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ethical question - demo reel

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Leah Chapman
ethical question - demo reel
on Sep 29, 2006 at 4:46:13 pm

After four years working as the sole editor for a production company, I left to start my own post house. I've put such hard work into everything I edited for that production company that I feel that my reel - which contains a good amount of work produced & edited there - really does showcase my own work. But I know that the production company would be quite unhappy to see my new company's demo reel circulating around with their footage on it. How do I showcase my work in the most ethical way possible? Thanks in advance for your input.


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btveditor
Re: ethical question - demo reel
on Sep 29, 2006 at 10:09:40 pm

Good day Leah,

Wow, that's an interesting perdicament. Most times its an editor asking about using footage for there reel.

I guess I have a couple of questions, first are you competing for business with this post house? Second, if your not, if you haven't already asked them about using some of there material, ask them. Third and this one I know I will get called out on and maybe rightfully so, but, contact some of the clients and ask them if you can use some of there material. My feeling here is that they are the company/people who paid to have this project done by your former place and they may consent to using some of there material. That being said, you may just have to cut a couple spec reels without any of that footage, until you can build a new reel on your own.

btveditor out


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Leah Chapman
Re: ethical question - demo reel
on Sep 30, 2006 at 4:30:47 pm

[I guess I have a couple of questions, first are you competing for business with this post house? ]

Yes and no. Unfortunately we are in the same relatively small market, but I am following leads from my new business partner and trying to drum up new business by marketing my new company. My old employer relied on returning clients and does not market itself or do any sort of biz development.

[Second, if your not, if you haven't already asked them about using some of there material, ask them. ]

Here the plot thickens... When I left the old company, I was not replaced. One of their biggest clients felt they couldn't receive the same level of service without a full-time editor, so they have left as well. I have been blamed for this. When I left the company, I was given a glowing Letter of Recommendation, but now I find myself on the receiving end of many unpleasantries.

[Third and this one I know I will get called out on and maybe rightfully so, but, contact some of the clients and ask them if you can use some of there material. My feeling here is that they are the company/people who paid to have this project done by your former place and they may consent to using some of there material.]

In light of what I've written above, I think this would be highly offensive to my former employer.

[That being said, you may just have to cut a couple spec reels without any of that footage, until you can build a new reel on your own.]

Perhaps I am being stubborn, but I worked exceptionally hard on those projects, I am proud of them, and I really consider them to showcase my talent. I can't conceive of putting together a demo reel without some of my best work.

I wish there were a way to indicate that I was just the editor on some pieces or somehow indicate that it is work from my days with a different company. The problem is, for all my brainstorming, I can't see a solution that wouldn't seem strange to potential clients.

Thanks so much for your input.


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mr_gfx
Re: ethical question - demo reel
on Oct 1, 2006 at 6:11:13 am

I know a person that produced spots and edited spots for big name clients while they were with a production house and that person then started their own company and has those spots on their webpage with credits to what their role was in the project.

a demo reel is to showcase your talents. why should you not be able to take credit for a piece that you edited or produced just because it was for another companY? if that was the case i doubt any of us would ever have a demo reel to shop around because most of our stuff is classifed as "work for hire."

if you edited it I think you should show it to other people. What if you put your heart and soul into that piece and it was your best piece ever. it is worth letting others know.

unless of course you, and your old company have the exact same projects showing on your websites and demo reels........then that is different and might cause clients to wondering (who really did this piece)


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