Q: What makes Showreels Australia any different to the other companies doing the same thing?
Firstly, when Showreels Australia began operating, there were two other businesses, one involving good quality reels and tuition but with long courses attached, and the other, cheap and low quality. Now, there are many wannabe players in the game. Showreels Australia has three major differences (and we believe these are biggies) to any of our competitors:
1) We are primarily filmmakers. Although our showreels business is here to stay and its content quality is constantly improving, Showreels Australia has always operated as a production company for digital filmmaking. We shoot corporate work and short films along with brand new content for Actors’ reels. We have used former clients as scene partners for new clients, hired them for corporate work and even cast a former-client in Showreels Australia’s first Trop Fest entry film! Our consistent aim is to get Actors working.
2) We are not tied down. We could shoot you something tomorrow. The business structure at Showreels Australia is kept deliberately fluid. We change deals if we find a better idea, incorporate feedback from our clients and industry leaders, travel distances to shoot scenes (instead of locking you in a studio), shoot many kinds of work (from monologues to two-handers and short films) and have a slate of projects and initiatives that will continue to educate Actors and stimulate work-creation in our industry.
3) We are constantly evolving. Showreels Australia is in regular contact with Casting Directors and industry leaders to ensure we remain at the top of our game. Initiatives that fail to produce fruit are buried as easily as they are sprouted, we are under no obligation to perpetuate a good idea that simply didn’t catch on. Casting Directors praise the transparency and flexibility of our business. Agents regularly thank us for reinvigorating a client’s marketability and Actors themselves have frequently raved about the personalised attention they receive, from their initial phone call through to the completion of their entire package of work.
Q: What are Casting Directors looking for in a showreel?
There are as many answers to this as there are Casting Directors. Our research tells us that they want to find talent they can cast. Simple as that. Talent that they can cast. If they can’t see you (because the clip is too dark); can’t hear your natural voice (because you’re putting on a ‘character voice’ or the sound is substandard); don’t see any level of skill in the material you choose or you play a character that doesn’t suit your current ability as an Actor, then they’ll simply move on to the next reel. At Showreels Australia, we encourage Actors to stretch themselves but not cast themselves in roles that put them out of contention. Even pre-existing material is edited with this idea in mind.
On a list of questions we asked Casting Directors in a survey last year, ranging from ‘Talent’ and ‘Skill’ to ‘Appearance’ and ‘Range’ to ‘Multiculturalism’ and ‘The Next Big Thing’, the top three replies to ‘What are you looking for?’ were:
1) A ‘type’ I can cast
2) A interesting ‘look’
3) Unique ‘choices’
Q: Why do I need to spend money on a professional showreel? Can’t I just do it myself on my Mac?
Of course you can. Look around on the internet for showreels and see if you can pick the ones done by the Actor themselves (or a film school graduate friend) and those done by professionals. It’s sadly very easy to tell the difference. One of our competitors will even create you something for $155! Check out our examples and prices, then imagine the quality you will get for $155.
The quality of a scene taken from a full movie or TV show will frequently be better than something you shoot on its own, due to the overall production budget. People make the mistake, though, of thinking that shooting one scene should cost nothing, but we believe that if an Aussie TV drama costs half to three quarters of a million dollars per episode (and they do), then surely – to maintain the quality – it should be proportional. This is what we strive to achieve.
Other than the distinct difference in quality, you will find that professionals know the technical specifications for uploading/sending scenes/reels and – ideally – have hard-won industry contacts that a friend (or brand new film school graduate won’t). You really do get what you pay for. The choice is yours.
Q: Can I get a Showreel as quickly as possible that is great quality and cheap?
At Showreels Australia, we promise that we can be FAST, we can be GOOD and we can be CHEAP. Unfortunately, to consistently provide all three simultaneously would put us out of business (or in an institution of some kind.) Good & fast cannot be cheap, cheap & good will not be fast and fast & cheap won’t really be that good. It’s your choice. Whichever combination you select, you will get a solid effort to please, so pick your two priorities and let us get to work on your project!
Q: Can you create more than one scene for me?
Of course, we’ll produce as many as you want. Just remember the age-old rule of ‘Quality, not quantity’.
Q: Am I better off with one great scene or a few not-as-great ones?
We have polled Australian Casting Directors on this very question. Some say they want to see more of your acting, regardless of the quality and others say they switch it off if the quality is bad and prefer one short, sharp, great clip. Our belief is that they are both saying the same thing – if the acting eclipses the production value, then fine, but if not, then a well made, good-looking scene makes you look like a professional until you learn the skills to be a great actor. It puts you in the game.
We once heard an ‘expert’ in the industry denounce a showreel because it was only one scene. “That’s not a showreel”, they complained. The fact that the Actor had nothing else to put on a reel was a missing fact in their argument. If you have multiple quality scenes to use, great, but if you’re just starting out, use what you have and make it brilliant.
Q: I have a friend who wants to split a scene with me, is that OK?
You are making the scene for you. They are making the scene for them. This rarely works out, as both of you end up with half a scene. At Showreels Australia, in the writing and editing, we make no apology for favouring you. If they want to be in your scene, that’s cool, but they’ll get a much smaller proportion of screen time. Otherwise, the audience may forget who it’s about or worse – walk away thinking your partner was brilliant and forget about you. A showreel is a promotional tool for you, not your friend.
Q: Can I edit in existing material with a brand new scene?
Absolutely. And we encourage you to do so. Be wary though, that the quality level we achieve at Showreels Australia these days may make your other footage look substandard. This is no hollow boast; this is simply something we’ve observed since we began our business. Make sure that all footage you use in a showreel is of a similar standard in terms of quality. The other downfall with using substandard footage is that it looks like it was shot a long while ago and can indicate that you haven’t worked for some time.
Q: I don’t have locations or scripts or scene partners. Where do I begin?
By contacting us! Showreels Australia can work out everything for you. We have a massive menu of hungry Actors and appetising scripts. The perfect location/s can be found by Showreels Australia for an extra fee (you can imagine how many favours we’ve pulled in over the years), but we find that clients are often best to ask friends and family first.
Although some clients bring along great scenes, we frequently suggest options from our ever-expanding database of scripts that have never been used (to our knowledge) before. The days of performing a scene because it was easy to find are over. Performing scenes that other Actors all have on their reels is a good way to force casting Directors to switch off and – at best – results in comparisons between you and the last Actor they saw do it (if not the Actor who just received the Academy Award for the same role 6 months ago).
Q: What are the costs associated with shooting a Showreels Australia showreel?
That depends entirely upon what you are after. Despite having a raft of deals with competitive prices, we find that the majority of our clients have individually negotiated the final price, based on their specific needs. Some Actors want a scene, some need three. Others are after a quick monologue and one even created an exceptional period piece by casting family and friends, sourcing costumes and finding a beautiful church as a location! The result is amazing.
You may simply need your existing material edited, in which case you would have different needs. You may, however, wish to add your material to our pioneering Visume and order duplication or add production music and SFX, all of which will change the cost of your package.
The best way to start is to contact us through our contact us page and tell us what you want. We will contact you shortly after receiving your contact form and give you a call or reply to your email. After speaking with a Showreels Australia representative, you will most likely receive a written quote within the hour, which is valid for 14 days. If you wish to proceed, simply pay the deposit amount listed to secure your slot, if not, we hope we’ve helped you clarify exactly what you’re looking for.