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Dear West End Producer: ‘What do you think about showreel nudity? Yes or no, dear?’

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There is an argument that one should always try to stand out from the crowd, but you must always be sure to stand out for the right reasons. A showreel needs to be snappy (about four minutes in length, not four inches, dear), and have lots of close-ups of you flexing your acting muscles (your face).

To be honest, casting directors tend to watch only the first minute or so of a showreel, mainly to see what an actor looks and sounds like on screen, and importantly to make sure they don’t have ‘dead eyes’ (when an actor says the words but has nothing going on behind the eyes).

Your showreel should consist of three or four short scenes, each with a different character and energy, some text with your name at the beginning and agent’s contact details at the end. There should be plenty of close-ups – but not of your groin region (though in your case these shots would have to be extreme close-ups anyway, dear).

However, dear Con, if you are desperate to include nudity, it is essential you do it in an artistic manner – as you would in a Jamie Lloyd production. Perhaps perform your hard-hitting monologue while posing in your favourite showpants, and record your second scene around a swimming pool while wearing your polka-dot thong. I actually recall seeing an interesting showreel many years ago that began with a close-up of an actor’s face. The camera then slowly panned back to reveal him reclining on a nudist beach (he also had his Spotlight pin clearly tattooed on his nether regions – how clever, dear).

Perhaps you could do a showreel with artfully placed objects wittily hiding your buttocks

Or perhaps you could do a Calendar Girls-style showreel with artfully placed objects wittily hiding your buttocks. This could work well, and has the added bonus of being a brilliant distraction.

These days, lots of actors have more than one showreel – for example, a ‘straight acting’ and ‘comedy’ one – and some even have a separate dance video. Because acting work is getting harder to find, other actors now add another showreel: ‘adult work’. This may be just the thing for you, dear. I suggest you stand naked in front of a video camera, recite your favourite Shakespearean speech, and jump up and down. If lots of people follow suit, the next #showreelshareday will be a hell of a lot more entertaining, dear.

But one should never get distracted from the fact that your showreel is there to show you off. And if you feel that a bit of nudity will help with that, then I see no reason why not. However, you must be sure to add some words of warning at the beginning of your showreel, and give it an 18 rating.

Something like this should do the trick: “Caution! The contents of Con O’Neill’s showreel may cause offence. It includes shocking images, questionable knickers, and footage of a middle-aged man’s nipples. We cannot accept responsibility for any minor heart attacks or strokes that occur as a result of watching this showreel.”

Send questions to your dear agony aunt via Twitter @westendproducer

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