As a UK script consultant, UK Script editor and script writer for hire I often get hired to write show reels or short scenes for actors starting out in the business, or even for more experienced professional actors looking to show more range.
I think one of the reasons this happens is because my first short film ‘Family Style’ made waaayyy back in 1994 started the career of one actor, who, for many years afterwards used the short film as a show reel to help get him acting jobs. The actor’s name who starred in the short film is Ewan McGregor, and it’s fair to the say my short film must have been a pretty good showcase for his talents. I mean, he’s done okay ish as an actor – or at least, he hasn’t had to go back to his job in the chewing gum factory where I found him just yet.
Family Style stands as the first pro credit on the IMDb for Ewan, although he had acted before on TV, the short film (in his own words) was very useful to him. Family Style was broadcast on Channel Four in May 1994, but was made in the winter of 1993 on a low budget as part of Channel Four’s ‘Lloyds Bank Film Challenge’.
In the stylishly shot short film Ewan gets to show a whole range of emotions in under 11 minutes, from sadness, confusion and regret to outright anger. He also gets to ride a motorbike, punch his father and play guitar! How could any young actor not find this a useful film to have handy when casting directors called?
The film was also a great use to me too, starting out as a young writer (I wrote it when I was 18/19) and the film was even more useful for the director too.
When actors approach me to write a scene or two, I usually recommend a two handed scene, with a reversal for the audience, an actor playing tough who by the end of the scene shows hidden emotion, these sorts of scenes can be shot in one take on a camcorder or DSLR, but the script itself is what sells the performance, allowing an actor to show range, emotion and hidden depths. The feedback I get on this service is very good and I can tailor a short scene to any actor’s style.
For me to write a short ‘show reel’ scene for an actor I charge around £300 for a 5 page scene written to the performers specifications. These scripts are often things that you can take away and shoot yourself, or they can even be used for rehearsal pieces.
If you’re an actor, looking for an original and eye-opening scene to perform – get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org – as for Ewan McGregor, I’ve done all I can for that guy!
You can see Family Style below:
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire, UK Script editor and script doctor for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on email@example.com or hire him on Peopleperhour
His directorial debut, the rubber reality horror thriller Markham will be released in 2020.