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#1 Jake Vander Ark

Jake Vander Ark
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  • Director
  • Los Angeles, CA / Grand Haven, MI

Posted 22 July 2008 - 03:44 PM

As you can tell from my recent posts, I'm trying to get my career up and running. My wife finally graduated from the American Film Institute, and she already got a job at WB. I'm feeling a bit of a slacker sitting at home while she brings in the dough.

I finished my website about a week ago, and I'm looking for any comments or suggestions on how to improve it... or better yet,... do I sell myself well? Would you hire me? What about the reel? I'm trying to be personable without sounding unprofessional, and it's a hard line to walk... does it work?

Any other tips in general for others looking to cut a reel or build a website? Thanks in advance for all posts : )

It is www.jakevanderark.com

Jake
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#2 Jim Keller

Jim Keller
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  • Fresno, CA

Posted 22 July 2008 - 05:31 PM

I think breaking up your resume into different skillsets is a good idea (assuming you're still willing to take work in all those areas), but I'd suggest adding links to the resume to the appropriate representations of your work (especially for the photography). But having "DP/team" under "services" implies that you are a DP as well. That tab would probably work best as a subtab under the "director" heading (with a disclaimer that you can bring your own team with you, or work with the producer's).

Also, for demonstrating that you're a good headshot photographer, you want pictures of many different actors, not just one (the very best of each actor, with different actors making up the different looks you can do), and I'd recommend either pulling down that section or quickly finding some additional actors to shoot (it's not hard to find actors willing to sign a release in exchange for a CD in this town). I would also put the professional shots above the personal shots unless you're trying to get a gallery show out of the personal stuff, in which case it should be labeled as "fine art."

Your reel didn't grab me, but I'd never hire a director off a reel, so that may be my problem rather than the reel's. Much more useful to me is a mechanism by which I can get my hands on the complete film (even if it's just a "contact me for a DVD" button). When I bring in a director, I don't care how her/his stuff looks in their reel, I care what my finished product will look like, and your finished work is the best way for me to assess that.

I appreciate that you kept it clean and simple, but be sure to test it on every browser you can get your hands on (most especially the Blackberry and the iPhone), and test it with Flash and JavaScript turned off. If it doesn't work when someone goes there, you're not getting the job. (I always tell people to keep their website to basic HTML or to ensure that there's an HTML-only version that is at most one click away at all times).

But, overall, I think the site is strong visually. You just need to think about what it is you're selling (and what your customer is buying) and make that the focus. Remember, customers buy solutions to their problems, not products. What problem am I solving by hiring you? Put that up-front and in focus, and you'll get work.
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