How to know how long a showreel should be

Your showreel is your 'corporate brochure', it's how you market your product. You are the product. There are no set rules for your showreel and everyone has their own ideas about what they want to see in a showreel.

A good guideline for showreel length is 3 to 4 minutes. Time is a key factor, you've probably got loads of video you want to include to show off different roles and versatility. But let's be honest, a casting director, director or whoever is watching your showreel, doesn't have the time. They've got hundreds of showreels to get through so they'll probably only watch the first 30 seconds to a minute anyway. If someone really, reallylikes it, then they might watch the whole thing, but still only 3-4 minutes tops.

With that in mind, you need to make an impact in the first 30 seconds...

  • Skip the montage.

    It looks pretty, but it doesn't actually show you acting, and that's ultimately what they're looking to see.

  • Best stuff first.

    You might have made a nice short film, incorporating a little story/theme from your different roles, culminating in your best work at the end - but people might never see the end. Put your very best work right at the start.

  • Contact details.

    Put your contact details at the start so everyone knows who you are. Two or three seconds only, don't waste time - people have a pause button to take note of them. Equally as important - check for typing errors!

  • Short transitions.

    Make the transitions between pieces short - a direct cut or a short fade is fine.

When deciding what to put in your showreel, be honest with yourself. No matter how much you might be sentimental to a past job, if it's not making you look good then you're wasting time.