Performance Clips: Next Generation Marketing for Actors

The attention spans of agents, managers and casting professionals have shortened and their workloads have increased. The old adage, “time is money” could not be more top-of-mind across the industry. For casting professionals, reviewing actor submissions takes a considerable amount of time. A casting director’s patience may wear thin searching through a four minute demo reel for a clip relevant to the character they are casting. This reality is the primary driver for the expanding use of “next generation” video assets for actor marketing.

An actor’s video marketing arsenal should now include two distinct assets, the traditional demo reel and individual performance clips. Traditional demo reels remain very effective as a general introductory tool to agents, managers, and casting directors to illustrate the range of  an actor’s work.   
When considering actors for a specific role, some casting directors may prefer to receive individual role/character-specific video submissions tailored to the character they are casting. The most effective performance clips will be those highlighting  the actor appearing as a character that as closely as possible mirrors the breakdown description.

“Specific clips are becoming more frequently used as a way to show the buyers that you can do something very close to exactly what they need.” explains casting director Bonnie Gillespie, “Keep this format in mind, as you pull together your footage.”

Performance clips provide solid evidence of your ability to meet the needs of the specific role. Having a range of these clips available enables you or your representative so customize your submission which increases your odds of being invited to audition. The performance clip  might be a strategically edited scene  from a film or TV project, a  student film,  or even  audition footage provided your acting is compelling. It is important to have every scene re-edited to favor your performance. Also remember that color, sound and other quality indicators may be enhanced in the post-production process in the event that your performance is overshadowed by poor production elements. These “tricks of the trade” can  strengthen your clips from student and lower budget projects to enhance their look for your personal use.

Most online casting sites have jumped on board the performance clip bandwagon. Sites including Casting Networks (LA Casting in the Los Angeles area), Actor’s Access/Breakdown Services, and Casting Frontier provide media hosting and allow actors to upload - in addition to demo reels - multiple separate clips to their individual media folder. LA Casting allows you to attach a specific “skill clip” from your “media bin” to a specific resume credit. IMDB Resume also allows a limited number of clips in addition to a demo reel on the actor’s page. On ActivePitch (beta), you can store pitch video clips by project name and/or character type (eg: Angry Corporate Executive). Then, you or your representative can select specific clips to create a custom playlist specific to the role.