What do you look for when reviewing director reels?

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Feels very project specific, but a few questions I might be asking myself are:

Does their work resonate with the idea (eg do i need them to work with people, interviews, studio vs outside, action shots). Can they capture the right tone for this? Is it the right polish/style? Does it feel like they can enhance my idea or am I looking for someone to just execute it and make it look beautiful? Does their work stir something in me? Do I get a strong sense of their point of view and/or range?


“Did the producer/creative team extend the invitation to a diverse group of directors and production vendors, or only limit it to informal, word-of-mouth, paid reps and/or personal connection submissions and that’s why we’ve just sat through two dozen interchangeable reels that all could have been shot by the same director?”


If they have already shot your boards and it’s on the reel, that’s a plus.

Looking for a spot similar to your boards is lame. Half the fun of looking at reels is finding gold among the 70 or so reels I will look at when searching for a director. I don’t expect to see my spot on a reel nor do I want to.


Does the body of work fit our idea? Casting is huge for me. Lighting too. If I’m looking for subtle comedy and dialogue, if the reel has no dialogue or the comedy is over the top dumb, I move on. It only takes me the first 3-4 spots to determine if the director is right for our project.

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