Erin Connor’s Showreel: Acting Pointers for Beginners
So you’re done with all your foundational acting training and are currently packing on projects on your CV. What’s next? It’s time to step up as a working actor – land your next acting job with an impressive showreel.
One of the main things that you need to have as an actor is a showreel in acting. Casting directors need to see your showreel before they decide they want to see you come in their office for an audition. A good showreel will also help you secure a good agent who will help you land roles in great projects.
What factors make a good showreel? How do these factors help you land an acting job? In this article, you’ll learn showreel acting pointers by paying close attention to the showreel of an experienced Australian actress, Erin Connor.
What Is a Showreel, Exactly?
Consider your showreel to be your actor’s calling card. It is a video clip that showcases your acting work thus far. A good showreel is often 3 minutes long (Erin Connor’s current showreel is at 3:27 minutes).
Your Showreel Should...
Begin with a title card
As with any calling card, your showreel should contain key information about you: your name, your contact details, and/or your agent’s contact details (if you already have one.) It should also contain your headshot. In years gone by, you would have been asked to send in an actual printed copy of your headshot along with your CV when you audition. It’s not necessary now but you can still print some copies if this appeals to you. All you need to do is make sure it’s simple and easy for your casting director to identify you and recall your name. Erin Connor’s title card contains the following details:
The content type (Demo Reel)
Her management’s name and agent’s contact information
Her best actor’s headshot
Show your range
If you want to land an acting job one after the other, you should cast a wide net, especially at the beginning of your career where your focus should be to pack on as much experience as humanly possible. For that, your acting reel should showcase different characters and emotions. If you also want to work as a voice talent, range is also important for your voice over reel. In Erin Connor’s acting reel, you see her portraying different emotions and acting choices per clip.
Passionate, speaks with urgency
Angry and fierce
Threatening yet controlled
Sweet and bubbly
Begin with a clear picture of who you are as an actor
Now that you know that your reel should show your range, the next question that’s probably on your mind is, How do I know in what order I should arrange the clips in?
Within the first ten seconds of your reel, you should be able to show exactly who you are: that is, your actor’s type. Erin Connor has performed many times as a wife, mother, professional --generally a woman who exudes command. That’s why her acting reel starts off with her role as a loving wife and mother Jenny Bartlett in the movie Occupation (2018, dir. Luke Spark.)
In the second clip, it’s the same movie, but this time Jenny Bartlett is clearly in the middle of a high-stakes battle, and she transforms from relaxed and easygoing mother to a brave and determined one. Not only does that showcase her actor’s type, but it also shows her range.
Identify your actor’s type and where they fit into the storyline and why they are there. If you can identify as much as you can you are more like to find success – casting directors want to see that you may fit the puzzle they are needing to put together. Then, in the following clips, show scenes where your role veers away from your type, to show that you’re versatile. Erin’s reel also contains scenes where she’s vulnerable (as Valeria in The Gift) or perky (scene opposite the army officer.)
Include two-hander scenes
Erin Connor’s showreel focuses heavily on strong character choices where she plays her part in the story and also her reels show how she is interacting with other actors. Your showreel should show not just the way you act in a scene but also the way you interact with other characters or actors. Other characters and other actors’ portrayal of these characters affect the whole context of a scene and most especially your own portrayal of your character. With a full picture of the context of the scene, casting directors can identify your acting choices.
Problem: I don’t have enough experience to build a showreel
Nothing to worry about there. You may either wait a little while until you gather some experience – for this, you need to make yourself familiar with amateur filmmaking and theatre in your area. Whether that’s a short film, a stage production, or even a commercial you’re hired for, the important thing is you can be seen, you’re gaining experience, and you’re improving all the time.
Or, you may opt to do screen tests instead. A screen test is where you film yourself acting. Do monologues or two-handers where a friend from behind the camera throws lines at you. Film different scenes and play different characters, put the clips together, and voila – you have your first showreel. You can view examples on the Acting section of this website.
Work with Erin Connor Today
Actor, presenter, and voice over talent Erin Connor’s experience and range in acting shines through in her demo reel. Check out Erin’s showreel and screen tests on this website. Have Erin in mind for your next project? Message her via this website’s contact form.