Here Are More Tips From Gwyn Gilliss, TAM: Commercial Demo Reels There are many trends in the industry in reference to marketing tools.
For example, a black and white headshot was the rule of the day for
the last several decades. NOW, everyone has color headshots-
they’re more accurate in terms of skin tone, color of hair and eyes.
And they’re easier for Casting Director’s to determine your type.
Just plain vertical headshots were also the standard request. Now,
with creative photography, some headshots are horizontal (with
and without the top of the head cropped), medium “close-up” shots
(from the chest up) and medium shots (from the waist up) and even
3/4 length where the actor is standing in a cobblestone street or
sitting in a chair or leaning against a window frame. There are a lot of options. And they’re all great!
Similarly, there are NEW TRENDS in DEMO REELS that savvy actors
are quickly picking up on. Trend #1 – In addition to having an acting reel it’s becoming very
popular to have a “Personality Slate”. They’re essential when an
audition comes up and you have nothing on tape to show a
Casting Director. Personality Slates are very common in LA where
casting for roles on Primetime come up fast and furious and they
need to see you on camera before an actual LIVE audition. They’re especially useful if your acting reel is outdated -more than a year or two old. A Personality Slate is merely you talking about yourself within a 1-2 minute time limit. Nothing fancy but very real. Very effective. And the main thing is that you can shoot one and have it in hours or a day or so. It’s quick! Just book time with a studio that shoots demo’s. Get your final DVD and email it to the CD. It works!
Trend #2 – And now, instead of auditioning prospective clients
in their offices with “cold copy” (who has time for that anymore?), Commercial Agents are becoming enamored with Commercial Demo’s. They can insert one in their computer, or see your work on line at a social media site and send you out immediately!
What’s a Commercial Demo?
Very simply, you perform 2 short commercial spots in a studio
(sky blue paper backdrop, professional lighting, etc.) duplicating
the REAL commercial audition experience. You slate your name and
talk directly into the camera. The total time for both spots is about
40 seconds to a minute. Easy. Do most actors have commercial demo’s? NO, not yet. Those that do are usually the actors who are already
having a successful career shooting commercials. They have clips
from actual shoots – major market, network and probably regional
jobs from which they are making residual income. Why do I need one? If you want to appear to be a working actor- successfully shooting commercials – why not do what working actors do? Show your commercial technique by appearing in a video-taped demo! As long as it’s professionally shot and you have been prepped there’s no problem. As a matter of fact, the problem of convincing a commercial agent to send you out for auditions is solved. IF they can SEE your work on camera, you look good, read authentically and are compelling, entertaining, attractive, WHY wouldn’t they send you out? How do I get a Commercial Demo? Easy. Find a company that shoots demos. (see below) Do I Have to have commercial experience to shoot one? No. All you need is the ability to talk naturally into the camera.
You’ll be given actual commercial scripts, get prepping on your
“slate”, the read, the “button”, what to wear, makeup and hair
style and just about everything else just before your shoot. It
normally takes about 30 minutes.
Where else can I use my Commercial Demo? Almost everywhere. On your website, in an email with a link to
your website, Facebook, Twitter, UTube, My Space…any social
media site that accepts video. Keep one in your backpack or
shoulder bag so when you meet an agent you have SOMETHING
showing your on-camera work in a short commercial version. Of course, having all THREE demo’s would be ideal-
a Personality Slate, a Commercial Demo and an Acting reel but
until you can gather all those clips from films you’ve shot or you
get cast in a viable project and shoot a few commercials- get a
Commercial Demo Reel Services Offered by TAM
(this is not in my budget at the moment but it seems like a great investment, I suggest shopping around if price is an issue for you!)
Stay Tuned For More Tips!!