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Lights, Camera, Action (or Being A DIY Actress)


Recently, my friend Rayshell and I shot a scene that we created ourselves. We did this because we both wanted some footage for our demo reels.

Now, here’s some explanation for non-industry people. When you have a demo reel (which is a clip or series of clips of video of you acting), and you get submitted for a role (either by your agents or on your own), you have a slight advantage. All actors submitted who have a demo reel get to the top of the list. So it is seriously in your favor to have some video clip up there.

All my video footage has either been bad quality or from when I was skinner, so I needed to fix that.

I asked my friend Bryan, who was the director of the documentary I did, if he’d be willing to help Rayshell and I film our scene. We knew we needed good quality work, and Bryan would totally be able to do that.

So this past Saturday, Bryan and Rayshell came over to my house where we decided to shoot, and we got everything set up in my living room.

Photo 1

We ended up doing two scenes and the whole thing took about 90 minutes.

The first scene was with both Rayshell and I. We were discussing the ups and downs of online dating (it may or may not be all true stories). Since neither Rayshell nor I are the best writers, we ended up deciding to improv the scene. It might make it a bit harder to edit, but I think it was more realistic and funny that way.

Here’s a screenshot of that scene.

Photo 2

The second scene was just me being interviewed to camera about online dating. I figured that I could use the interview as the beginning and end of my clip and a short scene with me and Rayshell in the middle.

And another screenshot, of course.

Photo 3

I’ve watched the footage, and it looks beautiful. I need to sit down and do all the editing so far, but I know that this footage is totally useable and will really look great.

I’m glad I didn’t wait around for footage from projects I already did (that might not look as good) or wait around to be cast in something that would give me footage. I stopped sitting on my butt and took charge.

And if you are an actor and are putting together your demo reel, do your research. Make sure you are putting it together correctly and to highlight you in the best light. I highly recommend reading this blog post from casting director Marci Liroff.

Originally published in Finding My Inner Bombshell on March 25th, 2013


About Jen Levin

Actress/Blogger - I’m originally from the Bay Area, but I’ve been in LA for over a decade now, so I consider myself a native. I’m working as both a blogger and actress (with a couple of day jobs to pay the bills on the side). I love being in the entertainment industry where every day is an adventure! When I’m not working on my career, I’m either reading (I’m a total book nerd) or enjoying my newfound love for spin class (which is helping towards my goal of losing 100 pounds for the last time). I like to joke that I’m a girl with Southern charm and Jersey moxie, which I think has worked well for me so far!