Imagine this scene: You close out of iMovie and back away from the computer having just finished editing clips for your child’s demo reel. It’s terrific, and you marvel at how well your child’s personality and talent shine. There’s only one problem: how do you get the reel seen by anyone? It can’t get your child work if no one sees it.
So, what can you do? Here are four ways to get your child’s reel seen.
1. Self-submit to agents and managers.
Many websites, such as Backstage, have call boards with the contact information of different agencies and talent managers. Send the reel to prospective agents and managers. Be sure to follow the instructions regarding how they prefer to be contacted. Most reps welcome solicitation from potential clients. The demo reel is a great way to showcase type and experience. Whenever you send out your child’s headshot and résumé, make sure you add a link to the reel on their résumé.
2. Make sure your child’s rep has a copy.
This idea may sound obvious, but I’ve worked with young actors on their reels who never shared them with their representatives. Agents and managers are responsible for interacting with casting directors and other potential employers, so they need demo reels. If your child’s rep has a demo reel, they can send it to directors and casting directors to generate interest. It’s necessary to see how your child looks and acts on-camera before being hired.
3. Upload to online casting sites.
We’re living in the digital age and the internet is a great place to put your child’s reel and information out for mass exposure. If they have an account on Backstage, add the reel to their profile. You can submit it to casting calls yourself on many sites. Add a link to the reel on your child’s website as well. You can also upload the demo reel to YouTube and other public sites, but beware of scams. Backstage and other such sites regulate who has access to profiles and demo reels to prevent phony casting calls. YouTube and Vimeo don’t have that. That said, they can still be great public platforms to upload the reel to for more exposure.
4. Class exposure.
I teach weekend and week-long film workshops culminating with the creation of professional demo reel footage. I send the demo reels to industry folks to get my students noticed as I’m proud of their work. Other coaches and instructors may also submit student footage. Check with your child’s acting coach or instructor to see if they provide opportunities for capturing footage. There are plenty of workshops and camps offered in on-camera training which culminate with the creation of demo reel footage. Even some theater college programs are ending their final year with a professional demo reel instead of a live showcase.
Like a headshot and résumé, demo reels are no longer optional for actors looking to work. A demo reel is a sign of professionalism and experience. Demo reels also help people see how your child comes across on-camera. Having that footage available to potential employers makes the difference between getting the role or not. Make your child’s demo reel available to as many people as possible. Keep supporting your child and look for opportunities where they can get on-camera experience and footage for their next powerful demo reel.
*This post was originally published on Oct. 2, 2019. It has since been updated.
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