Just because you've got the footage from various brilliant projects you've been in, doesn't mean it needs to be in your showreel.
Trevor from Hardman Action Films Pro-Casting* isn't going to be massively interested that you made a really great "bunny" five years ago in that Xylitol Advert. Even more so... It may cause him to press pause.
I know actors who are wanting to break into TV and Film and are wondering why that move isn't happening - perhaps their showreels simply aren't telling that story.
Your showreel is the way you sell yourself.
Everybody that looks at your showreel is going to see you as a certain type of actor that's capable of certain type of things.
So, what story are you wanting to tell?
What are those capabilities?
Have absolute clarity where it is you want to go.
What jobs you want to go for and who you want to be seen as.
Then, get the footage that tells that story.
That is why people pay for showreel scenes.
Are you throwing everything you have in because you can or are you approaching it like you would if you were building a marketing package?
You are your own product. Every product needs marketing. Every marketing package has a market. They are aimed at a certain audience and have been carefully created and crafted to tell a certain story.
Make some space.
What's the story? How do you want to be seen?
Be honest with yourself - what are your strengths? And weaknesses?
Who is your audience?
What casting brackets do you want to showcase?
It's also really important we use material that shows what we're genuinely capable of - what casting types do you do easily?
Then ask... What do you have already? What are you missing?
Be clever, it'll pay off.
*Note: Trevor from Hardman Action Films Pro-Casting isn't real...
It's probably worth saying at this point (though it's not why I wrote this blog), we do run a showreel retreat to help actors in training with us get the scenes they need to tell their story.