Creating online showreel from scratch scenes for actors in different countries has been a huge privilege. I began making scenes this way before the pandemic – trialling it for free with actors on Twitter. As the world closed down, this form of creating became an incredibly useful tool for actors. What I wanted to do was create scenes with the tension of a duologue, with more creative juice than a traditional self-tape.
Using the conventions of drama and storytelling, I make scenes that actors can record by themselves on their own phones and cameras. The secret to making these good is a quite simple, but very useful plot device. I create scenes that are meant to be shot on a phone.
I have been writing and directing showreel scenes for a long time. I pride myself on crafting scenes that showcase each actor’s strengths. I provide them with characters and scenarios that enable them to excel as actors – that put them at the forefront of high-conflict yet realistic storylines. The real joy of doing these solo scenes is that I have been able to work with actors across the world. Right now I am doing a scene with an actor in Texas, another in France, two in Germany, and one in Australia.
Many actors abroad want to do scenes written in the English language – but opportunities to do this on a realistic showreel scene can be difficult. Creating scenes in this way is a challenging yet fun and enjoyable way to build scenes in a creative way.
These types of scenes enable us to collaborate in a unique way. Regardless of your location geographically, and regardless of your location in terms to what you have access to around you, I create scenes that will feel real based on what you have access to. As you can see from the scene examples on this page, some are in people’s houses, some in the streets, some in the garden shed – it varies.
Diversity on Screen
Television casting is getting more diverse, which is a great thing. When I began working in the industry, there were a lack of opportunities in the UK and USA for international actors. Actors found themselves in the position where they either needed to play the most obvious stereotypes of their culture, or they were forced to try to repress their natural selves and become ‘more English’ or to ‘take the edge off’ of their accents. Honestly, these things still happen, but it is changing. There are more castings out there for people just like you — you just need to have the material to show that you can do the job.
When I create scenes I always meet the actor first. Traditionally, in the UK, this meant getting a coffee in person. With international actors, we do it virtually on Zoom. We get to know each other and I learn more about you. It’s important for me to understand how you are perceived as an actor in your own country. What types of roles do you get seen for? How do you get work?
Additionally I need to understand how you are perceived when speaking in the English language, as foreign-actors tend to be seen differently to how they are in their own languages. Then it is my job to blend the two – to get a sense of how the industry sees you both at home and abroad, and then to make a scene that will serve you well and help you get seen for roles that suit you.
Fully Directed Scenes
Directing the scenes is really fun. I encourage the actor to do a few initial takes based on their own interpretation of the scene. Then they send them to me and I offer direction – sometimes by email, sometimes on a Zoom call.
The magic of these scenes is the feeling of simplicity. At first you may think, ‘it’s just shot on a phone, it looks amateur’ – but we use cinematic techniques that make the scenes far more than they initially appear. Filming in a single take, for example, enables actors to have very real performances where we see the character arc develop in real time.
And we also use techniques with how the camera is handled – for example, having the actor move into a close up during an important part of the scene, or when a certain emotion needs to be conveyed.
Also, in the editing process I add subtle flourishes such as music and graphics to finalise the scene.
You can see prices for my online showreel scenes here. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or would like to set up a meeting!