I left a video production company 1 year ago.

I mainly did all of the pre-production, production and post production work during my time there.

The company I was working for previously has closed down, and I've started my own small production business.

Can I include the Video Production work I completed at my former company in my current business portfolio?

  • 1
    Contact the owner of the former company. If they are not the owners of the produced videos they will be able to point you down the right path.
    – Myles
    Jun 22 '17 at 17:32
  • Note that the OP is asking about whether to assert that he was associated with creating item X. OP is not asking about literally mechanical rights to use (say) the logo of that project in the (for example, PDF) manifestation of his Business Portfolio.
    – Fattie
    Jun 23 '17 at 21:34
  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Is it ok for me to reference previous projects in my portfolio?
    – Fattie
    Jun 25 '17 at 16:30

What this comes down to is a simple matter of ownership. Let's take my field of expertise, programming as an example.

I write code for a living, in my contract with my employer is VERY CLEARLY states that I do not own any of the code that I produce while on the clock for them, or using their resources. If I were to try and take some of this code and plop it into a portfolio, they would have grounds for legal action because I do not own the code that I claim to. By putting it your portfolio, you are saying that you either:

  1. Own the rights to the content
  2. You have received permission from the owners of the content

In this case, we can't really advise you one way or the other. You need to go back to the employer and ask them if you have the rights to the content and if you don't, ask them for permission. If you do get permission, get it in writing and both of you sign it.

For now the short answer is no you cannot, but that is out of caution.

  • Even if the work in question had been published to a publicly available location, it comes down to the details of your contract as to whether you can claim any association with it. If your name appears in the Credits, it might be OK, but other than that, be cautious... Jun 23 '17 at 11:35
  • its all the same, content is content is contracts are contracts. I know people who work in this field and it is no different than programming. Programming is my field, so I used that as an example. This is not an issue exclusive to video production. Jun 23 '17 at 12:20
  • That's not what is being asked here. Video Production portfolio include the content, not just a list of things you did. Jun 23 '17 at 12:25
  • You are also missing something here. YOU didn't do accomplish the tasks listed in your example. Company X did. You merely contributed. Jun 23 '17 at 12:30
  • 1
    @Fattie By creating it for the company, you are saying that the company owns it, right? Therefore you can't say you made it unless the company lets you, because it's the company's now, not yours. You were paid for it, so you lose all ability to claim it.
    – Stephen S
    Jun 26 '17 at 2:41

nakamuraza, in answer to what I believe you are asking -

  • it's completely normal to include past work on your showreel, not just your current agency or company.

  • if you prefer, bring up a title Work with Saatchi & Saatchi and have that, and then bring up another title Work with previous employers and then have that.

No big deal.

It's obvious that those in the video/film industries of course include all work they have done, on their showreels.

If you are unfamiliar with this you can instantly:

  1. google up perhaps 1/4 million such reels

  2. instantly see that reels / folios include all their work.

BTW for any young people reading, this is a (physical, not metaphorical) portfolio as everyone on Madison Ave. would carry around up until, say, 2000 or so..

enter image description here

...for those who worked in print advertising. For those who did TV spots, this is a (physical, not metaphorical) showreel.

enter image description here

(TBC note that the OP does not at all mention "reel" or "showreel" - I just added it here for clarity.

The OP states twice business portfolio, simply meaning: "When I assert my body of work includes A B C, can I include X Y Z ?" )

Note that the words "portfolio" and "reel" are also used metaphorically. Eg, "Steven Spielberg's reel includes ET and Jaws." (The guy wouldn't literally bother having a physical tape somewhere with those on it - you know, so that he can show it to potential employers :) )

  • 2
    -1. I'm sorry, but this answer is completely unsubstantiated. The fact that one random person is able to include samples in their own portfolio is in no way indicative of what you're trying to say. You have no idea what kinds of arrangements and contracts that person has made with their former employers. Meanwhile, saying "obviously" does not make this in any way obvious, and there are a lot of cases you could point out which would show that, in fact, you can't just take whatever work you want from a prior employer and use it in your portfolio. Jun 23 '17 at 17:44
  • This isn't how Stack Exchange works. You have made a claim; your answer should provide support. Right now it does not. I would put it on you to either substantiate your answer or delete it, because right now you've got no support for your claims. Jun 23 '17 at 18:56
  • Note that the OP is asking about whether to assert that he was associated with creating item X. OP is not asking about literally mechanical rights to include (say) the logo in his Business Portfolio.
    – Fattie
    Jun 23 '17 at 21:31
  • I disagree. To me it is clear that OP wants to include the work itself. This is literally what a portfolio is; it's a collection of past work. What you're describing is just a CV. Jun 23 '17 at 22:43
  • 1
    I think this disagreement is a good manifestation of the fact that we could use some clarification from the OP on what he means. @Fattie your answer is very well put together, aside from the discussion of whether or not that's what OP was asking.
    – schizoid04
    Jun 25 '17 at 18:08

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