THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE PERFECT SHOWREEL with Brendon Hansford
Are you graduating from college this year?
Have you been in the industry for a while but still using the same old showreel?
Are you wanting to make a showreel, but have no idea where to start?
Look no further, here is a step by step guide to ensure that you get the best showreel possible, giving you a head-start on the competition and putting you one step closer to that dream job.
Earlier this month I interviewed Brendon Hansford, choreographer, videographer and self-proclaimed social media obsessive to find out his best advice on how to create a winning showreel. If you follow these steps, you will have a showreel that highlights your talents, gains the interest of casting agents and is something you can be proud of.
1. Be Prepared
You will probably only have 3/4 hours with your videographer so talk to them first to decide a theme and find a location. It may be that you have 4 or 5 styles you want to show off and you will need to decide the best place to perform them.
The more you speak to the videographer about what you are trying to achieve, the more he/she will help you and the easier it will be.If you are a more creative person and have an idea for the video, then take it to them, they will be far more excited about something different. You will get their interest and if its cool it may go viral and you might get seen by people you didn’t expect to be seen by.
DO NOT choose 4 separate locations all over London, you will waste time travelling and more than likely annoy your videographer. You won’t have time to get everything recorded and you will end up having to pay more.
Choose a location that has several locations within it as this will help to save time on the day. Central London is great but be aware of high levels of foot traffic. Don’t just research locations online, go out and view them so you can see if they are appropriate.
A great backdrop can make a low budget film look more expensive and it’s always worth getting one landmark in to give a sense of location e.g. the River Thames. Large alleyways look effective, however, don’t book an outdoor location in the winter, as you won’t perform at your best and you won’t be happy with the final product.
Photography studios are also good as a lot of places have brickwork and natural light, before you know it you have 4 locations within one space.
3. What To Wear
Have a different outfit for each style and do not wear anything that you would wear to take a class. Imagine it’s a photo shoot, film or music video, wear nice clothing that you can still move in, (no sportswear).
Think about hair and makeup and how you are going to progress it throughout the day. If you want natural make up for contemporary then start with that and finish with commercial where you will probably have the most makeup. This will help you save time.
DO NOT FREESTYLE! You will forget the things you wanted to include and get tired very quickly.
It’s also very hard for a cinematographer to structure the video if you are doing random things all the time. They may see something that would have looked great as a wide shot but they are filming in close-up.
Know the styles you want to use e.g. Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Commercial and have approximately 60 seconds choreographed per style. It doesn’t sound like a lot but when you have performed it 10 times, that’s all you need, just make sure you nail it every time.
If you don’t feel comfortable choreographing your own dances then ask someone to help e.g. if you attend a regular class, ask the teacher, just make sure you credit the choreographer. They may even help you perfect the routine, but remember that the final product will be edited so the most important thing is to include your tricks and big moves.
The videographer will probably want a couple of wide shots, 2/3 follow shots and maybe a couple of close ups. Ask them what they are doing as they film, so you can adjust appropriately. Always start with a wide shot, so they can watch the choreography and see the best bits to highlight.
You will have to pick your own music to put over the top of the video. I strongly advise against anything that’s in the charts or has been released as you don’t have the rights to the music. You can access free music on YouTube by typing in ‘Free Music’ there are plenty of people creating tracks for public use.
When an artist writes and produces the music they put on YouTube, they own the rights and so the more people that listen to their songs, the more money they can make from advertising. Just remember to credit them otherwise they can get the video taken down.
6. The Edit
It should be edited with your best bits at the beginning followed by a section for each style. There is a trick on YouTube that allows you to start the video at a specific time signature so that when you send it to agents, it starts at the most relevant point.
Once you have completed filming each 60-second video, ask the videographer if you can buy the wide shots unedited as you can use these as individual short reels for specific jobs.
A full showreel is more for your website, as most people won’t watch much more than 15 seconds, which is why you put all the impressive stuff at the beginning.
Remember, a showreel is your personal advertisement, it’s a Casting Directors first impression of you and you want it to be a good one. Don’t try and cut corners by doing it on a low budget, take the time to research and invest in the best person for you so that you have something you are proud of.
“Don’t think about what people see, think about who you’re competing with.” – Brendon Hansford
Let us know if this has been a helpful article and if you would like more of the same. Make sure you comment, post and share!
If you have any great recommendations for videographers, editors and choreographers then please link to them in the comments section below.
Post Author: Tash Thomas