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#1 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 10:04 PM

I am in the process of re-cutting my reel - I uploaded what I have so far to my youtube site. I have two more short films and a music video that I am hoping to get footage from in the next week or two that I will cut in here, replacing some of the weaker shots.

For now I just wanted to get some feedback - what works for you, what doesn't, what to keep, what to cut - etc.

Also curious to see what you think of the music - some people like it / other don't - thoughts or ideas?

Thanks


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#2 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 06:25 AM

bump -

Just trying to get feedback - anyone?
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#3 Walter Graff

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 09:58 AM

I'd shorten it and combine the shots from the same pieces more. It's clear you have a few pieces and are trying to stretch it all by adding different shots later to build the reel but there simply isn't enough variety. Such as the scene with the guy in bed. You show it a few times from different angles. It does little for me because the variety doesn't say enough hence why I suggest you combine those shots or just cut a few out. And the kid in the sweat hoodie. Saw him once and twice bores me. It's no different. Same with party. You show the party, then a another scene from the same room but different and less interesting. Bores me. That is unless I am looking to do a party scene (I'll explain below). I mentioned shortening it. I was bored after a short period, perhaps the music is too monotonous. It is far too long in the beginning when your name comes up. I was bored by the time your name appeared. Show you name then move on. As a guy who spent years hiring people from thousands of reels when I worked at the big agencies, I can tell you what we look for:

A shot of something that looks like what we are looking to do. In other words if I am doing something with dominos, I look for dominos. If I need something that was shot on a roof, I notice roof stuff. That says to you to show as much variety as possible. Outside of that you hope that you have what they are looking for. Hence why it's a good idea to ask them what they are looking to do when they ask you for a reel so that if you have shots related to that subject you can quickly add them. The more you have the better. But I don't need to see shots for more than a few seconds unless it gives me a reason to. Basically, I don't know a person on the viewing end that sits through a persons reel unless it is short and shows me lots of variety so I am not bored. And once I start seeing the same shots from the same scene later, I hit the stop button. After seeing thousands of reels when I worked at three major agencies, and when looking for DPs for projects I direct today, I can say that is very hard not to throw together a bunch of cool looking images and make a cinematography reel. Any shots around sunsets always look good, as do trees, soft close-ups of women, hi-con interiors, dark alleys, camera movement, etc. So I say hedge your bets and have as much as you can and if you can, look for what subject matter the folks you are trying to pitch are looking for. That is what they care about, not pretty silhouettes. That is only the wrapper but the candy is in the variety and more importantly the proper variety. I was recently looking for a DP for a series of spots. It was a single person on camera in nice settings. So what did I look for? Movement, and in my case dolly movement. I cared less about how pretty shots were, I have yet to see a reel that doesn't have pretty shots. I wanted someone that demonstrated good dolly movement. You could have the most amazing reel with great shots of the outdoors, but if I am looking to do a short in a bathroom, if I don't see a bathroom on your reel, I eject it and move on.

I noticed that cinematography reels have now become more like movie trailers in execution. Some really hip song with images behind it and far too much editing style. But I am not looking to go to the movies, only find a shot that moves me for what I need.

Here is what a recent discussion with 10 of the biggest creative directors over lunch resulted in:

Variety. As much as you can.

I'm busy so loose the style and show me images or the FF button comes into play just before the STOP button.

I'm busy, get to the point, I don't have three minutes to watch an opera.

I care little about your name so don't spend ten minutes with some "LOST" (ABC show) style attempt as showing it to me. Show me your name quickly and get to the images. Then at the end leave me your name up for a minute with contact info.

Be careful with the music. If you pick something too popular, you may skew me as that song reminds me of something so I don't look at your reel with a clear mind.

Stop trying to be cool with the music. If I can't sit through your reel with the sound off, I will not sit through it with the sound on. Make a reel that moves well, and see it can tell a visual story somehow for your variety of images. Try watching your reel with the sound off and see if it makes sense. Since you are showing me random shots, how you order them becomes important to keeping my attention. And even the best music may not help keep me tuned in, shots have to have some sort of rational in terms of how you present them. If I gave you a slide show of my house and went from the front door, then the shower, then the front hall, then the kitchen sink, then the bedroom, you wouldn't find my presentation interesting. Yea you say but the elements from my reel have little to do with each other. Yes they do, you just have to find the common thread. This is one of the least thought out part of how folks put together reels.

If you've got four pieces of work, don't try to make it look like ten. Nothing worse than seeing ABCD-DABDCDBA in terms of shots. If you've got four pieces of work on a reel, we'd rather see a few clips together from each than you trying to spread them out like the last piece of butter on toast. Then it becomes a movie because you've basically picked each scene and showed it to me and if that is the case you might as well just show me the movie. In other words, if you've got four pieces to make a reel from make it short and sweet. Don't try to make it into an epic.

Sometimes it can be successful to make a two parter. Show me a minute montage set to music, fade to black then show me the context of that montage in longer clips with either music or the context audio of the piece. This does two things:

1, the montage moves fast and keeps my attention so makes your work look better.

2, if I see something on that short montage that catches my eye, I look further in the longer piece, but if I don't I move on and you've saved me from scrambling to find the eject button.
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#4 Lawrence Holt

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 10:38 AM

I'll second every bit about the pace noted above.

Speed it up. I got bored at the 3 second mark and fast-forwarded through your name (cheesy, and it doesn't appear for 11 seconds...that's outrageous). I watched the first two scenes, and started skipping around again. It's all so slow and monotonous that it's uncomfortable to watch in full.

I can't imagine that a busy creative director is going to sit through this if I won't. I'm in no hurry--I have all day--yet I'm not going to waste my time on bland, repetitive footage.

Add more variety and increase the pace.
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#5 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 07:43 PM

thanks for the feedback - back to the cutting board
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