Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Nothing To Showreel

I don’t currently have a showreel.

If I was doing pretty much any other job (that wasn’t a writer, musician, designer, singer, etc) then this wouldn’t be a problem. Accountants don’t need to submit a fancy time-lapse video of them balancing books and judges don’t need to attach a .wav file of their gavel hitting. But as actors, to prove that our CV isn’t just a pack of lies that we dreamed up one quiet Wednesday afternoon, we’re expected to have hard, physical evidence of our ability to be on screen.

Now, for anyone who either knows me in real life or follows me on Twitter, you might have spotted that my last couple of years as an actor have been about as fruitful as Scotland. In fact, I’ve got to the point where I’ve even considered committing an unsolved crime just so I can get the chance to play myself in the re-enactment on Crimewatch. Thankfully the realisation that I probably wouldn't even mange to get cast for that has put me off and I'm clean as a whistle, guv. Honest.

So I find myself without a showreel. The things I have been in have either been made by buffoons who are so inept that even providing a copy of my work is far beyond them or they’ve been corporate jobs who won’t allow their precious training video to be seen by the public for fear that it’d just be too upsetting for people to witness. As it is, I’d be better off chasing down GoogleMaps cars and trying to get the footage they’ve got of me wandering down Crouch End Broadway.

But the problem with not having a showreel is that it makes it damn hard to get into things that would help you towards getting a showreel together. When you’re pitting yourself against a small army of Doppelgangers, it’s no surprise that the casting director goes for the ones who can prove that their CV isn’t just a well-formatted wish-list in Times New Roman. So you can’t get work because you don’t have a showreel and you can’t get a showreel because you can’t get the work. And you can’t even get an agent to help you get work because you don’t have a showreel to show them your work.

“Oh hello, Catch. The usual, is it? One 22 coming right up.”

What to do then? I’ve got new headshots in the hope of at least attracting a few people before they realise I’m seriously lacking in the dramatic montage department but they’ll only take me so far. It’s getting to the point now where I’m going to have to do some unpaid work if I want my showreel to be any more than just a grainy clip of me, aged 6, playing Jack Frost in the school play. I’m not really in a financial position to do so and supporting the majority of unpaid work (the whole debate around unpaid work is for another time) makes me feel more than a tad queasy but what else are you supposed to do?

Making your own work? Yes, but that takes planning, getting equipment, writing, finding time amidst earning money to pay bills and organising other people who are all trying to do the same thing.

Stealing Jennifer Lawrence’s showreel and sticking my own head on hers? More tempting.

Infiltrating the police and stealing all the CCTV footage of myself that I can find? Probably the most likely.

Or maybe, just maybe, I might get lucky. On second thoughts, someone get me Jennifer Lawrence’s showreel and the number for the Met. 

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