Acting Showreels From Scratch Are NOT The Magic Bullet Solution

A plethora of new services offering showreels from scratch have popped up in the last few years. Naturally, cash-strapped film directors are looking for ways to take money from cash-strapped actors, and many of these struggling performers take the bait.

And it’s obvious why. So many student and independent films take years to materialise — and more often than not, never do. Actors give up their days and weeks for films that never produce the content for them to use on their own reels. So slick filmmaking services pop up, enabling you to look like an instant movie star.

Actors pay lots to these services, expecting a magical solution that will propel them to stardom, but what they’re doing is skipping a hugely important step. They’re skipping the part where they’re meant to be learning their craft; becoming the performers they’ll be for the rest of their lives.

It’s with this in mind that I am now changing the nature of my showreel service. I don’t want to accept every single actor who contacts me wanting a showreel. I need to see signs that the actor has been working hard on their craft for many years, that they’re committed to what they do – and where possible, that they already have some video content showing that their acting.

Many actors go to reel services for their very first appearances on camera, and I think this is a mistake. You need to learn your craft by taking classes, appearing in bad short films and shooting monologues and scenes by yourself on your phone!

Showreel Services are a bit like the first few weeks of ‘The X Factor’. They don’t care that they can’t sing, they just want to get what they need from them. With showreel services, it’s money in the bank from wannabes who don’t know any better.

I think the key to becoming a great actor is to become a great actor. The showreel from scratch is a part of that journey, but it should come much later. Don’t believe everything that the showreel services are selling you, including myself!


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