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Mike Washlesky

Demo Reel Suggestions

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I am about to start cutting a new demo reel for my DP work and am curious everyone's thoughts on the best way to present the material. Previously I would cut individual trailers for each project I had worked on as the trailers for said projects are edited more for story and less for visuals (not always highlighting my best shots etc.) This tends to be time consuming as I am having to cut a trailer from scratch for both my best shots, and trying to piece together a coherent story.

 

I have been poking around this site checking out members demo reels and see that the majority of DP's tend to simply overlay beauty shots with music underneath. Should I abandon cutting the trailers and just slap on the nice visuals? If I do, should I segment the material into specific projects and place titles of the projects and the year of production?

 

What are potential clients looking for most when they look at a reel? Obviously for DP's, they are looking for nice visuals, but isnt a little bit of entertainment also necessary?

 

Gracias

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I am not a professional DP, nor do I aspire to become one. But here is something that I would appreciate if a DP submitted their reel to me.

 

A reel consisting of, lets say, three different scenes, each from a different film. As each scene plays, you have a commentary soundtrack explaining how and more importantly why you photographed each scene the way you did. I think explaining how the script informed your decisions would be great, because you would also be letting your demo-viewing audience know how you approach and interpret a given script, and that your choices were motivated by the script, and not just for the sake of a good visual.

 

Now, perhaps this isnt such a good idea. I dont really know. And I cant say Iv ever seen a demo that did this. But who knows.

Edited by Keneu Luca

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Thats a great idea, I wonder if anyone on these boards has done a reel like that. Only problem I see is that most clients have such short attention spans for something as indepth as this, and simply would move onto another potential reel before the scene develops. I would be afraid that a reel like that might actually hurt getting potential gigs. I would be curious anyone else's thoughts on this. I could see this helping once you've been narrowed down from a list of other DP's once you get to the "getting to know you" stage where more viewing of one's work would be asked for.

 

 

Thanks for the suggestion.

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You also mention the breakdown of a scene and a V/O track of how and why you shot a particular scene as you did. That scares me a bit because at least from my projects, which are typically underfunded and short on time, serendipity often rules the day. Say a light blows out or its raining and you are forced to shoot in a way you hadnt originally planned on. Would this information make you sound incompetent? So much develops on set that you cant totally forecast such as a producer breathing down your neck because a set-up is taking so long or equipment failure like I said previously. Also, I find that sometimes the shot you spend 3 hours trying to get in the can gets cut to save 30 seconds of total run time (its happened unfortunately). But i guess I could just pick the scenes that are more straight forward and avoid that can of worms all together.

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i've found most commercial clients want to see spots you've already shot, in their entirety. even if its only a few really good looking spots, i'd show those and take it from there. for features, a montage over music is common, though your practice of making custom trailers sounds more interesting to me.

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I bill myself out less as a commercial DP and more weighted towards narrative, so my choice trade work is limited.

 

for features, a montage over music is common, though your practice of making custom trailers sounds more interesting to me.

 

Ok, thanks for response. Thats what I was thinking as well about interesting/entertaining. But does anyone else cut their own reels in that fashion?

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The last time I cut my reel I did the "trailer" style, and had a series of shots from each project lumped together, and I used production sound. It turned out I didn't like it as much as I thought I would and I've recently re-cut it in the montage style with music underneath, and I like it much better. I used a piece of music without vocals since I find it less distracting.

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My personal tendency and from what I've seen of others is for music montage of shots, however, I did see this one reel which incorporated both production sound and brief sequences into the montage which I think was very good.

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