Get Hired: Top 5 Essential Demo Reel Elements For Acrobats, Gymnasts & Athletes
By Ashley Sutherland-Winch in collaboration with Rob Winch
Casting directors, coaches, and productions companies are scanning the internet for their next great performer. They watch demo reels by the thousands and know exactly what they are looking for in performers. Is your demo reel getting noticed?
Here are the top 5 essential elements that your demo or show reel must have to get hired now:
TheatreArtLife spoke with industry leaders who are hiring the top athletes, gymnasts, aerialists, acrobats, and performers from around the globe. They are sharing their secrets of what they notice, what they skip, and their advice to job seekers.
1- Maximum length of your video should not exceed 3 minutes
Grab their attention in the first 10 seconds with upbeat music and your best move, trick, skill. Then add a title screen with your Name, Height, Weight, and Date of Birth.
2- In the first 30 secs of your reel, demonstrate your physical condition
Coaches and casting directors are looking at your physical preparation. Demonstrate a skill like a chin up, leg left, and skin the cat in real time and then in fast forward mode to demonstrate the skill another ten times. This is a great time to present your overall body tone so dress accordingly. A baggy sweat suit is not a great look for this portion of your reel.
3- Demonstrate your top skills (but those that you can nail 10 out of 10 times)
Present diverse skills on a variety of apparatuses. It’s important to begin with advanced moves. Don’t demonstrate a single somersault/ salto if you can do a double. Be sure to present skills that you could perform in a show on a regular basis. Many productions run up to 480 shows a year and they are looking for performers that can work long term.
4- Include a Professional Performance Compilation
Demonstrate your professional body of work. It’s difficult in some productions to obtain actual show footage from your past shows, but if you are able to add a few seconds to your show reel, that’s great. If you are unable to get live show footage, rehearsal footage is a solid alternative, especially if show conditions are presented.
A brief montage of your production work should be added to your demo reel and be sure to label each show and year on your video.
*What if your production footage is old? It’s reasonable to include older footage but only if you can still perform the skills. If you can no longer demonstrate the skill, leave it on the cutting room floor. As a general rule, only keep recent production footage (i.e. three years – present) on your reel.
5- Let your voice be heard and show your personality
Companies want to hire the real person behind the skills. Take a moment in your demo reel to introduce yourself or at the end, thank the viewer for watching your reel. Keep it short and sweet but let your personality shine through.
Distributing your demo reel
Post your demo reel on social media like YouTube, Facebook Watch, and your social media accounts. If you are posting your reel on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter; use hashtags like #demoreel #showreel #demo.
When you want to send your demo to a production or casting director, send an email with the following components to make it easy for them to open and review your content.
a- The Email Subject Line
First Name, Last Name Demo Reel, Date (Month and Year)
b- The Email Body
Your cover letter should be entered into the body of your email. Don’t add the cover letter document as an attachment to the email or embed a link that goes to Google Docs or Dropbox.
c- Your Reel
Embed your video from YouTube, Facebook, or your Website but also attach your video to the email if it is a reasonable size.
d- Your Resume
Attach your resume as an attachment to the email in PDF and/ or Word. Most companies prefer PDF but some still like Word files so they can add notes. To be safe, send both versions.
The file name of your resume should be in the following format: First Name Last Name Resume/ CV/ Curriculum Vitae Date (Ex: James Bond Resume December 2017 OR James Bond CV December 2017 OR James Bond Curriculum Vitae 12/2017)
It is imperative to include your Name, Height, Weight, and Date of Birth. Other body measurements, hair and eye color, and clothing sizes are a bonus to include.
e- Hit Send and Follow Up
After you send an email, be sure to follow up in a week or two. It’s unlikely that you will receive a follow up email right away, but you can confirm that your email was received and often follow-up shows initiative to your future employer. Send a brief email to follow up:
Dear Mr. Bond,
I sent my demo reel for your consideration last week. If you have any questions, please contact me at (mobile phone OR email.) Thank you for taking the time to review my footage.
With warmest regards,
From all of us at TheatreArtLife, we wish you all the best with your future journey to get hired! Do you still have a question about demo reels or resumes? Send your question to submit@TheatreArtLife.com.
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