Years ago there was a brief trend of startups that offered contests for anyone to make spots for big brands. Poptent was a popular one. Along with Zoopa. These were technology firms that were shaking up the world of advertising by letting brands connect directly to content creators.
It was a fantastic training ground for a writer/director cause you would get to review creative briefs from the brands directly. Crest, Intel, Century 21, Geico and tons more, and bring a spot together from concept to fine cut with absolutely NO creative notes from an agency or the brand. haha. Total creative freedom to fail miserably or win big.
You didn't get paid up front. Only if you won. I did a lot of spots with no intention of winning but just to see what I could do and I actually won $8K from one contest for a NY Life Insurance spot I submitted. It was never used but the spot only took a day to shoot and half a day to cut. So it was definitely worth it and fun to make.
The access to the creative briefs was a huge eye opener to how large brands operate and what they look for. The irony is, the entire TVC world is now pretty much an outdated model on life support. Content marketing is the way forward. Ads that don't look like ads and can't be skipped.
So I don't know how much a reel of specs is gonna help you in this new market. Can't hurt and they're definitely fun to make but I'd focus on those newer type of social media minidocs and videos meant for snapchat, instagram, etc. Companies seem to like those.
Edited by Michael LaVoie, 25 May 2016 - 03:10 PM.