Demo Reels

Our Group has decided that we’re going to be looking at Demo Reels (or show reels). Demo reels can be an important part of the interview process and ultimately is one of the first impressions employers have of you. Your Demo reel is one of the deciding factors on whether or not you get asked to come in for an interview and considering that most employers probably don’t watch past 10 seconds, those few seconds can mean a lot.

What you need to Know about making a Demo Reel

  • Length: Keep it to about 2 minutes maximum.

Studios get sent in a lot of Demo Reels, which is why like I said before they may not even fully watch them fully, so there’s no point making it 10 minutes long.

Being students we’re not going to have more than 2 minutes of amazing work, which is the only work you want to show, anything less will either harm your chances or bore them.

  • Content: Put your best work first

Now all the work you include should be your best work, but put your best best work first. You need this to grab the employers attention.

Generally whatever work you include shouldn’t include any mistakes, there’s only two ways this will be seen, you either saw the mistake and chose to leave it in (lazy) or you didn’t recognize the mistake (bad animator).

I found this diagram of what your demo reel should include which I thought was a good general explanation.

http://www.canadiananimationresources.ca/2010/08/advice-from-ron-doucet-building-a-better-demo-reel/

This diagram also point another issue which is keeping your introduction short. Brief details about yourself and keep it simple, you can always include more information for longer at the end of your reel and they’ll probably have your information on your CV as well.

“If your work is that good, you don’t need an animated 3D text effect to introduce it—quality CG sells itself.”

https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-make-a-successful-demo-reel-for-3d-artists-2054
  • Music/sound: Music is not a must.

In researching there’s some mixed opinions on whether or not you should include music at all. Pixar studios who provide requirements for demo reels ask for none at all. I’d advise making the music unintrusive to your work and making sure it fits with the scenes you’re showing.

You must also remember you can only have free to use music, which there are a variety of websites.

  • Presentation: Editing is Important

Taking all that time to animate or create amazing work isn’t going to mean anything if you present it badly.

This means giving each shot enough time on screen, let it play through and don’t place in jarring cuts. Another piece of advice from Vince De Quattro is not to go back on yourself, show all the work you want to from one collaborative project and then move on, don’t place more shots from it in your reel later. Though I have seen this done in a few Studio show reels so I’m not sure if it’s different for show reels or if it’s maybe his own preference.

Don’t collage animation shots together, but  it’s okay to include breakdowns of models in the same shot.

22790980_10214311320599558_1533559192_o.png
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3qbVFLkWyE

When you’re editing don’t edit to your music

Think about the layout and composition of your shots and the flow of action within, as well think about the camera movement and try to edit it together so it adds a nice smooth flow to your reel.

  • Availability: Consider where to upload your reel

The difference between Vimeo and Youtube is that vimeo is usually seen as a more professional platform, places to also include your reel would be on a blog or a website.

If you’re submitting you’re Demo reel, you need to include a breakdown sheet that has  what you did in collaborative projects, and have several different methods for accessing your Demo reel as links can fail at the worst of times.

References

https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-make-a-successful-demo-reel-for-3d-artists-2054
http://www.creativebloq.com/3d/how-create-successful-demo-reel-71412488
https://www.pluralsight.com/blog/film-games/tips-making-animation-demo-reel-stand
http://blog.animationmentor.com/6-tips-from-recruiters-who-look-at-your-animation-demo-reel/
http://www.canadiananimationresources.ca/2010/08/advice-from-ron-doucet-building-a-better-demo-reel/
https://www.bloopanimation.com/animation-demo-reel/
https://www.siggraph.org//discover/news/demo-reel-advice-cg-vfx-and-animation-students

 

 

Advertisements

Content of Demo Reels

This is to expand more on what you should include in demo reels.

Specialize your Demo Reel, depending on course if you want to apply for a Rigging job or vfx job it would be best to create separate Demo reels to show off your skills in these areas. This is so the employers can immediately see our value and know where you can contribute in there team.

When specializing be aware of who you are applying too, don’t send of a really serious dark animation to apply for Disney or Dream works. Also it’s good to keep in mind what style the company uses, whether it’s realistic or cartoony ad select your own work to be something similar. You don’t need to mimic their style exactly, it’s more about recognizing the demographic they’re appealing to and creating something that would appeal to the same demographic.

On another note, avoid most dark/dreary themes in your animation, they’re not very entertaining to watch, they slow, people watching your demo reel shouldn’t be feeling depressed afterwards.

Having a general animation Demo reel is alright as a student and that we’re just beginning to gain industry experience, what employers may be looking for is your versatility and how quickly you can learn new skills or more so that you can think creatively and have interesting ideas.

Something that continuously was brought up whilst we were researching was Personal projects, whether or not you’re working as a Student or Professionally it’s always a good idea to be working on Personal Projects. As Students we’re all working on the same exercises and group projects so if we were all to apply to the same job all our work would look pretty similar, so having a side project would bring something different to your demo reel as well as giving you more opportunity to show off your own styling and personality.  If you’re working professionally then you may not be working on projects that excite you or that you feel truly shows off your skills, so whilst it is good to show commercial work as proof of your ability to work in a pipeline and to deadlines, have creative projects on the side again show more of yourself and artistic abilities.

https://vimeo.com/marieraoult

This Artist, Marie Raoult has some good examples of different demo reels for different specialties, given that they’re based around the same project you can also see how she changes what she shows in each reel.

references

http://www.creativebloq.com/advice/15-pro-tips-for-crafting-the-perfect-showreel

Demo reels, the Good and Bad

I’ve been looking at a lot of Demoreels/Showreels, trying to distinguish what makes a Demo reel work. There are a lot of good examples that are easy to find, though I feel a lot of the time it comes down to experience, more time working in the industry gives you more opportunity to create high quality polished work compared to someone just starting outand has yet to find their niche.

It’s been slightly difficult to see past the big quality gap and work and look at the nuts and bolts of putting a Demoreel together, but here’s some examples that exhibit strengths and downfalls.

Joe Han, Animation Demo Reel 2016

https://vimeo.com/joehanimation

Now obviously this artist has a lot of finished work, but there’s some good editing in this. The music adds to the tempo of the animations mostly being action fast paced movement, it gives it a burst of life, in the beginning it’s in time with the music which I’ve read is actually something you should avoid. They show a good variety of work between stylized and realistic, sticking to roughly the 2 minutes guide. They showcase more of the individual game characters as this seems to be the industry they work in more. They’ve also included a Demo reel Breakdown in the description of their video clarifying what they worked on.

Possible criticisms I would have is that there isn’t enough breakdowns of their work, what they’ve done isn’t always at the forefront. Also their isn’t a lot of contact information, it would be nice given the quality of the work to be able to see a website or portfolio as well.

Kim Hudson, My Animation/Art Showreel 2007

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUiWenUxCIAm7Y4NNAtDA5Q

Again I’m aware this demo isn’t produced by a professional and I believe it’s their first demo which is also quite dated but it’s good to point out some pitfalls.

Now first thing is that their opening is far too long, there’s some minimal animation but it’s far too static, it lasts for 16 seconds and considering I’ve read that some employers may only look at 10 seconds of a demo reel there is nothing there to grab their attention. This continues through the animation, shots and transitions drag too long and the music choice makes it all feel slow, nothing is exciting. They don’t include any information about what work is theirs (only mentioning what isn’t), even if it’s all their own work I feel it’d help to define their skill set to the employer.

 

 

Professional practice

Our first task in our professional practice module is to create a power point presentation on “A strategy for finding a Job”. This seemed slightly vague to begin with as each team had to come up with a different strategy and most strategies would probably be pretty similar. Though the class seems t have broken it down more so into the different aspects you will need or encounter in trying to find a job, for example, interviews, internships, portfolios and CVS’s.

I am in a project with Alistair, Glenn and Emma and we brainstormed a few possible ideas after class,

We could email companies/studios, to research what they require from someone applying for a job, what portfolio requirements they have. Also see if they have any networking tips.

We could attempt to make something that would appeal to a company, like an idea pitch or sample that we could present then to a company.

Researching Job interviews and the breakdown of how to act and how not to act.

Research into Freelancing and how to set up being a freelance artist and what can help you. There’s even looking at Grant programs for starting your own projects after Uni.

Self-branding, how to make yourself stand out from the crowd and get noticed, what you have to work on to create your own brand, possibly even creating our own business cards to then hand out.

Glenn’s Blog https://glennloneill.wordpress.com/

Alistair Blog https://alilyonsblog.wordpress.com/

Emma’s Blog https://artistemma.wordpress.com/