How to Get Copies of your Work for Your Portfolio and Acting Reel

One of the questions that seems to come up a lot for me in my workshops, whether they are private online coaching sessions or in person workshops are people asking, “How can I get copies of my work?” Let me tell you, I do spend a lot of time discussing this in my workshops but, here is a shorter version that will still be really helpful to you.

There are different approaches you will take depending on the type of work you are trying to get a copy of.

I can also tell you that in the commercial modelling world sometimes it is more difficult getting a copy of your ad then actually booking the job. For films and television shows or commercials it is a little bit easier. So, if it’s a print ad, a commercial modelling ad, you should know exactly where it is running.

I would suggest you always send an email to either the art or creative director from the ad agency if they were on the set or to the photographer and simply ask for a copy. You don’t even need a hard copy of the ad, just a JPEG. That is really all you need. If you don’t get any kind of response, certainly you don’t want to start bombarding them with tons of emails.  Just leave them alone and try another way to get a copy.

You’re going to know exactly where the ad ran because that is one of questions you will have asked your agent prior to the photo shoot. If you booked it directly then you should have asked the photographer about its usage.

If you can’t get a copy of your ad through the art or creative director at the ad agency or the photographer, then you can always go out and buy a copy of the magazine or pick up the ad from a store if it is a local ad.

If the ad is not running local company, just contact the company’s headquarters. Tell them that you are the model in the ad, and ask them if they will send you a copy of the ad.  If you get a hard copy of the actual ad, you can always scan it and save it as a JPEG.

If it’s a film or TV show, typically you’re going to have to wait until it airs and then you can always ask for a copy. When you are on the set, you can ask someone in production who should be contacted about getting a copy.  Depending on the importance of your role or you may have to go out and buy or record the film or TV show. There was a NBC show I was on. I recorded my episode, but when that season was available on DVD, I purchased it as well.

I once had an agent suggest that you give someone in production a flash drive and ask them make a copy of your scene while they are looking at the dailies at the end of the day.

Honestly, I can’t imagine anybody ever doing that, so if someone mentions that to you, I wouldn’t advise you making that request. Nobody is going to be giving out un edited footage of you’re scenes before the movie comes out or before the TV show airs.

So typically I would just wait for it to air on TV and see if you can record the show. There is a free program called Handbrake, that will help you edit your scene.

So those are a few ways of getting a copy of your work. But, the key thing is you have get copies of projects you have done. That is how you build up your portfolio, that’s how you create a great acting reel. For a portfolio, you only want to put your best work in there, and your acting reel should be between 60-90 minutes. Getting copies of your work is really important to you. Work hard at getting them. Just remember, there is a fine line between being persistent and being a pain.

You don’t want to cross that line. It is better to not get a copy of something if it could damage your relationship with an industry professional who can continue to hire you for future projects.



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