Showcase showdown

How important is a drama school showcase? I read an interesting article on The Stage website debating how effective they are in this day and age, check out the article here.

It’s an interesting concept that after three years of training it all comes down to about 20 minutes (if not less) of you hammering through a monologue/duologue on a brightly lit stage in the hope of gaining an agent. The irony is, it’s often some of the most genuinely talented actors that falter at the showcase – either poor choice of monologue, nerves, bad direction or simply just the alarming realisation as you stare into a sea of faces that ‘I should have gone with Hamlet’.

The writer of the article is correct, in this digital age, wouldn’t it be better to also do a video showcase? Where the actor can relax, rehearse and film a piece that an agent could look at in their own time, rewind bits they found interesting and if they like what they see, get the actor in to meet them in person one on one?

Again, the writer of the article is correct in saying that this ‘video showcase’ will often take the form of a ‘showreel’, however from experience the art to producing a genuinely good showreel seems to fall by the wayside somewhat in favour of putting it all on the live showcase. After all, the showreel is something you give out once you’ve graduated and are looking for work – but if an amazing agent picks you up at the theatre showcase then you might not need to be worrying too much about pushing your showreel to potential employers anyway.

It’s quite a amazing really, considering all of the up and coming filmmakers out there desperate to get their foot on the ladder that more drama schools don’t utilise this growing talentpool. Wouldn’t it be great for a drama school to employ a small production team of young filmmakers to shoot and produce the graduating classes showreel? You could either do a short film involving the whole class, or put together a slick production of different monologues and duologues. This in itself could also be a great way of actors and filmmakers networking without even having to really think about it! Just think, if a film director made it big they might remember that amazing actor they worked with on their showreel, or if an actor was at the top of their game they might call on that talented cameraman/director/production assistant/writer that produced their final year showreel.

Just a thought!

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