How to create a showreel that gets you invited?

When you work in the performing arts, you cannot go around them: showreels. Your showreel is the most important part of your application as a performing artist. Showreels are part of your visual representation and are the most effective way of getting your creative and artistic skills across. In effect, showreels are the first rounds of auditions and castings. But how do you create a showreel that gets you invited?

As we were creating Lanced, we had many conversations with industry experts and insiders about the hiring process for performing artists. What do they look at first on an application? What do they expect from a showreel and what gets them interested? We鈥檝e gathered a lot of insights that helped us build our Visual Recruiter [hyperlink]. However since our platform is entirely built around finding and applying to work opportunities, it is only logical for us to share these insights with you. Here are 10 tips for creating a showreel that gets you invited!

1.聽Start With a Bang 馃挜
In the last 10 years, our attention span has shortened immensely. Content needs to capture someone’s attention right from the start. Showreels are no exception to that rule. Use a frame that immediately wakes the interest of those viewing it right from the start. There are many ways to begin a showreel compellingly, but we鈥檒l leave it up to your creativity to find yours.聽

So instead of telling you what to do, we can tell you what NOT to do:

  • Don鈥檛 start with setting up your camera and walking away from it, cut that part out. 
  • Don鈥檛 start with walking around in a room/studio, we鈥檙e already yawning. 
  • Don鈥檛 start with slow-motion movements filmed from far, again we鈥檙e yawning. (For dancers). 
  • Don鈥檛 start with testing your pitch or warming up your voice, touch茅. (For actors & singers). 
  • Don鈥檛 start with setting up your instrument, we want to hear the music already (For musicians). 

2. Quality Matters
It is 2022 so there is no excuse for you to not have high-quality videos in your showreel. You don鈥檛 need an expensive camera to capture footage of you if you have a proper smartphone. If you don鈥檛 have one, invest in one. You鈥檙e going to be needing it! 

  • But with quality, we mean more than just the resolution of the video. Here are some things you should think about when making videos for your showreel:
  • Are you clearly in the frame? 
  • Are you centered in the frame? 
  • Is there enough lighting? 
  • What is happening in the background? Is there too much stuff? 
  • Is the angle right? 

Generally, you don鈥檛 want people to get distracted by technical flaws or other things happening in your showreel. The focus should be on you, so give yourself the best quality you deserve to be seen! 

3. It鈥檚 About You
We just said it; your showreel is about you! You should be clearly visible in all your videos. Videos that are filmed from far away or together with a group of people don鈥檛 cut it anymore. 

Your showreel should only contain videos where it鈥檚 directly obvious that it鈥檚 you who is performing. Having videos of large groups quickly throws people off. They will be busier with finding you than watching or listening to your skills.

4. Tailor Your Showreels
Depending on what type of performing artist you are, you might not always apply for the same type of job. As a dancer, a showreel for a musical looks different than a showreel for a ballet. It requires you to showcase different skills that are required for the job. The same goes for actors, singers, and musicians. 

Understand what type of job you are applying for and what skills are required for that specific job. Cater your showreel to the type of job. And yes, this means that you should have a few variations on showreels that you can send out. Having customized showreels for specific jobs increase your chances of getting invited because they are less general. Show them what they want to see!

5. Say Hi 馃憢馃徏
If you really want to stand out with your showreel you may start with a little introduction and welcome your viewers. It gives viewers and reviewers a pleasant surprise and makes the entire experience more personal. We鈥檙e often so focused on showcasing our skills that we forget that we are people too! 

This tip relates back to our first tip where we addressed the first 10sec of your showreel. If you plan on introducing yourself, please don鈥檛 do this longer than just a few sentences. An introduction gives the advantage of a pleasant surprise, but they are still here to judge your skills.聽

6. Build a Video Database
Since we already talked about the importance of tailored audition videos, it is wise to build your own video database. From time to time, record yourself singing, dancing, or performing so that you have materials to choose from when it鈥檚 time to apply for a job.  

Gather videos from performances, rehearsals, and improvisation, and start building a diverse database to source your showreel videos from. 

7. 馃幍 Sounds Good?
If you are a singer, actor, or musician, the sound is key to your showreel. Make sure that your sound is optimized. If you want to create a collage of your work as a dancer or actor, choose a sound that fits your showreel and shows a bit of who you are. Are you using low-fi beats, lyrical songs, uplifting house, or classical music? The music you choose can either make or break your showreel. Choose wisely!

8. Be Diverse
No matter what you are applying for, the videos that you pick for your showreel need to show a certain diversity of skills. Often, companies hiring performing artists ask for additional videos where they must learn some of their company’s material. So, when they look at your showreel, they want to get a more general impression from you. 

9. 4 Minutes!
This is where it gets tricky because many companies have their own requirements for showreels. Overall, we recommend a showreel between 3-4 minutes. But really, no longer than 4 minutes! Just like Madonna has only 4 minutes to save the world. 

10. A Good 鈿栵笍
Our last tip is to find a good balance in the timing of your videos. You want to give people enough time to get into each video that you use. But at the same time, you also need to have enough time for your other videos.

The general rule here is to use parts of your videos that quickly show the creative skills that you would like to convey. Don鈥檛 let them wait for it either, the videos of your showreel should be the highlights of your creative skills. 

On the flip side, you don鈥檛 want to be too short either. A quick collage reel is not always the best way to give viewers a detailed understanding of your skills. These reels are effective for giving a quick oversight of one鈥檚 career and might be impressive to watch, but they don鈥檛 really serve any purpose in audition applications. 

The key is to pick videos that show your skills clearly. Videos between 25 and 45 sec are the most effective.  

All right, these were 10 tips on how to create a showreel that gets you invited. Obviously, you get yourself invited based on your skills. But you should give your skills the best representation possible in your showreel. 

Are you a creative professional looking for new work opportunities and a lace to showcase your work? Join Lanced today and boost your visibility! We鈥檙e looking forward to seeing your showreels! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *