Showreel advice for Actors from Sue Needleman, CDG

Sue's numerous television credits include Young Dracula, The Dumping Ground, Tracy Beaker, The Bill and Locked Up Abroad.

Sue’s Advice for Actors:


  • Get straight into it: Don’t waste time with music and montages.
  • It’s all about you: Choose scenes which focus on you.
  • Keep it short: No more than 3 minutes.
  • Gear changes: Choose scenes which show a range of emotions.
  • Make sure the footage is well lit.
  • Put your strongest footage first.
  • Begin and end strong.
  • Include scenes in your native accent.

Your Profile/CV

  • Your headshots must look like the person who walks into the room, they need to capture you!
  • Drop credits i.e. drama school productions as your CV grows.
  • Be honest - don’t include accents or skills that you aren’t really confident about.
  • Keep working on accents that are included on your CV to ensure they’re ready to go.
  • Be realistic about your playing age.

In the Audition Room

  • When you’re asked what you’ve done lately - discuss the last job you did or a project that you really enjoyed, even if that was a while ago.
  • Be prepared! Be off book if possible and don’t give excuses.
  • Research the series you’re auditioning for - so you can pitch your delivery appropriately.
  • Don’t be scared of sharing your opinion on the character or scene.
  • Listen and be prepared to take direction.

Actor’s feedback:

‘Brilliant! She was lovely and very helpful. She was easy to talk to and gave great advice - just a very lovely woman.’ Christopher Laws

‘Really good session - Sue was very friendly and full of advice.’ Jack Chapman

‘Incredibly helpful, Sue definitely helped clear up the concerns I had with how I sell myself and gave great advice on my showreel and headshots.’ Natalie Martins

‘Really brilliant! It was good to have my questions answered by someone who really knows the business.’ Calum Gulvin

‘It was great! It’s lovely to get a chance to get feedback from someone who is established in the industry.’ Elizabeth Venner

‘Really useful. Positive but honest.’ Joseph Lindoe

‘Very useful comments and a great session. Sue gave very honest answers. Thank you so much for the opportunity.’ Chloe Van Harding

‘Sue was extremely friendly and easy to talk to and best of all, she was honest and direct. I have learnt a lot about what to work on and found my time with Sue extremely useful. It would be great to have more surgeries. A little nudge in the right direction can make all the difference.’ Cat Van Dort

‘Very helpful. It was great to hear from an actual casting director rather than what you hear from other actors. II found out more than I thought possible.’ Jennie Luke

Recent feedback from January 2015 Surgery:

‘Brilliant! A fantastic experience and very informative - I knew I was talking with someone who knew the industry well.’ Matt Casey.

‘Really fun and informative. Great to get in front of someone with so much knowledge and experience. This is a perfect example of why actors love CCP.’ Eleri Jones

‘I found it very helpful, she gave great advice, was down to earth and just so positive. I came out feeling very happy. I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity.’ Jumoke Ogunkoya

‘Extremely useful. Plenty of constructive feedback and very specific notes. Keep doing these sessions!’ Lauren Lyle

‘It was great to talk to a casting director in a relaxed environment without the pressure of auditioning.’ Sarah Alexandra Marks.

‘Relaxed and honest advice. I left with a very clear idea of what I need to do next.’ Torin Pocock

‘Really helpful, Sue gave great advice about my casting and my profile. The experience has left me feeling very positive. Thank you!’ Georgia Hull

‘Thoroughly enjoyed the session with Sue - she was very approachable and helpful. I had all my questions answered and came out confident in what I have to do.’ Tom Cawte

Previous surgeries with top directors:

  • Simone Reynolds - Internationally renowned film and TV casting director.
  • Irene Cotton - The Libertine with John Malkovich & Johnny Depp (film), Dirty Dancing (West End), Panorama & over 200 episodes of The Bill (TV).
  • Jane Deitch - Eastenders, Casualty, Holby City, Doctors, Dalziel and Pascoe, Sea of Souls and Walking the Dead.
  • Sarah Leung - one of the UK's most promising new generation of independent casting directors.
  • Suzy Catliff - theatre director, casting director and published author (The Casting Handbook for Film and Theatre Makers)
  • Shakyra Dowling - The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of a Window and Disappeared (film).
  • Adrian Bean - Casualty, Holby City, Hollyoaks, Doctors, Eastenders, Coronation Street.
  • Manuel Puro - a treat for film enthusiasts, his award winning films including Moon, The Machine and Skeletons.
  • Philip Foster has coached many musical theatre artists in the West End and in Europe who have appeared in hit shows including: The Lion King, Chicago, Mary Poppins, Oklahoma and many more!