Schumann & Company

Workbook Weekly: Sizzle Reel Interview

The circumstances created by the pandemic, the new available technology, and the creation of a new exciting roster of talent gave Patti Schumann of Schumann and creative director, Philippe Jungman the purpose, the platform and the time to create this fantastic new reel. It’s the perfect blend of motion and stills which reflects the capabilities of this talented group of image makers and is an answer to what the market now demands. We were able to ask Patti and Phil about the process of making it all happen. Read the full interview below. Posted 06/01/2021 by Workbook

When did you decide that you wanted to make a sizzle reel” as a promotional tool for Schumann & Company?

Patti: I think the idea started to formulate late spring as I was building my roster of artists. I knew that it was important to have a promotional piece that would showcase both the still and motion content in an innovative manner. I wanted something killer for my launch and a branding piece that I could use for my presentations to clients as well as seminars or speaking engagements. As the pandemic forced all marketing to go virtual, it was a no brainer!

How do you two know one another? Had you worked together before you put this reel together? Phil, what is your professional background?

Patti: Our paths have crossed over the years, but Phil was recommended to me through a mutual colleague and friend, Liz Miller-Gershfeld at Energy BBDO. He came with the perfect mix of brilliant creative direction and editing panache!

Phil:I am an advertising Creative Director/Art Director. I spend my formative years in the business in NYC and moved to Chicago about 10 years ago. I’ve always loved the production side of what I do and most recently the editing process. When the opportunity to work with Patti came up, I jumped on it!

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How long did it take you? I imagine there was a great deal of editing in the beginning and constant re-editing as you moved through the process.

Patti: Interesting question. It took us months, but I think taking our time was critical to the magical accidents that happen when you take your time. The whole process was highly collaborative. I had a clear vision of what I was hoping to achieve visually and conceptually, but Phil brought it to life!

Phil: We could have done it in a couple weeks but we weren’t bound to a tight schedule so we took our time, thankfully for me. I tried to outline the plan as clearly as I could going in, including choosing the music ahead of time. Patti is awesome to work with and fortunately most of the back and forth happened at the end when we were fine-tuning and getting things to the point where we were all feeling great.

Did you ever disagree on a particular part of what came together as the final, and if so how did you get to resolution?

Patti: I really don’t think we ever disagreed per se, but each version presented another opportunity to tune and refine. Phil intuitively understood the direction I provided but consistently took it to the next level.

Phil: Patti uses Jedi mind control techniques, so if we ever disagreed, I was never aware of it. Seriously, we never butted heads. My trick was to post a couple options whenever we were on the fence about something and figured it out from there. Boring but it was a pandemic year, who needed the stress.

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Did you have an ideal length of time that you wanted to fill? Or was it more dictated by the content you had to show.

Patti: We definitely had the length of time in mind prior to digging in. We wanted to keep it to 2 minutes of less.

Phil: We figured people wouldn’t want to sit through more than 2 minutes but there is so much amazing work to show, we decided to let that lead the length. Plus, the track has such a compelling beat we wanted to let it play out and take people on a really nice ride.

What editing tools did you use? Did you ever use printed versions in the editing?

Patti: We did not use printed versions of the imagery, primarily because we were wanting to showcase motion as extensively as stills. I had a very clear picture of what I felt the strength of each artist was and wanted to make sure that these distinctive strengths came across in the reel.

Phil: I used Adobe Premier. So enjoyable to work with. I did not print out. The volume of images was huge.

Patti and her assistant Annie supplied images and video from all 5 photographers and I made selects from there. I tried to create a visual timeline or storyboard before editing but seemed silly when I could do that on the Premier timeline. Patti helped me order some of the shots and prioritize the ones that worked hardest for each artist.

When did you introduce the music into the editing process? It provides a beat” to the imagery and drives the story which is great.

Patti: Phil made it clear to me that it all starts with the music. It is that beat that drives the editing. We started by listening to stock sound tracks for tone and direction. With that said, I knew the general feel of the music I liked, but was not loving the tracks. That’s when Phil suggested we look for existing custom tracks from Pull Music, a sound house that he has worked with in the past. We both fell in love with this particular track and I feel it was well worth the additional expenditure. Interestingly enough-when we started the process we had no idea that there were vocals., but once we realized this, it was one of the happy accidents that nailed exactly what I hoped to create. I never get tired of listening to it!

Phil:My biggest fear was to share the first cut and hear, I don’t love the music. Before I started cutting, I shared some nice stock options but knew music would play a huge part of this so asked a friend, Scott Brittingham at Pull Music in NYC for some help. He shared a couple tracks and it was clear how much better it would be with what we ended up using.

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What was the most challenging part of this project? What was the most fun part of this project?

Patti: I think the most challenging part of this project was all about image selection, timing and transitions. It was important that each artist was showcased equally and exceptionally- keeping them distinctive yet cohesive. The most fun part? When we new we nailed it and followed up with oysters and bubbly!

Phil: The most challenging part was making sure all the artists had an equal showing on the reel and the transitions were clear from artist to artist. Then, to assure the pacing worked with the personality of their work. So… everything. Fortunately, I found the challenge quite fun, part of the credit goes to Patti for having patience and never making me feel pressured.

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How often do you see having to create a new version and or at the least update what you have? Have you mailed it to a creative buyer list? If so what has the response been?

Patti: Honestly, I don’t think you could make a new version” of this through updating. I think I will need to create a new reel. The next reel might likely be sometime in 2022. I have shared the reel initially with clients and producers for feedback and as an introduction. The WB DXE is my media debut. It will live on my site and be sent out as a digital promotion. I will also use it as an opener for my presentations. So far, the response has been incredibly positive. 

In general how much of your business is still only projects? Still+motion? Motion only? Do you see a trend moving in one direction of another?

Patti: Most of my business is still & motion or still as a component of motion. I do not think a photographer can survive without comfort directing motion any more.

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