By Phil Cooke, producer, author & media expert
Okay – producers, directors, editors, camera people, and everyone else in the film, TV, or media business: Stop producing demo reels of compiled shots of your work edited to a hip, cool song. I’m not impressed, and here’s why:
– I want to know if you can tell a story. A compiled list of shots from the last 5 years of your career tells me nothing. It doesn’t show me your sense of pacing, tempo, or storytelling ability.
– I want to see how your directing, editing, or shooting fits together. Is your lighting consistent from scene to scene? What’s your shooting style? Do you approach different projects differently? Does your creative approach match the story you’re telling?
– With a compilation, I have no idea what you actually did and didn’t do. Did you design the animated titles? Which shots did you shoot, edit, or whatever? Why are there scenes from promos of major movies there? I know you didn’t do those. You may think it jazzes up the demo, but it just makes me skeptical.
A compiled demo is like an architect showing me individual bricks, windows, or doorways from different buildings he’s designed. I’m not interested in individual parts, I want to see the whole thing. Does the film, program, or commercial have symmetry? Does it work together? Does it make sense?
With Vimeo and other platforms you have the ability to show me a wider range of you work. I want to see finished – and complete – pieces. I might not view everything in it’s entirety, but I want that option.
A compiled demo reel is for amateurs who don’t have real work to show. Shooters and editors are a dime a dozen. Storytellers are much more rare.
Don’t show off to me. Move me.
An internationally known writer and speaker, Phil Cooke has produced media programming in more than 40 countries around the world. And during that time – through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California – he’s helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations and leaders in the world use the media to tell their story in a changing, disrupted culture. Check out his engaging blog at www.philcooke.com