Director Joe Carnahan (The Grey, The A-Team) revealed yesterday on Twitter that his “idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke.” He was talking about his take on a Daredevil reboot, and you can read the political details of why it’s not happening here. He then did something really cool—he posted two different “sizzle pieces” that he created to pitch Fox on his gritty, 70’s exploitation-style vision of the movie.
This is a rare glimpse at the working product of a director courting a project. There are tons of ways to create dynamic visuals to accompany a pitch, but the “rip reel,” where you build a trailer for your hypothetical movie out of shots ripped from others, is perhaps the most effective.
As you can see, it’s possible to convey a great deal of authorship and directorial intent by mixing and matching pieces stolen from other movies.
A director between projects (or prior to his first) takes a lot of meetings, reads a lot of screenplays, makes a lot of notes—and, every once in a while, goes all-in on a visual presentation to convince a studio to hand them the reins of a movie. In the past two years, I’ve made four of these. Maybe someday I’ll be able to share them as well.