Producing : Would this idea be a problem? by Dana Solomon

Dana Solomon

Would this idea be a problem?

I'm not certain if I'm posting this in the right place, but hopefully someone here can answer this for me. I'm looking to put together a tv commercial demo reel as a film composer. I want to market my music as a composer to different companies, ad agencies to get work composing for 30 second spots, trailers, etc. So my idea is to use existing commercials released by major companies (BMX, Mercedes, Volvo, Nike, Adidas, etc.) and put my own music to the video, and my own voiceover. This of course would be done on my own accord, and without their permission. Do any of you see this as being a potential problem for me to use their content as a "demo reel" for what I can do as a potential composer for them and others? - Dana

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi Dana. I would not use copyrighted material, videos, products, logos, brand names, etc, in your own reel—unless you have written permission to do so. If by chance you are showing your reel to an ad agency who just happens to do work for one of the companies you have included in your reel you could get in some serious trouble. Or if you post your reel online and a company sees that you are using their material without permission you could be sued. I recommend you utilize a stock image/video company like Shutterstock or iStock by Getty Images. You can purchase the usage rights for video clips. They have package deals or you can purchase usage rights per clip, something like $19 for web, I think? Different companies offer different prices. Perhaps shop around, see what you like. A lot of ad agencies use stock imagery for pitches—I know, I used to be an art director. Anyway, going that route, you could use royalty free video clips without worry and without being sued. :) I hope that helps. Best to you!

Dana Solomon

Thanks for the advise Beth. I was kind of thinking along the answers you gave me already. I wasn't certain. All I want to do is be able to connect with the big agencies that are putting these commercials/promos together, and gain working producing/scoring jingles for their product, like Fila, Jaguar, etc. I'm not certain of what is the most effective way to pitch for work from them, but I at least know not to really try what I initially thought of doing. Thanks!

George Pierson

I would suggest creating a fake product with a fake name and make a commercial around that. The Chinese do it all the time.

Buck Kahler

Lots of film composers have Soundcloud accounts with a variety of styles demonstrated in their work. Find a friend who needs music for their film or commercial (it shouldn't be too hard, EVERYBODY needs music!) I'm giving a Facebook friend in Australia a shot at scoring one of my documentaries, just for her reel. It's a great deal for me!

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