Showreel Service FAQ

Okay, so you’ve found our website and you’ve had a good look around ,maybe watched a few of our films (please leave us feedback by the way) and you have seen our showreel service. So now you’re considering putting down some of your hard earned cash on getting a new reel done, but before you open your wallet, you want to ask us a few questions first! Fine, this is exactly what this page is for. Have a look at some of our most frequently asked questions:

HOW MUCH DO SHOWREELS COST?

Showreel Editing costs £80

Showreel Scenes Created From Scratch and Speeches £200-450

For a full list of prices please click here to see our prices page

HOW QUICKLY CAN YOU EDIT MY REEL?

How much footage do you have? If you only have a DVD with one scene on it we could probably get your reel done that same day, however, if you give us a box full of VHS and a mountain of DVDs and web links it will take considerably longer. As a rule of thumb, we shall say the majority can be done within a week. However ,this varies from person to person, so the best thing to do is send us an email and tell us roughly how much stuff you have and what you’re after and we can give you an estimate. On average most showreels take 3-5days.

I NEED A QUICK TURNOVER! I NEED A SHOWREEL EDIT DONE IN 48HOURS! IS THIS POSSIBLE?

This is possible however it will depend entirely on our current work load at the time of booking and your organisation.

For turnovers as short as this all your footage would have to be online already!  If you’d need to post footage to us it wouldn’t be possible to get the reel done in 48hours purely because of the delay caused through posting. You would also have to be extremely organised and easily contactable. You would need to know exactly what scenes/clips you’d want in your reel and what order.

The booking form would be the best way for you to contact us. In the message box you would need to include ALL THE LINKS to your footage. We can’t edit a reel quickly if you’re still hunting for all your footage 30hours into the editing process. So just to clarify this if you desperately need a new edit in a short space of time, you should have all your footage organised and collected before contacting us, we would need all the links to all your footage so we can download them and begin working.

We need all clients to check proof copies of a reel we can’t finish a reel if you haven’t checked a proof. This would mean you’d have to be easily contactable.

When the reel has been approved it will be emailed across to you via wetransfer.

CAN I SIT IN ON THE EDIT?

No, we don’t currently offer this service.

HOW LONG SHOULD MY REEL BE?

The shorter the better. I would suggest at max 3mins 30 seconds.

Some actors will want more time then this and push for an extra 10seconds. Simply put 4 minutes is far too long. If your current reel is clocking in at 4mins or over you need to re-edit your reel as soon as possible. Most Casting directors will only watch the first 10-20seconds.

SHOULD MY SHOWREEL BE IN HD?

Your showreel should be in the highest possible format. Now that does not mean it should automatically be rendered in HD!  If the other footage in your reel was not shot in HD then your reel should not be in HD. You don’t want videos to look pixelated or stretched. We can advise you on the options when editing a reel for you.

WHAT ARE AGENTS/CASTING DIRECTORS LOOKING FOR IN A SHOWREEL?

In this order exactly:

1) Can they see you clearly!

2) Can they hear you clearly!

3) Your acting ability.

SHOULD I GET A MONTAGE ?

This is your choice. Montages add a personal touch to a reel. However I would strongly advise against montages. You don’t have a lot of time to showcase yourself, montages don’t tell or show a viewer anything! They take up valuable space and no one can tell how good your acting is during a montage.  We are happy to make montages for actors however we will always advise against it.

CAN YOU MAKE CUSTOM SOUND TRACKS FOR MY SHOWREEL?

Yes,some actors like montages at the start of their reel and these montages normally need some music to fit in line with the images (look at Richard Roberts’ reel and Pradeep Jay’s reel as they’re good examples).

WHY DO I NEED A CUSTOM TRACK? I MEAN MY FAVOURITE BAND IS “INSERT HERE” CAN’T I JUST USE THEIR CHART TOPPING SONG!?

You can and then a record company will happily ask you to pay for the privilege. This price will normally be far too much money for you to consider it a viable option, also it’s a lot of paper work and hassle for you to fill out.

BUT MY FAVOURITE BAND ARE UNKNOWN/INDEPENDENT/ UNDERGROUND, LIKE THEY’RE NOT AS BIG AS THE BEATLES?

Well, there’s still a strong chance, in fact a 99% chance your favourite band still have a record label that will be more then happy to contact you asking for you to pay the rights to use their songs.

Let’s give you an example; my favourite band is Alter Bridge, they’re nowhere near as popular as Lady Gaga, but I’m pretty sure they’ll both happily contact me asking for royalties if I dare use their work on my videos.

However, if your favourite band is a myspace/undiscovered band or your best mates’ garage band who literally are unknown and are unsigned altogether, why not contact them directly and ask for permission to use their track for 30 seconds on your showreel. They’ll most likely be looking for more exposure and will probably say “yes”. None the less, make sure you get written permission before you give us their track!

I HAVE WORKED FOR THE BBC AND ITV (etc) CAN I USE THEIR FOOTAGE IN MY REEL?

Yes, in theory, as long as you have legal permission to do so. Normally when I’m on an acting job, I tend to ask (even if it’s already been confirmed) “will I be able to use this footage on my showreel?” . If your not doing this already, make this a force of habit. Let people know your intentions to avoid any potential problems later. Generally it’s fine to upload a small scene of yours. You may be in a full episode of a show, but it’s not your episode so you don’t own the legal rights to it.  Therefore you can’t simply upload that whole episode to Youtube for example. You can however, cut 30 seconds out and say “here’s a scene from ……”, that’s fine. However, in many cases some shows get uploaded to Youtube legally anyway (4OD) so you could always get a small selection of your acting and then put a link to the full episode up on your website.

I WAS ON TV LAST NIGHT! BUT MY VHS WAS BROKEN SO I DON’T HAVE A COPY. CAN YOU DOWNLOAD IT FOR ME?

No, that would be rather illegal.

WELL HOLD ON, YOU SAID YOU CAN DOWNLOAD MY FOOTAGE FROM THE INTERNET!?

Yes we can download footage from certain websites.

Now you can always contact a production company (or get your agent to) and ask them to send over a copy of your work. This isn’t always a guarantee they will send it but surprisingly some companies will happily give you a copy of your work, sometimes instead of sending you a DVD they upload the footage to a private server and give you a web link. In fact if it’s an advert, they most likely will reply with a YouTube link that has a HD version online.

I HAVE LOADS OF VHS TAPES WHAT CAN YOU DO?

We can put them onto our PC and save them to a disk for you so you never have to lug them around again. We can also colour correct them to make them look a little bit better and take out a few years of general wear and tear.

I DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT I WANT MY REEL TO LOOK LIKE, MONTAGES, AND HEADSHOTS IT’S ALL A BIT CONFUSING?

How about we make you a few versions and let you pick?

OKAY THIS “REELS FROM SCRATCH” STUFF LOOKS PRETTY INTERESTING. I THINK I WANT THAT BUT WHAT DO I GET FOR MY MONEY?

Well, we talk to you about how you want to portray yourself as an actor and what character you see yourself as. We create a custom script to highlight your ability. We find the locations and then we film your scene in HD. In fact the majority of people opting for this service have filmed these scenes in their very own homes to save time and hassle, so you may want to consider this option. We then edit it for you, put it on a DVD and there you go! You have a brand new reel! (You will be emailed a much more in depth information pack when booking).

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

We always try to  ensure you get the best possible service and product from us, so it does take a while to set up and organise. At a push, the whole process including the consultation, script development ,shoot and edit can all be done in a week (however this would require you to be easily contactable).

To be honest we could do the whole thing in 2 days and really rush through it, but it will show. It’s best to take your time with your reel, you don’t want people thinking your just running through the motions, and you want to look like we have lifted this scene straight from a film/short film.

On average most scenes created from scratch take around 3weeks in total from the initial discussions to the final edit.

I HAVE WRITTEN A SCRIPT AND I NEED YOU TO FILM IT CAN YOU?

No.

I ONLY WANT HOLLYWOOD STYLE SCENES IN MY REEL. I NEED BIG SETS ,COSTUMES, EXTRAS AND MY OWN DRESSING ROOM WILL ALL THIS BE PROVIDED FOR THE £200-450 PRICE?

No.

WHY NOT?

We are micro budget we couldn’t afford to re-create a Hollywood style scene. Also why would you need a big set/costumes for a showreel? Do you want the view to judge you on the production quality or your acting ability?

BUT I WANT PEOPLE TO THINK I’VE DONE HOLLYWOOD WORK WHEN THEY WATCH MY SHOWREEL.

Once they read your CV they will realise you haven’t (unless you have in which case I’m sure you would have a body of work to use in a reel anyway). However if you want a Hollywood credit it’s only a nine hour flight , years of grind and hard work, lots of rejection and endless auditions away. Anything is possible if you try hard enough.

CAN WE SHOOT IN A CAVE (INSERT YOUR OWN EXTREME LOCATION) ?

Sadly being based in East London we don’t have access to many caves. Location wise we have a lot of standard locations available :

Living Room, kitchen, Dining Room, Bedroom, Park, Forest, Car, Garage, Garden.

You must remember that you are the star of your showreel not the background!

I’M NOT IN LONDON CAN I GET MY REEL DONE BY SCRATCH?

Sadly we can’t offer our service to non-London based residents. We have had clients travel down to London to work with us, so if this is a possibility for you it maybe worth considering.  We are looking to expand in the near future but at this current time we can only off this service to London based clients, and all of our other services are available to anyone in the UK.

I WANT A PERIOD SCENE IN MY SHOWREEL SOMETHING TO SHOW MY CLASSICAL RANGE AND ABILITY CAN WE SHOOT A BIG COSTUME DRAMA PIECE ? 

Sadly we can’t offer this service. The simple reason is cost. Costume dramas are extremely expensive to recreate. The costumes alone in some cases will cost thousands, then the locations for such a piece are not only highly difficult to find but cost a small fortune to rent. All of which can’t be achieved on our budget.

However many actors are forgetting the most basic principles of a showreel.  A casting director/agent only wants to : 1) SEE YOU  2) HEAR YOU  3) JUDGE YOUR ACTING ABILITY.

They do not care about the editing, the special effects, the tricks you perform in a scene or the action or even the background and clothes you are wearing.  You do not need to recreate a BBC restoration piece to get an audition.

Many actors asking for these types of scenes are only asking because they want to land an audition for top TV Shows like Downton Abby. This is unnecessary I can say this confidently because after creating a scene from scratch using contemporary dialogue. One of our clients got in touch saying they landed an audition with Downton Abby with the casting director referencing how much they enjoyed their showreel.  Now we are not saying we made a showreel and that got the actor got an audition. The truth is the actor in this example was professional & worked extremely hard in building a professional relationship with the casting director. Then presented herself in the best possible way by having a good strong showreel, a strong CV and strong headshots.  Before that actor had even contacted us she had been working very hard on researching, networking and building her CV. The showreel she asked us to create was designed to portray a certain image that she thought would appeal to that casting director and apparently it did.

So if you’d like a period scene to show your range it’s worth thinking carefully about the reasons behind why you would want one primarily?

We have two options for actors that would like a period scene within their reel:

1) We can shoot a speech direct to camera

2) We can root a scene in a modern setting using classical dialogue.

Either will have the same desired effect.

DVD DUPLICATION? I NEED 1000 COPIES OF MY SHOWREEL LABLED AND READY TO GO! WHAT CAN YOU DO?

We currently can’t offer such a service.

MY SHOWREEL- HOW WILL I RECEIVE IT?

We upload the files to a website called WeTransfer/Copy. We then send you an email. You can then download the files to your computer.

It will also be viewable on YouTube via our Channel.

DVD’s are only available on request and we charge for the postage.

WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND IN TERMS OF DVD LABELS? 

A casting director once said to me “what’s on this is more important then on the face of it“. We are giving you a master copy of your reel, so we wouldn’t expect you to take the one disk and post it out! You can take this disk to a professional duplication service and they will be able to duplicate the disk and create a much more impressive package for marketing you. We are currently looking into expanding our operation so in future you will be able to get this service from us, but until then unfortunately, you will have to seek other sources to get mass quantities printed/duplicated.

I WANT THE RUSHES FROM OUR SHOOT (REEL FROM SCRATCH PACKAGE) CAN YOU SEND THEM OVER TO ME ON A DVD?

No. We shoot on 1080p HDV and the files for the rushes are enormous. We wouldn’t be able to fit them on a single DVD. We currently don’t have the facilities to burn to Blu Ray either, so we would be unable to upload them to that format. Likewise, uploading such large files to the Internet would take ages and for the average person downloading such files would wipe out your monthly download limits.

LOOK ,I REALLY WANT THE RUSHES FROM THE SHOOT! IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO?

Yep for £100 extra we can give you the master tape we shot on. However, keep in mind if you buy this tape from us we will no longer have access to the footage. Therefore it would be your responsibility to upload /convert this format. In short ,if you have the master tape you can do whatever you want with it but we won’t be able to offer you any help.

Also keep in mind if you take the master tape all the footage will be in a raw format! This means the video won’t have been colour corrected/graded and the audio won’t have been modified (to name but a few things).

(Just for guidance purposes 99% of our clients don’t request master tapes, so unless you know a professional editor it’s not recommended to request/purchases masters.)

HOW LONG DO YOU KEEP MY WORK ON YOUR DATABASE?

One year. After one year we archive it and remove it from our main database. If you need a new reel after 12months you may have to give us all your old/new footage again.

I WANT A REEL MADE FROM SCRATCH BUT 3 SCENES ISN’T ENOUGH I THINK I WANT A FEW MORE. HOW MUCH WOULD THAT COST?

It would be £50 for each additional scene you required.

SPOTLIGHT UPLOADING- CAN YOU UPLOAD MY SHOWREEL TO SPOTLIGHT FOR ME?

We can indeed but it’s an optional service and we don’t charge for the service. It is not a standard feature in a showreel package. As a result we can not be held responsible for any complications that may occur on Spotlights website.  For more information on this see our page SPOTLIGHT CASTING CALL PRO UPLOADING 

WHAT IS PAY PAL?

PayPal is an international e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. Online money transfers serve as electronic alternatives to paying with traditional paper methods, such as checks and money orders. – Wikipedia/Paypal 2014 

WHY ARE YOU USING PAY PAL?

PayPal allows you a safer, quicker and more flexible way to make donations and book showreels. You also don’t need a PayPal account to use PayPal you can use any major bank/credit card. For more information on PayPal please visit: http://www.paypal.com 

CAN I PAY FOR A SHOWREEL ANY OTHER WAY?

Yes, if you prefer you can pay by bank transfer. When you fill the showreel booking form out we will send you an invoice. You can pay via bank transfer or PayPal.

DO YOU NEED TO PAY FOR THE ENTIRE COST OF THE SHOWREEL UPFRONT?

No, but we will require a deposit upfront.

WHY?

A lot of creative industry providers freelancers editors/photographers/designers etc are being strongly advised to seek either deposits or full payments upfront to protect themselves. It’s a personal preference which they choose. After careful deliberation we decided seeking a deposit upfront was the best option.  We tried working different systems previously and have found this to be the best method for both our customers and ourselves.

DO I GET A COPY OF MY SHOWREEL ON DVD ?

Upon request only, you will be charged for the postage.

ONCE I GET A COPY ON DVD CAN I BURN IT TO MY PC?

Yes. It’s your own personal copy however why burn a disk when you could simply download the file ?

CAN YOU GIVE ME ADVICE ON HEADSHOTS?

No.

CAN YOU DO ACTORS HEADSHOTS?

No.

WILL THERE BE A MAKE UP ARTIST FOR MY SHOWREEL SHOOT?

No. We are currently working towards having a make up artist available for actors shoots however it’s not a service we currently provide. The vast majority of our clients have had no make up or have done there own make for showreel shoots.

CAN I USE MY SHOWREEL SHOOT AS A CREDIT ?

No.

WHY NOT I PAID FOR A SHOWREEL?

For multiple reasons.  Instead of listing them we’d rather give you a brief story of an event from 2014;  in October 2014 we were contacted by a director asking to view the “feature film” we had shot with (Insert name). The director was very interested in the actor and like the premise of the film. We explained to this director we are currently in pre-production of a feature but nothing had been shot! Or advertised or announced. We also explained the title wasn’t something we were familiar with. The director was very disappointed. It was then discovered by both parties that the actor had “jazzed” up our showreel scene and claimed it was a segment from a feature and had even gone as so far to edit the footage to contain a banner saying “courtesy of Shoe String Filming” to help enhance this lie . This did not reflect well on the actor. Needless to say the director went in a different direction with his casting choice.  We also contacted the actors agent to ask them remove this false credit from their CV.

Copyright © [ShoeString Filming / Alexandre Ross] [2014]. All rights reserved.