Acting : Reel for Character Actor by Jon Kohan

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Jon Kohan

Reel for Character Actor

My friend and I were chatting and she expressed to me that she's having a hard time putting together a good reel for casting as she doesn't fit a certain "type" and is more of a character actor. Do you have any advice you can share with me that I can pass on to her about what she might be able to do to book more gigs and have a reel that truly showcases her talents? Thanks in advance.

Charlotte Hanson

have a showreel with short clips of different characters, have a look at mine, i think i have posted my showreel on my profile, if not let me know, is she in Australia?

Jon Kohan

I'll check it out. No, she's in America.

Regina Lee

If she hasn't already, maybe she could read some of the reel advice on

Tony Fisher

Getting good showreel material is getting harder these days and often depends on the story being told. Sometimes it just doesn't capture the characters essence, has your friend considered using a dedicated showreel company to produce the reel that would properly suit her?

Jon Kohan

I believe she's put the reel together herself, so getting a showreel company to produce the reel for her will be something I'll suggest.

Richard "RB" Botto

Some good advice here already, so I'll take it from another angle. She shouldn't fight the fact that she believes she fits a certain type. Many actors try to "square peg, round hole" their talents. Knowing your sweet spot allows you to be more realistic. Instead of carpet bombing the audition scene, you become more selective. As a result, there's less rejection to deal with. Now it's all about putting a reel together that showcases why she fits into that type...

Regina Lee

As RB said, "character actor" and "type" should be two characteristics that work in concert with each other. They're not discordant terms.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

As far as my own take on show reels, I could not care less about an actor 'fitting a type' or not. The issue of 'type' will probably be handled by the casting director working with, should there be one, the character's description on the page when the character is introduced. And believe me, I'd much, much, much rather cast an actor who demonstrates ability (see below) and ask that actor to do a 'type' which is not on the actor's reel, as opposed to looking for an actor based in 'type' and hoping the performance will be there. (Again, the CD will probably deal with that issue beforehand.) If possible, I'd like to see a reel on which the actor is in different situations which require rendering different emotions. Beyond that, my only requirement is that the actor's performances demonstrate the actor's ability. If an actor is having trouble selecting performances to demonstrate ability, I suggest they get opinions from others in the business, both actors and those in other specialties.

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