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Re: Fabricated Demos?

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Mark Suszko
Re: Fabricated Demos?
on Feb 12, 2004 at 10:11:00 pm

First, some H.R. advice: You might want to trim the above conversation from your next employment interview altogether...
Never act like you left with anything but the highest regard for them, just shrug it off as "we wanted to go in different directions, they wanted to go another way, and I had to respect that..." I can tell you from experience that nobody is impressed by the 'bitter loser/put-down the previous employer approach'. Look ahead to the positive. The folkf at the old job are prevented by law (or at least, the fear of lawsuits) from saying much more to employer inquiries than to state how long you worked, and if you left on good terms or not. If you decide to put this place in your resume, keep it strictly factual and strictly and SPECIFICALLY to the work itself, alone. If you list it, but can't show any work product to back it up, I think it's truthful to say: they are very proprietary about their work product, and don't wish to release any". I bet from now on, you will also take the extra time and money to make back-ups of your best stuff for future use.

As far as getting dubs of your previous work, you should write a polite, formal, registered letter to the head guy, or better yet their board of directors, asking for copies, including either pre-paid return postage and a blank tape, or an "offering" to cover any expenses or offset the lost time for somebody to make the dubs. Make it clear that you harbor no malice, you need the tapes to prove you have skills so you can find other employment. Worst they can say is no. Make the offering a cashier's check, clearly labeled as "for expenses in making copies of videos". Then you have proof in small claims court later that you had an agreement they would do this in exchange for money. If they tear up the check, hey, their problem. But your appeal should contain only affable and upbeat language along the lines of: "In the spirit of sharing and helping our fellow man... blah blah blah, you remain in my prayers, etc." Basically, between the lines, it will mean: "if you actually live by the code you espouse, it's only fair you give me copies of what I did for you, if I pay for cost of making them".

This will work or it won't. Think about what you can honestly say about the gap in your work history if you can't even mention these people. Meanwhile...

part two of your question: demo. Nowhere is it in stone a demo must be 100 percent airchecks and paid jobs. Lots of great stuff never makes it to air, and the point of the samples is to show what you can do, not how or if it was ultimately used.

Another way you might go when you don't think you have stuff that shows what you're really capable of is to offer to cut a piece for them "on spec", using their own footage. Shop managers sometimes offer such "try-outs" when they're interested, but not 100 percent sure of you. I think it's a fair thing to ask, on either side, as long as it's understood only the first one is a 'freebie', after that, if they like your work, it's cash or contract.

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