Our demo reel turnaround time is usually 48 hours. We're in Burbank.
... but whatever you do, don't spend a dime on a demo reel until you've learned these vital tips!
If you are an actor and need your demo reel edited because you want to get hired for more acting work or you're wondering "how to get an agent" then I've got some news for you.
The vast majority of actors trying to book jobs don't "get it." And that's why they're not booking jobs.
The fact of the matter is this: multimedia is here to stay. And it's never been easier to use. You can cut together your demo reel, post it on the web, and email it - so that casting directors and agents can be looking at your footage in mere moments. With just about everybody (my grandmother included) utilizing fast internet connections, demo reels via the internet are fast - and as important as headshots.
But dig this: A huge number of actors (HUGE!) don't even have a demo reel. And many of the actors that do have demo reels use footage from back in the day when Dallas, the Love Boat, and Knight Rider were on prime time. Dukes of Hazzard, anyone?
The truth is that having a demo reel is... well, let's hear it from the source:
"Not having [a current demo reel] absolutely decreases an actor's chances of getting hired. It looks like you've never worked in film or television. And what better way to see how an actor looks on film than to see their reel?" - Mark Sikes, casting director
You can't argue with Mark Sikes. In the world of casting, he's a superhero.
A good actor's demo reel
“Derrick’s genius helped me put together two dynamic sixty second demo reels - both comedy and drama. The five minute demo reel he put together for me was unbelievable. Within a week of its completion, I booked a lead in a movie... solely from the demo reel!” Jean St. James
“Derrick took my actors reel and turned it into guest star looking material! He has a flair for capturing just what a demo reel should be about - YOU!!! Thank you, Derrick! I am incredibly pleased!"
My name is Derrick, and I’m a video editor that specializes in creating marketing materials for actors that get them hired. And I am also an actor. I'm a graduate of the grueling two year Sanford Meisner school in North Hollywood. This means that if you edit with me, you'll not only get technical excellence in your video, but you'll be collaborating with somebody that understands the craft of acting and speaks in the "language" of what you do. (And I can cry on command. Really.)
I'm also a serious video editor. I've done work on feature films, commercials, television shows, and everything in between. I get paid the big bucks by networks to come in and work on their projects. I say this not to brag, but to make it clear that I am not one of these $125 per reel guys with a video editing studio set up in his uncle's garage. I've got world-class experience, and I have a blast doing it. In fact, my "day gig" is as a senior producer for a major cable network.
My clients get hired. They book feature films, the "hot" TV shows, and a lot of commercials. And a lot of that has to do with their reel. In fact, some of my clients return every few months to cut together new reels, so that they can market themselves with their most current footage. Imagine needing to update your reel every few weeks to stay current - that's gotta be rough, hm? (And these actors are some of the happiest people I know. I wonder why? Again, hm?)
Do you have any idea....
...what the most important thing you’ve got to have on any actor's reel is? Not including it could keep casting directors from hiring you. (We’ll put it there.)
...why fancy video transitions WILL NOT be on your demo reel?
“According to everyone I speak to in the industry, online demo reels are becoming a very valuable and vital casting tool. It is something every actor will need to succeed. Derrick’s product is solid and he welcomes your input. It’s your demo reel and your body of work - Derrick gets that. I was more than pleased with my demo reel and so was my agent.” - Bob Rumnock
...the things to put on your actors reel that’ll help get you hired, and the absolutely-do-not-put items that’ll hurt your chances?
... two things that your video editor absolutely has to have that will make the quality of your demo reel skyrocket? (I’ve got ‘em.)
... how to cut a scene down so that it features you at your best - and doesn’t favor other actors on your demo reel?
... how to cut your demo reel to the optimal length of time? Or how to get your reel at a length that “stacks the deck” in your favor so that more casting directors will watch all of it?
... how to effectively order your clips on your demo reels? The ways of putting your different pieces of footage in the right order to make a good actors reel even better?
... one silly mistake that most actors make that could cost you thousands of dollars after your demo reel is completed?
... what the most common sound mistakes are that can ruin a great demo reel, and how to avoid them and repair some of the worst offenders?
...why you should be careful handing out your actors reel in a DVD format - and the techniques we’ll use that will sidestep most of those problem? (Some of the other guys in town won't tell you this, and a few of them actually send defective DVDs out into the world!)
... why it helps when you are present when we edit your demo reel? (Some companies actually charge AN EXTRA $70 per hour to have you in the room during the editing process!)
... why quality can take a huge beating when it's put on the internet? Find out how we will cut your demo reel in such a way that it looks good when “compressed” for the web.
... how to protect your precious VHS footage so that it doesn’t turn into a magnetic pile of unusable, static-filled mush? (You'll thank me for this trick in a few years... and I'll show you why.)
... demo reel advice for those of you who want to know how to get an agent...
My schedule is busy. But I'll make time for you.
I will make slots available for clients that want to create an ongoing relationship with me. If you're ready to get serious about your acting career, then I would be thrilled to meet you and use my skills to market you in your best possible light. I get a kick out of working with good actors - and it's always a pleasure to get yet another phone call from a client telling me that they booked another movie, TV show, or national commercial. Being "serious" doesn't necessarily mean that you've got a list of credits like Keifer Sutherland (yet) - it just means that you are willing to work hard at being good at your craft.
But if you look at my rates, you might think that I charge a little more than the other demo reel guys. Wrong. Most other places will give you an hourly rate, and these guys are often so painfully slow on their systems that their incompetence will cost you money. I am beyond fast. I know every shortcut there is in the book, and I've got an eight-core Mac Pro with 8 GB of RAM. The fastest one they make. Which means that other editors will charge you more because their computer is so slow. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: we can get your reel done in an evening and your copies will be done the next morning in most cases. And won't that be a weight off? There are editors in town that will take a week or two to do your reel. I am not one of them.
My clients know that I'm worth it. Why? Because the reels I produce for my clients get them hired. One of my clients just cut his reel and was picked up almost immediately by William Morris. And when you get hired for an acting job that pays you the big bucks, you'll realize that investing in your demo reel was the smartest money you could have ever spent. Did you get paid good money to be in front of the camera today? Are you ready to?
Oh, but if you keep looking there are some really cheap demo reel editors out there. Like a hundred bucks cheap. Are you willing to risk your career to somebody that doesn't really do this for a living? And think about this: how fast would you run away from somebody that offered you an entire headshot package, with your sitting, makeup, and printing included, for less than a hundred bucks? You might as well get your headshots done at Sears. For me (and you), this is serious business. We can get you booking jobs ... or you can go to one of those kids that cut together actor's reels in his mom's garage while he's paying off his film school debt - and wind up with a lousy reel that doesn't get you hired. It's your choice. Some of these editors actually will burn DVDs that don't work. How would you like to finally get your work into the hands of the person that can finally give you your "lucky break" - and then the DVD doesn't play?
(By the way, while some of these tots were in film school, I was learning the video business the old fashioned way: by apprenticing with editors who are master craftsmen. It's one thing to read about a concept in a textbook, and quite another to learn that concept by taking your lumps and getting smacked around by the "big boys" of video and film editing, working 18 hour days under their (often brutal) tutorage, hoping for a rare "attaboy." I haven't yet met a recent film school editor that I couldn't smack around one-handed.)
I've got many a trick up my sleeve that I only share with my clients. So many, in fact, that I've written an entire book (published!) on the art and science of putting together a demo reel for actors (you can find it at www.demoreelsecrets.com and it's actually been a bestseller at Amazon!) In 157 pages, it discusses the things you need to know before you start working with a video editor - and I've made the learning process completely pain-free. (Reading my book before starting your demo reel session could save you a few hundred bucks in someone else's editing suite.) If you'd like to read a bit of a sample chapter, then go here.
I'll make it really easy on you. I'm the only guy in town that offers his clients this: a no-holds-barred, 100% satisfaction guarantee. If, for any reason, you're not satisfied with your reel when we've finished producing it, then you don't spend a dime. No B.S., no weasel clause, nothing. If you're not happy, then when we're done editing, you can walk away without having spent one penny. I said that I'm confident in my ability to create you a reel that you'll be thrilled with, and I put the rubber to the road by offering you that guarantee. (And I honor it, too. I mailed a client some DVD dupes a while ago, and the post office lost them. So I created additional dupes, mailed those out (Fed Ex this time!) ... and refunded his credit card for the purchase. (Weeks later, our friends at the United States Post Office did deliver his package, so he wound up getting one heck of a deal. And I learned my lesson about how to ship dupes in the future.)
I've made a serious study of marketing and doing things contrary to what other people do to market themselves. (And my marketing works! This is a long letter - and look how much of it you've read! If you've gotten this far, then there's your proof that unconventional marketing obviously works. The masses are asses - and I do things differently. Do you want to get acting jobs, or do you want to be like everybody else?)
If you'd like to learn the questions that you absolutely must ask any video editor before you hire them, then feel free to check out an excerpt from my book by going here: Discover the questions that any actor absolutely positively must ask a video editor... before you spend a single cent.
When you call and make an appointment for a free consultation - at (818) 559-2255 - or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, then we can get the process started so that you'll have an amazing marketing tool. And you’ll learn the secrets that will make your reel a success. Plus, you will avoid many of the mistakes that actors have made in the past. (And yes, I do accept credit cards, because I understand that a quality demo reel is a smart investment for your money. Just getting hired for ONE job will pay for your reel many times over, so I make that available to my clients.)
To answer one other question: Yes, after dealing with the massive emails I get about this, yes. Yes, I can edit your reel for you if you don't live in Hollywood. We can make arrangements for you to ship your materials to me, and we'll be in contact over the phone and via email until the job is completed. I will email you small quicktime files for your approval, and the reel won't be finished until you say that it is. I've had a lot of clients get successful results from working this way.
Successful actors are always successful marketers - so it’s time that you used these tools and my expertise to your advantage. Call me at (818) 559-2255 to schedule an appointment to talk about putting together your demo reel. I look forward to hearing from you.
Editor, Gearhead, and
Sanford Meisner trained actor
P.S. If you'd like to see examples of some of the mistakes that people are making every day on their reels, then sign up for my free 7 part course by filling out the form in the middle of this webpage. (Or go there by clicking here.
P.P.S. And check out my links: