Your acting portfolio says a lot about your character and professionalism. And it’s so powerful that a well-prepared one can land you your dream role. It’s the acting portfolio that a casting director first looks at before they watch you perform. As first impressions always last, it pays to craft a perfect portfolio to boost your chances of booking a job.
But how do you make one?
Guide to Making an Acting Portfolio
Anyone can have years of acting experience, but not everyone can organize those years’ worth of jobs into one visually presentable and comprehensive acting portfolio.
Here’s a guide to creating a perfect one.
A good acting portfolio you must have the three essential parts: headshots, résumé, and demo reel.
Your headshots are more than just a set of photos; they are a crucial part of your portfolio. So if you can, hire a professional photographer instead of taking one on your own.
Following your photo shoot, here’s what you do next:
- Pick a personal favorite among the headshots taken. Choose only two or three to include in your acting portfolio. Select the ones that look good enough to give out.
- It is useless to include two headshots with identical facial expressions. Your photos must reflect your versatility and one way to show that is to give a variety of emotions. Smile in the first, have a serious look in the other.
- On your next audition, make sure to take headshots that are appropriate for the role you are auditioning for. Never submit photos where you look rebellious and brawny when you are aiming for a lovable, perky, and cute character. Also know the type of acting job you’re doing, whether it’s for a commercial, theater, or film, so you can submit the right headshots.
Just like your headshots, your résumé plays a great part. It provides a glimpse into your life and the history of your career, particularly the films you were in. So work well on drafting your résumé.
- Unlike most careers, in the acting industry, your physical size and appearance matter. Be sure to specify your height, weight, and hair and eye color right below your name and personal contact information.
- If you have acted before and have theater, commercial, or movie accolades, don’t forget to mention them in your résumé. Also, highlight the most important roles you previously played that are relevant or similar to the current role you are auditioning for.
- Remember to include your educational background, especially if you majored in theater (or drama), attended a renowned drama school or studied with famous acting professionals. This will surely help you land your next role and catch the directors’ attention.
Like the most perfect headshots, your demo reel (or showreel) must be produced by a professional reel editor. It will contain footage of the various movies films you’ve appeared in, and this will complete your acting portfolio. Showreels, however, can be arduous and time-consuming to make. Let an experienced editor take care of that for $60 to $70 an hour.
Here are some points to remember regarding demo reels:
- Demo reels contain clips that highlight your theater and television acting experience. But if you are an inexperienced actor and have not had any significant roles, snippets from independent films, student-produced reels, or filmed stage production will suffice.
- Be sure to include a 60-second preview of your best work or scenes that are somehow similar to the role you are auditioning for. This will show the casting directors that you are a competent and versatile actor who can play the role that the scripts call for.
- If you don’t have previous acting footage to share, you can film yourself acting to make your own showreel instead. Stand in front of a spotless white background, record close in, and be sure you are always within frame.
Now that you already know how to make a good acting portfolio, you only need one more secret tip to be successful as an actor—believe in yourself that you can.Guide to Creating the Perfect Acting Portfolio by Holly Bissonnette