Hi Bonnie,

To say you have taught me everything I know about the business may in fact be an understatement. Self-Management for Actors helped me create a mindset about my career that is unheard of here in Dallas, Texas. 🙂 I also really enjoyed your interview on Inside Acting Podcast. It was very informative and I love those guys.

Before I get to my question I would also like to say I’m preparing for my move to LA in June and I feel confident in my success largely due to you, a couple of other mentors, and my experiences. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now, to my question. A couple of writers and I have scenes from shorts, soon to be in production but dependent on funding, which we would like to use for our reels. Now, some of the writers are actors and do not have a reel. They are convinced that we should only shoot specific shots for our reel and postpone everything else. Their immediate goal (and mine) is to have a well-crafted demo reel.

I believe that we shouldn’t cheat the story or the production side for the sake of gaining a reel in as little amount of time and energy. I think we are wasting our talents and our focus should be the project and not a simple outcome stemming from the films.

I think as a casting director and mentor to many, you are more than qualified in answering this question. Do we shoot only specific shots we know will appear on our demo reel or give the project time to manifest and then take clips from the films?

I appreciate your time and your response greatly.

Sutherland “Sully” Carter

Sully, thank you. What a wonderful email! I am so glad that you’ve found value in my work. That means a lot to me and I hope things continue to rock for you.

It’s fantastic that you’ve connected with writers to create some content for your acting reels (and beyond). Absolutely, it’d be great if you were all on the exact same page about how best to use the material, and when, but certainly, you can still come up with a way to work together.

Sounds to me like you really want to make the whole dang thing. You want to produce! You want to build a project from the ground up and have something you can shop around, submit to festivals, maybe even sell into distribution. You’re looking to create a baby! Meanwhile, your colleagues are looking to put something together that can show off their acting chops, now, on their reels.

Should you shoot a few scenes and keep building toward the bigger project, or should you wait to shoot ’til you’ve got everything together for that bigger project? Yeah. It’s not an easy decision, because if everyone else only wants demo reel footage out of this, by shooting something now, you give everyone some footage for their reels, and then maybe they’re not that interested in creating a larger project.

So, maybe that’s your answer! Maybe you go ahead and put together some reel footage with your friends, but you have the right to take the core stories and build something larger, with or without them, since you’re the one who is most passionate about doing so. Could you negotiate a deal like that? I know I don’t have all the information about your situation, so this suggestion may not fit, but it’s something you could perhaps explore.

Or, create reel footage for everyone and a “teaser reel” for the future project, now. This teaser reel could be used in a fundraising campaign to show the type of thing you’re capable of, should investors need to see your work before financing your larger project.

I don’t think this has to be an all-or-nothing situation, and you should be able to get something wonderful from this (ALL of you). Just communicate about your reasons for even coming together as collaborators, discuss the options together, and decide how best to use what you’ve already begun to create.

If there’s a way to work together and still get everything you ALL want out of it, that’s awesome! But if not, just be sure you do get very clear about how much you’re going to put into the project, so you and your team can work together, even if your goals may be different.

Keep me posted on how it goes for you, and good luck pulling everything together for your move to LA!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001493.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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