Today we’d like to introduce you to Deborah Capstone.
Deborah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My business partners and I have been in the industry for many years. From acting world to ‘the other side’ in casting, directing, management and producing we’ve seen all sides for the actor and what it takes to be seen (opposed to sheer luck) and many of the mistakes actors can make. Many times it is just because they just don’t know what casting and more are looking for.
In the business of casting, and as a former actor, we hate to see someone who is very talented come in and not have the materials they need to be at the top of their game. In addition, and having experienced it ourselves, being taken for financially while trying to pursue a dream of an acting career.
This is how the birth of 4 Reels USA came about. Our vision statement is pretty clear on our website:
4 Reels USA is a company dedicated to the artist to support visionary expertise and talented production. By maintaining a high standard of support and encouragement to each artist, we strive to accomplish the goal of providing materials to enhance their success by providing them top quality and marketable products.
This pretty much sums it up. We take the market, the need and our background in casting, directing and filmmaking and have broken it down to at the end of the day get actors a demo reel they can be proud of, in a timely manner, and deliver it at a cost they can manage. Yes, it’s an investment, but one they need to make. We don’t wish to gouge them for the need they have.
Sure we are not a nonprofit, but we’ve developed a model that works for less.
Another aspect is an investment of time to the actor. Some walk through the door and all they have done is background work, which is great, but they haven’t had the good ‘pressure’ of actual having a speaking role. Others may have done some work and have been taken advantage of. Others may have done some fine performances, but they never got the footage. Or, they got footage that was less than par.
What we provide is an experience of being the ‘lead’ in a set. They get a personalized script for their needs and type. They get a call sheet, a call from the AD with their call time and are greeted as the ‘star’ of their shoot. We provide the entire set experience for them. For many, they’ve commented how valued they felt and how they’ve learned in a safe place what it is like having more responsibility on a set as the actor and what to expect when they book a role. Our heart is not only providing a service but the experience and education of being on set.
We want to get really good at what we are doing. We are in our first official first quarter of the business and have learned a lot. One aspect we already have is a team of vendors who provide quality headshots. Another is adding opportunities for actors to become educated and meet not only other actors but industry pros from time to time by having monthly ‘meetups’ in our offices. By creating a time for people to connect with other people their networking experience grows by making connections that they normally could not do. Many times you’ll see one of us taking that extra time to look at a resume, give feedback about a headshot and more. If we see the tools the actor needs we love to recommend someone to somebody. It’s not just about selling reels, it’s about helping the artist get ahead.
4 Reels USA is a partnership for us. While all of us still have our others professions, we’ve come together for what we see as a strong need in the LA area and beyond for the artist. That is our goal and we hope the heart of ‘paying it forward’ catches on and replaces the ‘what can we take from you’ lessens, at least when an artist works with us.
Has it been a smooth road?
Some people in my world said it best, often it looks like we know it all because we’ve made all the mistakes, lol. I think that is true with all businesses that begin. We’ve made some mistakes, but grown from them in a positive way. We go back to our vision statement, why we began and move on from there.
One struggle we’ve had is people want to know ‘What’s the catch?’ Because our pricing for quality is so much lower than our competition they think there is something shady. In reality, the system we’ve created keeps our price points lower. When we first started out we had a promo rate that was very low to build the business, but moving forward we’ve gotten into a groove where things are better.
Another struggle has been that actors don’t think they need a reel. In reality, they do. There are a lot of articles out there that say ‘make your own’, and you can, but what type of career does an actor want and what types of roles do they want to book. Or, what type of agent do they want to approach. Being packaged well is what they need and having a quality reel is a part of that.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the 4 Reels USA story. Tell us more about the business.
Again, what sets up apart is the ‘experience’ of being on set. An actor comes in and is greeted, goes to holding, wardrobe and makeup and has a call sheet of the scenes they are shooting. They get to work with our director, work on blocking and beats and deliver a great performance. They are challenged to know their lines to bring it when it’s their turn.
Our team of working professionals also know about lighting, sound, and more as well. Our team of vendors we use are all graduates of film schools and have worked in the industry. We are a team of collectives who have the heart to help actors get their footage they need to succeed.
The win for me personally is seeing the confidence at the end of they day for an actor who goes through the 4 Reels USA experience. That (with the team whom I love to work) they leave with a hope that what they are pursuing matters, they feel great, more educated, and ready to get out there and move forward in their career. I’ve been there, and instilling this in others brings me great satisfaction and joy.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Due to the rise of self-tapping, social media and more, I see many people trying to ‘do it themselves’ Reality TV also has a large part of this. Many may seem that they may not need a reel. I don’t see that as going away per say, but rising to the base where an actor ‘wants’ their career to be.
The scariest trend is quality. Quality never goes out of style. Others may settle for less, but at the end of the day, the ones who invest in quality get it. Look, style and outcome of a reel in post-production efforts equals quality. This is a big choice someone will need to make to decide the career path they want to have.
What I’d like to hope for and inspire as a ‘shift’ is the mindset of others helping others in this industry. I’d like to see the actor new to this market not being taken advantage of through education and spotting a rip off artist when they see one.
The biggest talk of the town is Union vs. The NonUnion. We see a lot of actors, and though the goal is to be protected and unions are out there for that purpose, it’s killing the world of the independent filmmaker wanting to work with top talent at budgets less than union dues can even cover. Like our government this year, we’ll see where that leads.
- $499 Super Saver Package (1 HD scene)
- $799 Classic Package (3 HD Scenes)
- $830 Career Starter Kit (3 HD Scenes and Two Actor Slates, Commercial and Theatrical)
- $999 Pro Starter Kit (3 HD Scenes and Two Actor Slates, Commercial and Theatrical/Headshots [3 looks])
- Other services listed on our website
- Address: General Office
5250 Lankershim Blvd. Ste 500
North Hollywood, CA 91601
- Website: www.4ReelsUSA.com
- Phone: (818) 818-3800
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @4ReelsUSA
- Facebook: @4ReelsUSA
- Twitter: @4ReelsUS
- Yelp: 4 Reels USA
- Other: Meet Up: 4 Reels USA