Creating a Demo Reel
1. An application that requires a demo reel submission has 4 parts:
- The Cover Letter
- The resume
- The demo reel
- The demo reel breakdown
The cover letter can (and should) be brief. The resume should tell us where you've worked, what you did when you worked, what kind of coursework you've had, and what tools, languages, and systems you can use. The demo reel breakdown is really essential (see #6, below).
2. Your reel should be no more than 2 minutes.
If you have a lot of great material...do a 2 minute version, and then refer to longer pieces afterwards if you get that far into the process. "For the entire short see..."
Don't do a "collage" of your work, with interleaved random clips from all your different work. Do give each piece the time it deserves, no more nor less, and just show it once. Keep it simple.
3. Don't show unapproved work.
Don't show work from other studios if it has not been approved or we will not look at the demo reel.
4. Use of music/soundtrack.
For animators, showcase the dialog without background music if possible. For other disciplines, make sure the music is not distracting for the viewer.
5. Put your best work first.
The first 30 seconds of your reel should show off your best work and be relevant to the role you applying for. Make it clear on your demo reel, cover letter, and resume what type of position you're applying for. Say what you're good at and make your reel demonstrate that.
6. Demo Reel Breakdown (DRB).
We want to know what you did on this reel. Here's a shot of a Luxo lamp jumping over a ball. Did you model the lamp? Do the animation? Shade it? Light it? Render it? Write the story? Executive-produce it? The DRB should tell us what we're looking at, what you did on it, and what tools you used.
"Sleeping ball: (June 2003) Group project; I shaded the plastic sphere in Slim/Renderman" is a good entry.
"Group project; project used Maya, Slim, Renderman, and Perl" is less useful.
Put this on the frame before the sequence and again in the DRB we can refer to.
7. Show work that proves that you know what you did.
If you've done a sequence, show it at several stages of production. If you've done shading, show the basic color pass, the procedural shading, the painting, and a lit version. If you wrote clever software, include real work that was done with the software, and include on the title card, like, "Implemented simulation of Segway dynamics" in addition to everything else you did. Don't show screen shots of people using the software or screen grabs of C++ code.
8. Take the time to polish.
Take the time to make your reel look the best that it can be. This is the main assessment of your work that the hiring managers have. Show it off!
9. Show it to other people.
Have others critique your reel specifically in respect to presentation. (Though getting critiques of the work on it is a great idea, too.)
10. Understand the submission process
Make sure you understand the submission process as defined in the job description. Please always include a link that points us directly to your demo reel where one is asked for!
We accept online demo reels only, send us a link to your reel, you can use Dropbox or a host like Vimeo to show your work.
Student reels should be no more than 2 minutes TOPS!
Do your research. Find reference material from film and photos.
Show you! We want to see your personality coming through in your work.
Focus. Make sure you focus your reel on the role you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for an Animation Apprentice, show animation not modeling and lighting.
Keep it Simple. Over-complicating shots/designs may lose the viewer's focus on your core skills.