Hey guys! Wade Boyes from Queensland Headshots here to answer a quick question I get asked a lot about. Showreel pieces and where to find scripts! So here is my answer .. a little long sorry lol Hope it helps!
It’s 2020 and you are wanting to find a script or two for your latest showreel update. You google scripts for female, scripts for male, 2 person scripts, showreel scripts, script for showreel, etc etc etc ….stop. Doing a script that has been done over and over and over by hundreds of actors could very well be a disservice to you. Casting directors see thousands of showreels and more than likely they have seen these rinse and repeat scripts over and over again and, whether they want to or not, there’s a good chance that previous performances of those scripts will influence their judgement of yours.
We live in a world of amazing access to online streaming of hundreds of TV shows. Netflix, Stan, Presto, Quickflix, Foxtel Play, iTunes so many places you can cheaply stream episode after episode….. So use them!
First, decide on the favorite character style you WANT to play. We don’t go for a job we hate in life, we shoot for the one we want. So our resume should reflect the ability to do that job. So if you like action drama roles then find a tv show that has those characters in it.
Second, find a character in that show that is a role you want and that you can play. No use wanting a role you physically are not able to play, or can’t play for some other reason.
Now you are set. Without knowing it, within 2 steps you have given yourself atleast a season of episodes to pick some 1 minute scenes from in a character range designed for your direction you are currently taking your acting career. Well done. So what’s next?
The third step is a little bit of a grind. You will need your stopwatch, or stopwatch app. A place to write or type scenes you find and some time for the search. Every character in every TV show will at some point multiple times show every emotion you want to include on a showreel. Even a dark drama will have moments of comedy (although probably dark haha but hey you picked the character) moments of grief, moments of heartache, moments of extremes and more. You just have to find them.
Fourth step! Scroll through an episode til your character comes on screen. Start your stopwatch when they interact with whoever it is in the scene (or starts their monologue) stop the stopwatch at the end of the exchange. If it’s within 30-120sec then it’s extremely useable for a showreel. The writer has done all the work for you! The arc of the scene has been designed to fit that scene length. So if you find one that goes for a minute then there is a start, middle and end. One of the biggest issues for showreels is when people take a long scene and just use a minute of it.. You lose the entirety of the scene by doing this, more than not, ofcourse there are exceptions but what I’m saying is. You don’t need to.
Scroll to your character, start stop the timer on the scene, rinse and repeat til you find the following;
1/ A scene that is less than 120 secs, closer to a min.
2/ The emotion / encounter / struggle you need eg. comedy piece, tough decision, moment of grief, light hearted report .. whatever
3/ A good scene (you will know)
Then on your document, pad, whatever, write down the Season, Episode, Start Time and Finish Time of that scene. Write down required props, location, additional characters, situational costume pieces.
Then find another piece. I suggest around 6 so you can make a couple of showreels.
Finally, write the script. It’s not rocket science. You would have read enough to know the basic structure.
What’s going on here??
Jake looks at Kate then back to Joe.
Nothing mate, I didn’t just kiss your wife…. Honest.
Dialogue and stage direction. Simple, simple, simple.. Use word, notepad or even one of the free script writing programs available like Celtx, Trelby .. etc.
Print, Learn, Film. You now have more than likely a showreel of pieces that casting directors have not heard over and over and over again. The fact they don’t know the scene will also help keep their attention. So get out there and film!
Oh and one more note. You do NOT have to a location, multiple character on screen showreel piece costing hundreds and hundreds of dollars. When a casting director wants to see your acting ability they send a request to for a self test, so don’t feel like there is anything wrong with filming that way for your showreel pieces. SAVE money and have your current acting ability on show rather than SPEND $$$ and have 6 month old acting ability due to the fact you can’t afford to update it.
Here at Queensland Headshots we only do “Audition Style” showreels. Which means it’s shot like you were doing a Screen Test in the same close up framing used in a Screen Test.
There are many benefits to this.
1/ With a blank background (although it doesn’t have to be) the casting directors watching are not getting distracted by the environment, or by the other actors in the scene’s performance. Good or bad it can take away from you and it’s YOUR performance that we want them to see.
2/ This allows for the people watching to see not only see your deliverance of lines but also your reactions to other characters while they are speaking without your face being turned away or distant from the camera.
3/ To shoot 3 scenes usually only takes an hour. We only charge $75 an hour. So you end up with a complete showreel for only $75. There are many benefits to this one of which is that as you improve over the coming months (and you will) you can afford to update your showreel. This prevents you having a showreel with 6 month old performances or longer!
4/ You can still put at the end of the showreel scenes you were in from different movies/shows but the first thing they see will be your current acting ability.
5/ We film in professional high quality picture and sound.
If you want the full production style location based showreel scenes we also do those! They are great for socials, media and friends and family, not required for casting directors etc however. I personally would suggest saving your money unless you are ready to invest in your marketing.
If you need a reader we can organise this at the additional cost of $30 p/h.