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Old May 24th, 2010, 05:27 PM   #1
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Demo Reel

I'm curious if there is anyone else in my situation and how you have dealt with it...
I have been in the film/video business all my adult life. 18 years spent working on commercials and the last 6 doing corporate video. I started a new company about 90 days ago but producing a demo reel is a bit of a sticky situation. Since most of the best work that I have done in the last several years is actually another company's intellectual property, I can't just post it on my website. The work before that, I was a freelance camera assistant, sound, grip, you name it. But since there were so many others involved in the work, I can't exactly show it as examples of "my work". Before I start soliciting work for commercials I need to be able to produce a demo, so for now, I am avoiding cold calls until I can. So my question for those of you who have been here is this: What is the trick to getting a video project without a demo reel? Or perhaps "Is there a trick" is more appropriate.

Has anyone had success selling a client without a demo?

ps I am putting together spec projects for just this reason, just wondering if I am overlooking an obvious tactic here...

Thanks!
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Old May 24th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #2
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Ran into this 18 mo ago when I was laid-off. My relationship with the company/boss was great and the lay-off was strictly business so I asked if I could use some of the material I worked on for my demo reel. They said yes.
Since starting up my company, I've done a ton of freelance for other companies and some of that stuff was really nice so same thing, I asked and they said yes.

So...if you have a cool relationship, that's what I'd do...if not, you're pretty much on the right track...create some vids of your own until they can be replaced with real ones. I think as long as the quality is there, potential clients don't care (and will never know) if it really aired or not.

I used to produce VO demos and for newbies, it was all "faked" spots. Producers/casting directors only care about the voice.

The other issue you mentioned was playing different roles in the production. That's difficult too and I have had a particularly hard time with it. I was an audio engineer/producer before video and most of my "big name" clients were actually audio for video. I don't use them on my reel but do have them listed on my site as past clients. Only one client (now a regular) asked what I did on some of those projects and the response I got was "Oh...cool!" As long as you don't misrepresent yourself, it's all good!
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