!!!

Demo Reel mistakes

and how to avoid them!

5

you use anything and everything
a.k.a. not all footage,
is good footage

2.

I know it’s heartbreaking to get all the way to the end of a shooting process to ONLY THEN find out the sound is bad or that the color is off!

But if you are sharing footage where someone can't clearly see you or hear you, the footage is not doing all it can for you. 

 

REMEMBER - Demo reels are a marketing tool designed to highlight you!

 

So if the audience can’t see you or hear you well, don’t use it.

 

And when you’re choosing the video order, be sure to mix (or adjust) your volume appropriately. People watching are at work, so jumping from a loud scene to a quiet scene can be jarring. Speaking of jarring....

Too Heavy on NSFW material

(Not Suitable for Work.)

3.

Imagine you’re at work and your first impression with someone is them using foul language, in a compromising position with drugs or sexual material or in a gunfight. And that's what they're going to remember.

Demo reels are being watched as a part of someone's workday.

If you've got to have that scene with language or an image that may not be suitable for work, at least bury it later in the reel.

That is, unless you’re playing a cool undercover cop who immediately busts the bad guys. 

 

But even then, they don’t need the whole film.

All they need is the essence of the film.

your reel is too long

1.

Your mom may want to sit through your 6 minute demo reel, but casting directors sure don't.

 

Our industry is moving faster than ever before! If you’re so lucky to have someone watch your reel, you have maybe 2-3 minutes MAX to give them the validation they need to send you an audition. Ideally the reel is 1:30 - 2 minutes, and some people might even say only 1 minute!

 

Either way, get in and get out!

 

And it's okay to use multiple scenes from the same project. But find the BEST EXCHANGE in the scene that shows something different about you and spread them out.

 

TO SUMMARIZE - If you’re not showing something nuanced and different with each clip, get rid of it!

because you don't have professional footage, you think that you can't have a reel

4.

What would you call that old film of Charlie Chaplin falling down stairs? A demo reel!

Marilyn Monroe's dress blowing up over the subway grate? A demo reel!

Whatever lipsync you might did on tik tok yesterday? YUP, that could be a demo reel too.

 

Give yourself permission to break the rules.

And the best part: the means of production are right there on your phone.  Why not, grab a tripod and film a monologue? Tape yourself doing a scene from a movie you love? You may already have a self-tape you love, that could be the perfect way to share your gifts.

 

The goal is to swing switch things out in time, but FOR NOW give people a way to see and hear you!

Sing out Louise!!!

YOU CHOOSE A SCENE THAT IS MORE ABOUT YOUR SCENE PARTNER THAN YOU

5.

From the jump, viewers should know whose scene it is. Are you the first voice we hear? The first person we see? If not, you may want to come into the scene a little later or work with an editor who can fudge the start.

 

REMEMBER - Demo reels are a marketing tool designed to highlight you!

 

So, what good does it do to focus on another actor? 

And one more thing:

 

Don’t let your scene partner out act you!

Watch the reel from the casting director’s POINT OF VIEW, and ask yourself: Am I driving the story? Matching their energy? Listening more intently?

 

And if you can’t tell, bring on a demo reel editor or seek out a second opinion from a trusted industry colleague.

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Join me for a FREE practical conversation about how to supercharge your demo reel! The seminar will include mistakes to avoid, how to grab the footage you need and, most importnatly, how to make the most of the footage you have! 

Plus, we will be raffling demo reel editing sessions, so that you can put these tips and tricks into action! 

 

Tickets have a suggested donation of $5. 

All reservations include one week of replay access! 

more about brie

Brie Eley is an actress and content creator orginally from Sugar Land, Texas.

A theater nerd at heart, she studied Shakespeare at Oxford University and has performed all over New York and in regional theater. While earning her theater degree, she minored in Arts Administration with a foucs on Marketing.

 

Since relocating to Los Angeles, she has worked in branded entertainment for AOL Sudios, produced award-winning short films and appeared across  sketch comedy stages across the city! Her recent highlights include The Goldbergs, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the upcoming Ryan Murphy series Monster about Jeffrey Dahmer.  Recent films include 'Honey and Clover, a recipe for disaster,' which just screened at the Cannes Film Festival and Dances with Films in Los Angeles. If you're here and ready for more diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our world, she's ready to rock with you!

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check out
my work on

past podcasts & press

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Brie Eley on 

One Broke Actress

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Brie Eley on 

Why I'll Never

Make It

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Brie Eley on 

Great Day Houston

 
 

After more than 20 years in the business and two dynamic pandemic years that included multiple tv bookings and more than 12 national commercials, I decided to bring my wealth of knowledge to the world in a more complete way - actor consulting for industry navigation and a series of classes for professional success! 

I love to see good people winning. 


Let's lock in a session today

and get you winning!

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