Acting Showreels from Scratch

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

I create showreels from scratch for actors.

I have been developing reels for actors since 2008. 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 (2016, 2017) and Arts Ed (2020).

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 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 recent interview with Emmy Award Winning Casting Director Chase Paris 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

£700

  • Initial Consultation
  • 3 Scenes Written SPECIFICALLY For You
  • Filmed in 4K With Professional Actors
  • Full Showreel Edit (Can include your additional footage)
  • Locations Provided
  • No Additional Costs
Screenshot of a showreel from scratch scene
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Single Scene Showreel

£300

  •  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

£120

  • Initial Consultation (On Zoom)
  • Can work with clients worldwide.
  • I write personalised script for you.
  • You film on your camera/phone
  • All experience levels welcome
  • Scene edited and then sent to you.
showreel director daniel johnson
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Tips and Advice For Actor Showreels

by Daniel Johnson

An interview filmed in September 2021 for the website Film Forums, where I discuss the art of actor showreels – full of tips, advice and ideas! 

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.

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!

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.

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 shoot on bigger cameras and go for a more 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. 

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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.

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!

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