Don DiPietro

I first learned about TV production from my dad and his colleagues—the guys who essentially invented television at NBC in New York back in the days of live broadcasting.  My father, Vincent, received his first Emmy in 1956 and won several more over the years, working with Ernie Kovaks,  Sid Caesar, George Roy Hill, Martin & Lewis, and the true pioneers of television.  He had a great career which included being the hand-held cameraman on Saturday Night Live from its first broadcast until until he retired in the 1980s.

 

After graduating from CalArts, I produced, directed and/or edited over five thousand hours of television, from 30-second commercials and music videos to live remotes and Vegas-style  extravaganzas. I recently stumbled across a box with some VHS demo reels. Here a few oldies from that box -- home movies for the folks who were around when these were made.

This was a demo reel of  commercials produced around 1990. I unearthed this cassette on a shelf next to a VHS player that still worked.  These spots look pretty good considering they're over twenty years old and were made on a very low budget.  Sadly, the edited masters were lost over time so this muddy VHS is all we have.

This was the executive presentation for the cable channel "e-Merica" that I developed for the New Media Group at MGM/UA in1995. We were so far ahead of the curve. MGM was sold in '97 and the new owner, Kirk Kerkorian, decided not to launch the channel. Big mistake.

 

The original budget to launch: $60-70 Million.

Estimated value today: $ 12-15 Billion.  Pity.

 

I am still  proud of the work we did to build this. It was "the one that got away"...

This was a POP (point-of-purchase) video for Sebastian International, the hair and make-up products company, then privately held, now owned by P&G. This segment is from a longer instructional series that went out to hair salons every month as part of their educational requirement. Again, early 90’s. We used to make 12 of these a year. The budgets were pretty modest so we didn't make much profit on these, but they were fun to shoot and looked good on the reel.

 

Jump to the modeling section at 3:30. That's the fun stuff.