By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
Gabriel Reiter got the first taste of his future career during his middle school years at Delray’s Carver Middle School.
The school had just opened and there was a television studio that broadcasted throughout the classrooms.
“We started doing a TV show with morning announcements,” Reiter said. “I was in the first class that did it. I just fell in love with it right away.”
He said he was always tinkering with gizmos and gadgets and fixing things like his parent’s VCR machine. So when he saw the studio, he said it piqued his interest.
“I was enamored by all of the buttons,” he said.
When he moved up to Atlantic High, he continued taking classes that involved television and production.
Eventually, he found producing to be the role that suited him the most. Now, his career is spent producing commercials. He has worked for companies like Boost Mobile, Levi’s, eBay and other popular brands. His most recent project aside from commercials is producing a six episode series called Bunkheads, available on Amazon Prime.
“It was a role that bridged all the gaps,” he said of producing. “It wasn’t super technical or super creative or super business oriented.”
So, he stuck with it and studied film at the University of Miami and then at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. After receiving his M.F.A, he landed a job with veteran film producer Robert Cort, whose producing credits include Save The Last Dance, Jumanji, and the upcoming On The Basis of Sex.
After leaving his role with Cort, he said he began freelancing. That led him to commercials.He said working on commercials is satisfying because it is quick and creative.
“Commercials are the shortest form of story telling,” he said.
So his bread and butter and how he makes a living is through producing commercials. In between he works on developing feature and scripted films.
From 2012 – 2014, he produced Raising An Olympian, a series that screened at the Cannes Lions International Film Festival and attracted over 25 million views online.
His most recent project, Bunkheads, came to him from a friend he went to UM with. After reading the script, he said he was cracking up with laughter for an hour. The project has been in the works for two years, he said.
“I knew I had to do it,” he said. “It’s really funny, it’s different, it’s unique, it’s sweet and it’s heartwarming.”
The show is a different format than a typical 30 minute episode. There are six episodes total and each lasts about 12 minutes. It is content that is fit for viewing on your phone or computer on a work break or while at home looking for something to do.
The series follows four roommates in a zombie apocalypse: an oddball teacher, a floundering actress, a techie workout warrior and an immature wannabe rapper.
The characters are played by Cary Turro from Homeland, Josh Covitt from The Mindy Project, Khalif Boyd from Criminal Minds and Chris O’Brien from Rosewood. It was created by Will Gong, directed by Lauren Klixbull and of course produced by Reiter.
“You can sit down and binge the whole thing in the time it takes to watch a Game of Thrones episode or you can watch it in 10 minute bites,” he said.
The show was independently funded with a little help from an online fundraising campaign.
“We wanted to do it our way,” he said. “The stars aligned and we were able to do it independently. So many people donated their time, equipment and supported the project from the get-go.”
Now, the team is looking to secure a way to keep the series going with season 2.
“Filmmaking is a collaborative art,” he said. “You can’t do it without a village of people working on it.”
The first season is available for free for Amazon Prime members and can be purchased or rented for non-Prime members.