Showreel cutting

Just down the road from me, in Pimlico, I have a very skillful friend. He’s an actor as well, one of the ones who’s in it for the long haul. We have a shared understanding on that. Like me he has many side hustles. It’s another point of contact. You need a good distracting side hustle in this business or you slowly go insane and surround yourself with fish and snakes and antiques.

Our side hustles sometimes overlap. I’ve been Fixing on a set where he was Location Managing. We both drove for a show about speed and clothes. But he can edit film, which I really haven’t learnt yet. He’s good at it too. He has all the software, and he has that touch that you only see after long practice, where he jiggles the sound to fit the story and drops in this shot from one place and that shot from another and makes it all blend so you think it was made that way.

We’ve been trying to shove together a showreel. It’s such an odd process, showreel cutting.

First I found everything I could get my hands on. Footage that was sent to me by lovely directors. Footage from things I made years ago sent through by directors who are still friends. Stuff on YouTube. Things I’ve just had on old laptops from forgotten WeTransfers. We download and rip and assemble. Then we cut it we prune it and we end up not using most of what was collated in the first place.

My 2002 scenes with McAvoy are gone now in favour of an older looking me in glasses being mean to a load of Germans. We aren’t using poor Manfred, who was so brutally executed by his girlfriend after a fight. The dancing shaven headed sex addict has gone back to the internet where he lives. There’s currently a spot of me as Shakespeare, a moment of Michael Howard, a hospital shot, a hissing gangster and a scientist. By the time we’re finished I think we will have cut the scientist as well. “Kill your darlings” is frequently excellent advice in the creative process, and it seems it’s true of editing a videographic calling card. All we need is a few seconds really. “Let’s have a look at this Owl Berky guy. Here he is. Yeah he’s got a face. He walks. There’s his voice. Great. Put him on the list.” Job done.

A helpful way to spend the day. Once it’s finished there’s an excuse to reach out and try and get somebody to employ me to ply my trade. Joy abundantly.

It’s been a contemplation of the after effects of Brexit. Of the six things we have kept so far, one was shot in Berlin by Danes (I was flown out). That wouldn’t be possible anymore. One was a co-production with Greece, employing 50% Greek and 50% British actors, shot between Greece and the UK. That wouldn’t be possible anymore. One was a German TV show, with entirely German crew, shot in Cornwall with UK and German actors. That wouldn’t be possible anymore. By coincidence, half of the things that I’m happy enough with to include on my calling card – they’re not possible anymore because of Brexit. Were it not for Covid we would notice these things enough that there’d be much louder noises. Netflix and the Shakespeare thing were American co-pros, so still not 100% Engerlish. The only homegrown one we kept was a lovely little short for which I was paid the princely sum of a pound.

I’m glad to get a reel done even though I’m a bit shocked to find that half of my work on film as well as a large part of my work on stage wouldn’t be possible in this post Brexit world. We need to sort out an artist’s touring visa stet. Bastards.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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