The mission of Curated Creative is to highlight members of GeniusRocket’s Creative Community and bring them closer to you through their personal stories and explanations of creative methods. Today, we feature Alex Reiter, a field producer, director and documentary specialist.
Alex Reiter began his career working in post-production on independent feature films and major releases for Sony, Disney and New Line. He then moved into television editorial, editing for various networks including The Learning Channel, Sundance, MTV, Discovery, Fox, and Paramount Pictures. He later pursued his passion for documentary storytelling with Current TV. Today, Alex combines his production and post-production skills in both documentary, narrative and commercial work for his own network of clients and GeniusRocket.
Considering that a lot of your recent work has been documentary-based, how did you channel into this type of film? What steps led you here?
My migration toward a commercial documentary style started with my time at CurrentTV as the internet was becoming an innovative platform for video content. My time there triggered an evolution in my career where I needed to figure out the acceptable length of video that was short enough yet capable of telling the whole story. The format, genre and style of documentary filmmaking has stayed the same; however, the length has gotten shorter over time. I think it’s interesting to see how documentary length affects engagement since video has become so popular. I think that this gray area has really sparked my interest in documentary and short-film.
Overall, short-film has become a language of its own because of its accessibility today. Short films are inspiring and can appeal to advertisers because they can tell such a great story, and because it’s so easy to view and share.
What do you think are the keys to creating engaging video?
From a documentary and advertising standpoint, there are certain elements from an interview/narrative structure that are necessary. The video must have an issue/challenge, an insight, and finally a solution – these are universal narrative structure components. To add to this, a possible future outcome should be proposed, which can make it really inspirational. These are all vital parts in storytelling; each element keeps people captivated.
Also, the way these elements relate to the person in focus can connect the video to the audience. Showing a real story helps people relate these feelings to their own lives. Therefore, it’s important to get a real connection to the person you’re communicating with to ignite this engagement.
The visual elements of a video can also boost engagement. I think that you need a particularly good eye to find little moments that are either personal or authentic. These moments can make a video extra compelling.
Who are your main influences?
Michael Moore is a large idol of mine because he is outspoken, stands behind his work and has a wide influence. I like documentaries that aim to make a difference and are genuine. A couple other influences I have are Errol Morris and Joe Berlinger.
Why is documentary-style advertising effective?
I think this style is effective because it’s authentic and a lot of people don’t trust traditional forms of advertising. When you’re out to connect with real people and real stories (which is authentic and transparent), people recognize the realness behind it. Documentary-style advertising gives an honest interpretation of a product. Clients who want to be honest should embrace this style of advertising.
What made you interested in working with GeniusRocket?
What has intrigued me about GeniusRocket is that you have moved away from the broader crowdsourcing model of contests toward a more realistic agency, where you marry clients with individual production companies and filmmakers.
Check out the great work Alex has done for Cisco:
How do you see short film ads boosting brand value? Answer below in the comments!