In my previous article, I discussed some of the do’s and don’ts of hosting reels. In my video, “Hosting Reels Part Two” found at www.mastertalentteachers.com, I show you what I think is an example of a good hosting reel in its entirety. It’s from a great host, Brian Corsetti. Brian starts off with his name and get right into a couple solid standups. Even though his standups are short – about 7 seconds long – I can immediately see that Brian has good hosting skills. His standups also vary – he goes from riding a motorcycle while delivering his standup to donning a tux on the red carpet doing an entertainment piece. Immediately I see his range and as a Casting Director, that’s important for me to see — especially if I may only watch the first 30 seconds of a reel.
Brian then goes on to include interviews mixing entertainment with construction and sports shows. Again, showing me his range and that he can host a variety of shows. He ends his reel with some outtakes and includes his contact info at the very end so if I want to call him in for an audition, I know how to reach him. Another thing that I highly recommend is putting your headshot on the front of your hosting reel label. Why? It does look more professional and but more importantly when I’m going thru a drawer of reels, I may see your face even if I’m not looking for your reel. It’s another way to get your face in the casting director’s mind.
When you’re just starting out, in order to get jobs, you have to have footage. You may ask how can you have footage if you haven’t gotten a job? Easy, you make it up. You’ll need to shoot segments of yourself (see my prior article on www.mastertalentteachers.com) in various hosting scenarios. You don’t want to shoot this yourself on a flip cam. It has to be a professional camera with professional sound quality. If not, it looks homemade.
When editing your reel, be careful because I often see logos of well-known networks and shows on reels that I know are made up segments. As Matt Weinroth, co-owner of Open Door Productions, points out, you’d better be careful because if you have a Fox logo on your segment and you get called into Fox they’ll ask you what you did for them. And you’ll have to explain that you didn’t… Casting Directors will call you out on this. So don’t use familiar backdrops for your greenscreen like the E! News studio or Access Hollywood studio! If you add a logo to your segment, make sure it’s not distracting us from your read. Remember, you don’t want to take the focus off you!
Josh Chase, co-owner of Open Door Production, recommends going thru your footage yourself as you’re editing your reel. It also helps to have a friend review who is impartial to your footage. You want to make sure that your best reads are up front – even though you may not look your best (make sure you still look good though!). Your reel should be a collaboration with your editor because it’s your reel, so you want to make sure you’re happy with the finished product. But remember, your reel is always a work in progress. So when you get jobs along the way, you’ll take off some of the old footage and add new footage.
Your reel is not a vanity piece. As Weinroth says, “it’s not a trophy collection.” Put the newest and best up front and push the older stuff to the back. Keep your reel to around two to three minutes. It’s about quality, not quantity. The footage on your reel should be recent (within a couple of years). We will definitely not be watching past the three minute mark and by that point we’ve seen too much and may decided NOT to call you in for an audition. You don’t want that to happen! I always say, “get in and get out and leave them wanting more.”
Hopefully that gives you more insight to your hosting reel. Check back to www.mastertalentteachers.com for upcoming videos and articles to assist you in becoming the best host you can be!