ASK Me!: Getting clips for your reel?

I’ve done many videos/films where it was non-paying but they promised the footage for my reel.

What do you do when even after contacting the director/producer/whoever, they don’t respond and you never end up getting your footage!? It’s not frustrating when you’re trying to put a reel together.

Anonymous

Ugh! I know what you mean. I’ve had this happen more times than I can bear.

There isn’t really anything to do except to gently remind them that you are waiting for a copy. I’d give it a good month or two at least before you inquire first because it can take a long time to edit/complete a project – if it’s a feature you did you need to wait WAY longer. If it is a low/no budget production I imagine everything is being done as a favor and that is a specific form of hell for a producer/director – enslaved by generosity, if you will. So, if you don’t hear back from them, give it another couple of weeks or a month or so and try again. Politeness is the key here. I know that you’re entitled to your copy (blahblahblah) but I can guarantee that if you’re pushy and aggressive it will solidify the brush-off.

One thing you can do is make it as easy as possible for the other person to get the copy to you. For example tell them you will meet them wherever and whenever is convenient for them. If they are in another part of the country/world you could send them a stamped, self-addressed envelope so that they can drop it in the mail without any hassle. Anything to make the actual chore of getting the copy to you easy-peasy. Go out of your way.

However, sometimes you just have to let it go – pretend you never did the job or take the experience itself as a learning opportunity and move on. This is the hardest road, I know. Especially if you did said job to build your reel. But it’s one of the risks we take when we agree to do non-union, low-budget jobs. Of all the work I’ve done the jobs where I didn’t get a copy of my work have never actually surfaced – probably because the project itself was not completed/successful in the end. So chances are you probably wouldn’t want it on your reel anyway.

And finally that brings me, ever so quickly, to reels in general. One single, really good clip on your reel is better than 5 shitty or ok clips. It’s not quantity that matters here, its quality.

Hope that helps – thanks for your question!

About The NYC Actor

Angela Dee is a professional actress working in Film, Theatre, TV, Commercials and Voiceovers. She currently lives in New York. www.angeladee.com

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