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When it comes to actor's demo reels, the ideal length is usually around 2 minutes. BUT... there's more to the story.
There are a few factors to take into consideration, including how many clips you have, the quality of your footage, and how you're planning to use the reel.
In this guide, I'll dive deep on how long should a demo reel be so you know how to create one that's taken seriously by casting directors! And if you're looking to get a demo reel edited, click here.
How Long Should a Demo Reel Be?
Both screen AND theatre actors need demo reels because they allow casting directors to see your work and decide whether you're right for an audition.
From your demo reel alone, a casting director can tell:
For the reasons listed above, most actors have ZERO shot of being invited to auditions without a reel (or without at least a few clips showcasing their acting ability). In fact, many casting directors use a setting to automatically remove all actors without clips so they don't even see their submissions!
Having a strong, proper-length demo reel is critical to getting auditions.
Martin Bentsen (author of this guide) is an actor marketing coach who uses “outside the industry” thinking to help actors book more work. He’s helped over 6,000 actors with their careers and actor headshots since 2009 and his photography studio City Headshots is ranked #1 on Yelp. He’s spoken at NYU, The New England Theater Conference, The Actor’s Green Room, and other venues.
Want to book more acting work by thinking different? Start with his free Actor’s Toolkit to create new opportunities right away, or visit his website at www.martinbentsen.com.
Some Additional Q&A
How Long Should a Scene Be in a Demo Reel?
Each scene should generally last about 30-40 seconds, but some can be as short as 20 seconds. No single clip/scene should ever last longer than 50 seconds.
How Long Should a Commercial Demo Reel Be?
The length of a commercial demo reel should be 2:00 (two minutes) to 2:30 (two minutes, thirty seconds). The rules are the same for commercial and dramatic reels, so read the rest of the guide above to learn more about the different lengths of commercial reels.