#Actors Demo Reel: What to know before you shoot ! @TheKevinE
BY KEVIN E. WEST | Founder of Actors-Network.com
It is extremely likely in the last 3-5 years that at some point, virtually everywhere in the world in a decent size city or all throughout the U.S., this phrase has been uttered to you…or even by you. I can certainly tell you that I’ve heard it at least a 100 times since 2010 myself and while there is nothing wrong with the thought or the goal, the issue ultimately becomes one of proficiency.
Since about 1993 I have spent literally hundreds of hours of my life discussing, preaching, educating and informing actors about both the value and pitfalls of “shooting their own” stuff. I’ve also discovered over the last ten years…that most folks, rarely listen. I’m not exactly sure of the reason for not listening but I think it comes down to one story or one success moment they must have read or heard somewhere along the line about one guy or gal who “became famous” for shooting something as an amateur.
Regardless of why folks don’t it just seems that amongst the Hollywood acting community the “know it all” belief seems to be healthy and growing. Oddly you’d never want a Fireman, Doctor, Lawyer, Ad Exec, Mechanic or anyone else with so little knowledge or experience working on YOU or something for which you’re paying, and yet the concept of hitting the “record” button seems to carry little respect in terms of creative vision and avocational proficiency. Weird but true…trust me…on the sunscreen.
So when it comes to “shooting some stuff” over the weekend cuz you borrowed your buddies Canon Vixia or you went and rented a Red camera it matters not, at that moment you’re a filmmaker unless you’re just shooting some dogs chasing balloons for YouTube. But considering that is not likely the reason you’re reading this Blog…we’ll skip that one. I suppose what ultimately amazes me is that we do this, most often, in hopes that the resulting footage, material, film, short, or demo video will actually “play” or rather be considered by the professional community.
This is the part where I got lost and confused on why…when I know most of my community has watched film, television and more notably the Oscars for many years. They give Oscars in tons of categories that are NOT related to performing but rather all of the other elements of production. No, this does not mean you have to be that good to rent a camera to “shoot some stuff” but it does mean that expertise and proficiency have their value in all forms of life.
So the next time you consider shooting some stuff, and if you think this could be a valuable tool for you over the long haul, why not consider actually LEARNING something about filmmaking, equipment, sound, lights and everything else. It is estimated that in less that 5 years 85% of all “content” (both news, etc.) will be in video form. As a matter of fact this will be one of the last written Blog’s I’ll be doing and replacing them with Video Logs.
While there are many options the New York Film Academy now has expanded their level of expertise and curriculum as well as having new offices in Burbank and Battery Park. NYFA prides itself on the resources it provides its students. Since the academy’s birth, the curriculum has expanded to include one- and two-year conservatories for acting, musical theater, photography, broadcast journalism, and game design, in addition to the original filmmaking MFAs and BFAs. NYFA acting graduates receive hands-on training in front of and behind the camera with a film school’s worth of equipment at their disposal.
While you may not be interested in becoming a filmmaker the more you understand “how to” do anything, the better the result…without exception. Remember, I’m always on your side.
The Actors’ Network was founded by veteran television actor, Kevin E. West, in his Studio City apartment on May 1, 1991. From almost its inception the organization was revered and respected but after the BackStage West 2-Page editorial spread in June of 1998, it exploded in popularity and attained an unparalleled industry reputation. We encourage you to read more about The Actors’ Network Awards and History. (Hyper-link to that page)
On July 1, 2013 the organization officially transitioned into an “Online Only” entity and while the physical studio is now gone the Mission, “Help Us, Help You, Help All of Us”, as well as the Credo, “Learn from the mistakes of others…you don’t have time to make them all yourself” are still very much alive and well. Kevin E. West instead of giving Topical discussions in the studio has now created an amazing Webinar Library (Link text) with 100 15-minute discussions online. That is 25 full hours of educational information.
The sole goal and mission of The Actors’ Network has always been, and remains, to be the utmost in expertise and advice on the business of show business while maintaining the highest level of integrity. In doing all of the above we have been and still remain the pinnacle of show business education.