5 Tips for Using Your Musical Theater Reel During Slow Times

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Photo Source: Matthew Murphy

As holiday shows are cast and the winter weather approaches, November and December can become a slow time for getting a gig in musical theater. That makes this the perfect time to really utilize your musical theater audition reel and stand out during the slow season, while also gearing up for the craziness of audition season right around the corner. 

Here are my top five tips for using your reel as the holidays approach.

1. Have a reel.
First off, if you’re an actor and don’t have a musical theater reel, now is the time to make one. There will be countless auditions that actors have a hard time getting seen for during the height of audition season, and your reel might save you from not being seen at all. Do it now while auditions are slow so you have the time to really focus on your online presence and use the reel to help you with your career.

2. Make sure you self promote.
Self promote with your reel on your website and social media. Casting directors really do spend time on social media to find new talent, especially during the slow seasons. I used to work for a casting director and was always surprised by how much time was spent researching an actor before granting an audition. Having a high-quality musical theater reel will enhance that search and showcase you as a serious professional. Share what you’ve been doing and what is coming up, whether it’s a show, masterclass, workshop, or reading. Just keeping people informed can be enough to keep your name fresh on the radar.

How to Become a Musical Theater Actor

3. Submit to agents.
Reintroduce yourself to agents via your reel. Sending a professional reel to agents in an introduction email is a quick way to be virtually seen and will hopefully lead them to want to see more. Now is a perfect time to send your reel to them so that if you get signed, you have an agent working with you during the stressful audition season to book jobs. 

4. Update your reel.
Plan ahead and update your reel. If you’ve been using the same reel for two years or more, chances are your current talent doesn’t reflect where you were at two years ago. Remember that this reel is a tool used to get you in the room when you otherwise might not be able to, so showcasing your best, most up-to-date level of talent is required to stand out from the crowd, especially as actors are hustling to prepare for audition season. Take a few minutes to unbiasedly review your reel to see if it’s a reflection of where you are now in your work and take it from there.

5. Get appointments.
The few auditions that are happening now are overcrowded with actors trying to be seen. Use your reel to get appointments for the auditions that are happening during a slower time. If you do go to an open call and you can’t be seen, be sure to follow up with your headshot, résumé, and your reel for the chance to virtually audition. You never know what a creative team is really looking for, so sending your reel to showcase your talent might be all it takes to get into the room when you otherwise would have missed out simply due to a large volume of actors in attendance. 

Having a musical theater reel on hand even during the slower audition months can still help boost your online presence and standout. You never stop working, so really take advantage of the time now to set up a base for success come audition season. For those who do not have a reel, invest in one. For those who have a head start with a great reel showcasing the best of your talent, use the tips above to start the coming audition season off right and be noticed and recognized for having a solid online presence. 

Reel ready? Check out Backstage’s musicals audition listings!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Tim Grady
Tim Grady created the standard format for the Musical Theater Audition Reel℠ with www.TimGradyFilms.com. Tim Grady Films specializes in college audition video submissions, as well as other theatrical and corporate video projects.
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