Acting Showreels from Scratch

I produce every aspect of your reel – leaving you free to focus on the key thing; acting.

I create highly personalised showreels from scratch for actors.

The process begins with us meeting (in person or on Zoom), and then I write your scenes.

I have produced showreels from scratch for drama schools such as Guildhall and Arts Ed.

I pride myself on producing exactly what each actor needs to showcase their talents. I write unique and original scenes for EVERY showreel. EVERY SCRIPT I shoot is original material, written for my clients.

I have written extensively about showreels on Raindance, The Stage, Mandy, Medium, and on my own blog.

My focus, as a director of showreels, is to create nuanced, natural scenes. The key to a strong showreel is believability. Natural performances are more important to me than flashy camera moves.

I am also in regular contact with casting directors. They are the crucial audience member for showreels — so it’s crucial I get the work right. You can read my interview with Emmy Award Winning Casting Director Chase Paris (Ozark, Stranger Things) here.

I am based in East London, but can also travel across the UK and Europe. Your scripts will be original – created solely to capture what makes your acting talents shine.

After filming my showreel with Dan and uploading it to spotlight, I was called in for two commercial jobs in the first week! I have also since been signed to an agent (the main purpose of me getting a showreel in the first place), and have been requested to self tape for very exciting opportunities. Dan truly knows how to get the best out of you as an actor- I couldn't recommend him enough!

Emily Mogilner

He created a dynamic, engaging and extremely comfortable environment to work in. From beginning to end, working with Daniel was incredibly fun and professional. Creating my showreel couldn’t have been easier. I am really happy with it, and can’t wait to work with Daniel again.

Francesca Baker

Daniel does amazing scene writing work, they're very cleverly written and have quick wit. He also directs the scenes to make sure he gets the best out the actors and keeps the set atmosphere fun, relaxed and creative.

Lampri Dimitriadi

Dan works with you from the ground up to craft a showreel that is completely unique and tailored to your needs. Filming days are a pleasure, and the end result is polished and beautifully edited, while keeping at its core the most important thing to showcase-your work as the actor.

Tom Benjamin

A fantastic service that I can't recommend highly enough. The whole process was enjoyable and I'm very happy with what was produced.

Abs Mokaddem

Full Monty Package

£780

  • Initial Consultation
  • 3 Scenes Written SPECIFICALLY For You
  • Filmed in 4K With Professional Actors
  • Full Showreel Edit 
  • Locations Provided
  • No Additional Costs
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Single Scene Showreel

£360

  •  Initial Consultation
  • 1 Scene Written SPECIFICALLY For You
  • Filmed in 4K with a Professional Actor
  • Location Provided
  • Edited Into a Complete Scene
  • No Additional Costs

Online Showreel Scene

£125

  •  Scene Written for you
  • You Film on your Phone
  • Directed by me via Zoom and Email.
  • Ideal for actors based internationally
  • Includes final edit of scene (graphics, sound fixes, etc)

Tips and Advice For Actor Showreels

Filmed Interview

An interview where I do a deep dive into showreel from scratch theory, detailing what makes a professional showreel work. 

Since having my new showreel I have been seen for a lot more screen projects and worked on commercials, short films and social media videos, it has been very worthwhile for me and would highly recommend working with Daniel.

Libby Grant

I’ve worked with Daniel for several years now and am always impressed and delighted by his creativity and dedication to producing such professional work. Daniel writes scripts that really capture me and many directors and casting directors have requested self tapes and auditions after watching.

Brigid Lohrey

The first thing I noticed when working with Dan was how personal the service he offered was. Everything was based around meeting up and discussing what kind of material would suit me not only as an actor but as a person.

Charlie Earle

How It Works

I write across numerous genres and styles, but my own personal style is to go for the more subtle, nuanced moments – as opposed to lots of screaming and shouting.

In my opinion, it is this kind of material that allows actors to shine – and shows casting directors who you are.

There are four distinct parts to my process – which I will outline here.

Meeting You

Perhaps the most important of them all. A showreel is personal. As I am creating it FOR YOU, it is essential for me to get to know you. On a simple level, we need to know that we’ll collaborate well together – when you click creatively with someone, you just know it. After that, we get down to the world of figuring out what types of scenes would work for you. What would suit you? What is your casting? What would push you to show the best of your abilities? That’s for us to figure out together in the meeting. Tea/Coffee will OF COURSE be provided.

The Writing Stage

After we’ve agreed to work together; and I’m armed with the knowledge of knowing who you are and what you are, you can then leave me alone – safe in the knowledge I’m working on your scripts. When the words are flowing, this will happen in a number of days. If the juices aren’t flowing, it can be a couple of weeks. But I won’t send you scripts until I am confident they are strong and useful to you as an actor.

Sometimes a script won’t click with you. That’s fine – I am happy to write a few extra. I want you to be doing three scenes that you’re happy with and excited about.

The Filming Stage

We shoot your reel. This is where the real fun happens. Even though the material is ‘for a showreel’, you are still getting a true on set experience. What we do matters – to your career and to mine too. We are still making art and it’s important that we do the work to the best of our abilities. I can provide locations and we will have plenty of time on the shoot day to run lines, rehearse, and do multiple takes. You’re not going to feel rushed and I’ll work hard to make sure that filming is a pleasurable, exciting, and non-stressful experience. I believe actors do their best work when they feel creative and clear; filming can and should be joyful.

The Editing Stage

After the filming day; you get to relax but I’ll be getting down to work on the edit. Edits are completed two to three weeks after the filming date. I’ll splice your scenes together into a unique edit that showcases the best of you and the scenes. Then I’ll privately upload a link so you can view the reel. Hopefully, you’ll love it. Or maybe you’ll have some thoughts or suggestions – then I’ll finish up the reel and you’ll have your brand new showreel.

FAQs

I write scenes specifically tailored to your abilities and casting type. My goal is to create the material you wish you’d amassed from independent and student films but were never able to.

There are certain roles you can play that totally suit your look and abilities, and they’re going to be your most direct route to being a working actor. I try to focus on what that is, and then build scenes around what suits you naturally.

My office is in South Woodford, East London.

I’m Dan. I’ve been writing and directing since I was sixteen. You should trust me because I am one of the leading creators of showreels in the industry; actors who’ve collaborated with me have gone on to do lots of TV and film work.
 
I’ve created showreels for Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Arts Ed.
 
I’ve written about reels for The Stage, Raindance and Medium.
 
Outside of showreels I've created numerous short films, many of which have been in film festivals, and I’ve written commercials for Bose Headphones and Skype – I’ve made films in various countries, including the USA, Rwanda and Poland.
 
Also I’m an avid tea drinker and you should always trust a tea drinker.

I write EVERY scene. New material for ALL clients.


The script material is unique, and the music used is by composers who work for me. This means there is a clear, distinct Chain of Title for the work we produce together.


Many showreel companies steal scripts from TV/Film. I have even had companies plagiarise my own written material. Doing either of these is illegal, and could lead to you, and the company you are paying, facing prosecution for copyright theft.


The scenes I create are brand new; pieces of art that we create to elevate your branding as a professional actor. We create professional, bespoke work, not rehashed material that's been done before.

You will be offered a tea or a coffee. Teas include: black, green, lemon and ginger and fruit teas. Non-dairy milk is also available upon request.

We chat! You tell me a bit about what you’ve done previously and what you’d like to do. I’m like a showreel therapist, trying to work out what has been missing and what you need to have a fully functioning, healthy showreel!

Just bring yourself and we’ll figure it all out.

Potentially yes, but in my experience this works better as a solo investment where we focus entirely on you. You might decide to bring other actors in to be in the scenes, but I’d recommend focusing on it being about you.

Not entirely sure why it is, and maybe it’s something to do with my own methods, but when actors chop the costs in half and share a scene in that way, it rarely seems to work as well. It’s not always best to kill two birds with one stone; I'd recommend coming to me when you can afford to make it all about you as an individual actor. 

The latest prices are displayed above.

Do you offer Discounts?

No.

Do you work weekends?

No.

How Does Payment Work?

Half at the beginning, half after the filming day. (Except for online showreel scenes, where payment is taken in full, up front)

I would say that what I do is very specific. I write all the scenes myself and I personally will be the guy directing you.

The key strengths of my work are the writing, and also my comfortableness in directing actors and making them feel relaxed on the set. There are other showreel companies who prioritise a cinematic look; whereas my process is directly focused on writing you scenes and then directing your performance to make you highly employable.

Sometimes things just don’t click. We all have different ways of working and if, after our initial meeting, or perhaps as we begin the script stage, if things aren’t flowing between us, sometimes it’s best to have a hasty but polite break-up. It’s rare but it happens.

Good question and it completely varies, depending on what other projects I am involved in, what time of year it is, and events in the world such as global pandemics. 
 
Get in touch when you’re ready to discuss a reel and we can talk about what schedule is possible. 

At the time of writing, this is an ever changing situation. When you get in touch we will discuss what our options are and when it will be possible to film. 

The Writing

It comes from meeting you and getting to know you a little. The scripts are tailored to suit you but also, I am creating characters which it is your job to embody. So it’s not always about making everything easy and simple for you. It still takes work to find the character.

I write all of the scenes that I shoot. If you want to use your own material I recommend working with literally any company aside from mine because, so far as I’m aware, they’ll be happy to shoot whatever material you bring to them.

If a scene I’ve written doesn’t work for you, then email me back your thoughts/concerns, and I’ll address them. If you’re feeling the need to change the script that’s usually a sign that a) you’re not understanding part of it, or b) You feel insecure about the delivery/performance of it, c) I’ve written a bad script.


If I’ve written a bad script, then the way to fix it isn’t to rewrite it, we’ll ditch it and I’ll work harder on the next one.

Yes! This has always been the most unique part of my process.

It's not always easy - but in recent years I have slowed down on how many clients I choose to work with. For me, it's not about how many showreels I can create - but doing work that I'm proud of. Work that will help my clients in their careers.

The Filming

Either way! I’m lucky in that, having been doing this for so long, I am surrounded by fantastic actor friends. Likewise, if I write something and you think it’s perfectly suited to your friend, then by all mean let’s use them.

Almost certainly in East London, I can sort the location. That being said, if you have access to a killer location, let me know!

We can but I mostly don’t. There are so many possible things that get in the way — wind, rain, random people, noise — which makes outdoor filming about so much more than the acting. My preference is indoors. The key thing with a showreel is; how is your acting in a close up?

If you can get permission. But it needs to be before opening/after closing and we need to be able to control the environment, which is not always as easy as it seems.

On average about 1.5 hours per scene.

Yes, absolutely! For me that’s the whole point! Sometimes I meet actors who’ve shot with showreel companies and they say they didn’t get any direction at all – and that really infuriates me!

I love working with actors and I will work hard to bring out a strong performance in you.

The Edit

When we finish filming, I go away and edit it! Then I show you a rough edit, and if you’re happy, I send you the file. If there’s something you’re not sure of, we’ll talk it through and see if we need something else from the rushes.

Sure, send it to me before I start the editing process! I can only edit from finished products, not from other filmmaker’s lazily unfinished rushes!

I’ll do the first one which is what I think your reel should be.

Then if there are any issues, I’ll do one edit to correct it.

I send you the file then you’re free to upload it to Spotlight, Mandy, Youtube and wherever else!

Your Showreel from Scratch Questions Answered

The idea of creating a showreel from scratch can be a daunting idea for an actor. Whether you’re new to acting, just graduated from drama school, or are a working actor who has focused primarily on theatre work, there can be many reasons why you might feel some hesitation before committing to creating a reel from scratch. However, you wouldn’t be reading this unless you were interested in creating one, so I will use this blog post to demystify the process and to help you get comfortable with the idea of putting yourself on screen.

First, I’ll focus on a few of the basics. Then I’ll focus on many of the questions you’ll likely have about developing your first acting showreel.

screenshot of showreel filming

What is a showreel from scratch?

A showreel from scratch is a custom made, bespoke collection of scenes; focused on you as an actor. Each showreel creation company will have a different way of approaching the task of building your reel. The key and crucial thing is that the material should be original, and it should be focused on you and your strengths. What you do not want to do; is recreate scenes from a movie you like. This is not playing to your strengths, and if anyone recognises the material, they’ll be comparing you to the famous actor who played the character. Sure, you may perform ‘The Departed’ better than Jack Nicholson, but do you even want to take that chance?

How many scenes should I create when building a reel from scratch?

For me, the sweet spot is three scenes. Anything more feels like too much for the viewer to take in. Any less comes with limitations. What do I mean by that?

If you have one scene only, you are showing the viewer your acting skills in a very specific way.  It can be good to start with one scene, but the likelihood is you want to show the viewer a bit more of what you can do. The problem with having two scenes, is that they become opposites. Let’s say; a drama scene and a comedy scene. Or, a strong character, and a weak character. There’s nothing wrong with this as such, but for me the sweet spot is three scenes. With three scenes you can play with different ideas, show nuance, give the person viewing (likely a casting director or agent), a really good sense of what you can do.

What if I’m nervous about acting on camera?

It’s natural to be nervous when you contemplate creating a showreel from scratch. Make sure you work with an experienced director, someone who will make you feel comfortable on set, who will be able to give you actionable support which will help you do your best work on the day. It’s important to know that; nerves are natural. It means you care about it. To do your best work on camera requires you to be vulnerable, to put yourself out there; so it’s not surprising the idea fills you with a little dread.

That’s why it’s crucial to work with someone you trust. Someone who is invested in creating the reel with you. When you work with someone you trust, you are able to let go of your nerves and insecurity, because you know you are in safe hands. You know you are working with someone who has done this before, who knows how to get the best out of you.

Nerves can manifest in many ways; forgetting lines, panicking about an upcoming shoot, worrying about over-acting. Just remember, these things are normal. And there’s only one way to overcome the fear; it’s to turn up and do your reel.

Will I overact when I am filming my showreel?

If you lack experience acting on camera – if you’re used to working in the theatre, then I totally understand the concern. To be blunt – it’s very likely you’ll have moments of ‘doing too much’ on camera. That’s why it’s crucial that you collaborate with a director you trust, somebody who has the tools and experience to help you through the experience.

One of the most important things to learn as a professional actor is how to be natural and believable on camera. It often surprises actors how little they need to do on screen. If your character has to say ‘I hate you’ to another character, it’s unlikely they need to put the emotion of hate into the performance – the words themselves are usually enough. Or as I heard it put recently, ‘your job isn’t to cry, it’s to make the viewer cry’.

One of the tricky parts about developing a reel is that you, as the client, are the one paying to do the process. Naturally, you want it to be as good as it can possibly be. Therefore, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of trying too hard, of trying to ‘give’ the best performance. But of course, acting on screen is not about trying to force anything, it’s about becoming a believable, real-character. That’s where the trust comes in. You have to trust the director, as they’re the one behind the camera, and you have to trust yourself. You have to get to the point where you know that what you’re doing on screen is enough.

Often, a take where you feel you ‘nailed it’ won’t be the one that works on screen. And another take where you’re convinced you blew it, will be the best piece of material you have. That’s why you need a director you believe in, because if you’re left to self-directing, to managing every element of your own performance, then you’re likely to second-guess yourself, to never be happy.

When you’re comfortable, when you love the script, and when you know what’s expected of you; you’ll be in a position to deliver high quality performances on screen.

What makes a good showreel from scratch scene?

I’ve written about this in a lot of detail over the past ten years, and dedicated a lot of space to it in my book ‘How to Build a Great Acting Showreel’. But to give a succinct answer;

Your scene needs to have a conflict between two people. The higher the stakes, the more powerful the scene.

That doesn’t mean the characters need to be screaming and shouting. What it means is; the situation needs to mean a lot to the character. They have to really want and need something; and if there’s the possibility of them losing something, even better.

A lot about what makes a great scene is indescribable. You just know it when you read it. That being said, don’t treat the writing part like it’s irrelevant. You can’t polish a turd. No matter how good you’re acting is, if the script is terrible, it won’t do your acting justice. With my showreel service, I write every single scene; so if you like what I do then you know the quality you’re getting with the writing. If you work with another company, be sure to see their writing examples. When you read their work, it’s not enough to think ‘yeah this is okay,’ you need to feel excited, inspired; you need to feel like the scripts will be a vehicle in which to show your ability as an actor.

Shall I Just Do Some Student Films Instead of Paying for a Showreel?

In theory this is a great idea. When I started in the industry, it was a norm to build showreel material through being in student films. But in those days (I’m showing my age) there were a lot less actors coming through. These days, it’s likely you have a lot of competition. Or at least, it feels like competition.

But the truth is – there is only one you. But if nobody knows who you are, if nobody has seen you act on screen, how will they know to cast you?

Waiting for short films to cast you is a tricky one because, first of all, those roles may go to actors who already have a reel. But even if you do get cast, there’s no guarantee the footage will be useable for a professional showreel. Student filmmakers are learning their craft – learning how to direct, how to record sound, how to work with actors. Sometimes, you get magic, but more than likely you’ll have a disjointed film that you don’t feel confident putting on your reel.

Also, the storyline and style of a student film may not bring you the kind of roles that will stand out on a showreel.

By all means, try the student film route. But after a while, if you don’t have the material you need to better your career, you may want to take more proactive action and get material created that is tailor made specifically for you.

Why Get a Showreel from Scratch?

It’s an investment in you. It’s a video that you can utilise to show people what you can do. A strong showreel can cement your casting types and give people a strong indication of how to cast you. It is a tool which can help you get that much coveted TV/Film role.

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