Tips and Tricks - Demo Reels
Updated: May 26
With graduation coming up, I have been busy doing portoflio reviews and 15 minute calls with lots of people.
With that, I have decided to start a new series talking about tips and tricks for those trying to break into the industy.
My advice is specifically about animation, and is my opinion, so please take everything with a grain of salt.
Question: Do I need a reel? How about my own website?
No and No. The days of laboring over a long reel and spending hours organizing and coding a website are over.
If you choose to not create a demo reel, you can instead submit a portfolio. Please make sure your provided portfolio still includes video files. One big red flag when looking at submissions is when someone only provides still images. With stills, an interviewer doesnt know what has been altered, how something looks as it moves or as light falls across it, there's just simply not enough information. Please still have video files (OR a marmoset viewer).
If you dont want to invest the time in creating a free website through something like wix or squarespace, Artstation works just fine! Just make sure you are curating your artstation like you would your portfolio. Break out different types of work into sections, and only show your best work. Instagram can be ok, but the same rules apply. Keep it professional.
Question: How many pieces should I show? How long should it be?
Show only your best work. I have interviewed entry level artists off of 3 stellar pieces of solid work. I dont need to see every school project, infact, please dont include those. You want to put work on your applications that fit the vibe of the studio you are applying to and shows the recruiter that you can do the job. The demo reel is your sell.
Length - for someone new, I would not go over 45 seconds personally. As someone who looks at alot of reels for hiring, I will turn off a reel after 30 seconds unless I am really impressed. Sometimes animator reels are ok to go longer if its due to context and acting, but if you are over 45 seconds, you can probably find a not as strong project to remove from the video. If you can't, show others and see if they can identify your weakest piece.
Question: What if I dont like anything from school, or dont feel like I have good enough work?
The hard answer is, if you arent impressed with your work, no one else will be. As tough as it is, taking that extra 2 or 3 months after graduating to create a portfolio that will set you on the career path you want will save you alot of time and pain in the long run.
Everyone has to create their own work. School work is meant to teach you the principles of the art, not for you to really polish and show your own artistic flair. Take the time, it's worth it. Create the career you want for yourself. Show you, and show me, that you can do it.
Have other questions that you'd like me to answer? Leave a comment and let me know!