147 demo reels thrown away!!


I agree with Bacon. Look when people are viewing your portfolio reel they judge it simply by the substance and content in it. If the work is good, you’ll be much more likely to land the job, if it’s not good then you’re canned. I fail to see how certain people don’t understand this.

However, how much of an impact do you think making the right contact makes when looking for that job? To me it pretty much landed me the job I have now. Granted I had other opportunities to take and others in which had potential, but it was the one contact who helped me secure and land the dream job I had worked my ass off.

But don’t get me wrong, all the contacts in the world won’t help you out if your portfolio is lacking, because having a strong portfolio should be most important, it’s also the ol game of “who you know” that also plays a big role as to what job opportunities you do get. Because those awesome kick ass jobs we all look to land and begin working for, they probably won’t be posted on sites like monster.com. It’s been from my experience a word-of-mouth thing.


Yep, what dividebyzero said sums it up perfectly. I usually like to say that its 10% teachers, and 90% pure gruelling hard work. The instructors are there to push you in the right direction but you’re the one who has to haul your own butt.

in my experience, many new students are just too “fresh” and havent been exposed to what the cg community is like. What I’d like to see more from instructors is to show their students how to be self-relient. theres hundreds of resources out there to help people with ambitions to be in this industry, but half of them either dont care, or dont even know these resources exist.

In my opinion, the technical aspects of cg arent taught quickly enough. If students cant pick up the techniques and tools quickly then they find it very difficult to improve. What good is the art, if you dont know the medium?

just my humble opinion…


just so I understand your saying that the art isnt as important as been a artist,

I was trying to explaine to a collage student who wanted to learn animation at university (this is WAY after I graduated with a animation degree). he kept saying he just wanted to use the computer, and didnt understand why having a solidn art background was so important.

I just said.

just cos you can use a pen doesnt mean you could write a best selling book, the ability to use the tool is there but without the art to back up the work it wont realy go anyware.


hmm, perhaps i should have elaborated a bit more clearly. I by no means believe that art is less important than the technical things. its much more important…
which is why I also said that the technical things should be taught more quickly, so that they become instinct, rather than a burden. when a person with a passion for art suddenly throws themselves into a digital medium, they struggle mostly with the tools, which makes the art much more difficult.

from my limited experience, I saw students with excellent artistic skills and awesome ideas, but they couldnt interpret what they envisioned into 3d because they didnt understand the software.


Really? Cause I seem to see alot of “better to be a master at one than good at many comments.” But thanx for the info. Many should consider smaller studios when looking for jobs.


Demo Reel, Smeemo Reel. Like a lot of you, I’ve made a dozen of these. And for a few amazing folks, it gets them in the industry (I’m not refering to myself:) Although, you have no idea how many people are working in major studios without ever, and yes I just said “without ever”, making a single demo reel. It’s all about who you know. If you don’t know anyone, then your demo has to be amazing. Nobody takes a chance on a nobody; that is the attitude of hollywood (I personally disagree with this, but that is how it is). Your demo is your chance to be somebody in the industry.

Once you get into a studio though, you’ll puke when you learn how most people got their
first break.

Just my 2 cents…


Trust me, as someone dying to get in, I take it… Tell us some of the stories please.





When my studio does reel screenings, we barely care who knows who. If it’s a factor, it’s pretty much peripheral. ie, “Is he easy to work with?” etc… It’s all about the reel. And the simple fact is a good 75% of them aren’t up to snuff, most of which are from ‘major’ schools. (the other 15% go in the ‘last resort’ pile, and 10% are good/usable) This is for TV production, mind you, not even film or commercials.

Funny enough, as CG animation has evolved, the work coming out of schools hasn’t. Not from an animation standpoint anyway. Reels animated 10 years ago made the exact same mistakes as the ones we see every week nowadays. Only the lighting and glittery post fx have improved.

Heck, I sure made those mistakes up the wazoo in school. Took several more reels for me to get my foot in the door. It’s not quite as nastily incestuous and ‘connections-centric’ as you make it sound.


Please enlighten us, make a thread about what NOT to do in your reel, and things you should do, I’m sure many “fresh” artists would really find this helpfull.

Just joining the conversation…


That would be quite a thread, but I can only testify to the animation reels we review. I’m sure these’ve been said elsewhere in this thread, but they’re worth repeating. This applies primarily to student reels, and the work coming out of major schools:

-If you want to animate, animate, and make sure that’s where you put your time. Too often we see reels with super-elaborate models/rigs of grandiose monsters, ninjas, warriors, etc. The student has put all that time into modeling (or lighting or rigging) for their final project, and the animation suffers. We don’t care about models, textures, or lighting, and honestly, pretty much every studio I know of or have worked with has very little need of generalists. That’s not to say there’s no market for them, but I don’t know where it is.

-This is important: If you’re an animation student, resist the urge to make an epic or tell a long story. It’s something we see constantly, and even something I succumbed to in film school. It’s not stupidity, it’s usually just youthful enthusiasm, and I guess the schools don’t want to ‘squelch your creativity’ by forcing you to not ruin your chances at employment. You’re making your first film. It’s thrilling! You’re full of energy and think you can accomplish absolutely any size project and make it look great! Yes, one student in a thousand can. Most however, even the extremely talented, cannot.

It may sound draconian, but if these schools were serious about turning students into disciplined, skilled, hireable animation talent rather than just a $20-40k tuition fee, they’d set strict time limits on how long final animation projects can be. Personally, I’d set it to something like 60 seconds, maybe 90 tops. Any longer than that, and the work suffers hard. Plus it’s even better for them from a storytelling/boarding/staging perspective, because it would force them to learn to be clear and economical filmmakers as well as more effective and less-rushed animators. If I was put in charge of a school, this would be one of the first things I’d do.

-And like has been said, the emphasis on software learning over animation basics. A professional animator will use maybe 2% of Maya’s features, yet months is spent teaching everyone modeling, comping, etc… I understand everyone needs a basic knowledge of these things, but there’s gotta be a way to do it better. We see lots of reels with basic, basic animation problems. Jittery limbs, keyframes crammed together, weightlessness, and it seems like none of these teachers have told their students about the concept of the ‘moving hold’. :shrug: Floaty floaty floaty, drift drift drift. Heck, it wasn’t until my firstjob that I was shown how to do one.

Off the top of my head, those are the most pressing.


Thanks you very much, most helpfull post that.

As a student just taking his first steps into 3d I don’t have to worry about my reel for some time to come, but I can relate to some of the errors you described. I believe that schools focusing on software instead of techniques is a perfect example of how young this industry still is, and even with all these great artists making great works it remains problematic for teachers to transfer knowledge in the right way. As the industry grows, so will the schools that prepare people for that industry, and thus gaining a better understanding of how to get people ready for business.



all you guys HAVE to visit my school… enough said.
But I guess it’s like that in every other schools.
We need 3D ARTISTS to teach… not 3D TECHS.


Spot on, but thats the major problem right now, most people who teach aren’t good enough to actually be in the industry (not all mind you) and the people who are up to standards barely teach because they have work to do.

It’s an everlasting loop, and untill some of the real artists are going to spend time passing on knowledge it’s gonna stay this way.


i agree 100% with what has been stated about throwing out the demo reels. Nowadays the industry is full of people that find “makin gamez n moviez is teh cool” so they think is as easy as enjoying them , so they go to crappy schools that teach you the manual of a software in 10x slower time :slight_smile:

And if you have a really strong work and a studio sort of recognized your work , yeah theres some people that dont make demo reels, but thats not because of connection, but because a company\studio actually recognized that person has talent .


There is a huge difference between ‘knowing’ somebody you met at SIGGRAPH at a party Vs
getting recomended by a former colleague whose worked with you in the past, knows your work and gushes for you up and down…
If you simply made a contact a SIGGRAPH you’d better have an awsome reel to back it up!
In fact said contact may be the one to screen your work first. If its crap are they really gonna stake their own reputation by recomending you?
Buy your lottery ticket now-your chances are better.


Let the buyer beware.
As has been stated often elsewhere on these boards there is an huge difference between a dedicated 3d course and a branch subject that trickels off a multi media education. There is also a big difference in quality between dedicated courses. If you truely are interested in a career in 3d then I suggest you do your research concerning where you will spend your money. There are thousands of websites thoughout the world where you can get information from students and professionals about current education in your imediate area. If you are unable to travel check out Animentor which has a very good reputation. If you are really ambitious then save up $50,000 bucks and head of to VFS in Canada. Don’t go to a mainstream college and expect professional instruction.

The board of directors sees 3d as a shinny toy that looks hip on a curriculum and nothing more. Until this new technology is taken seriously the above mentioned situation won’t change. A professional teacher can never hope to deliver the quality of instruction that a professional artist can. An artist will never get payed anywhere near what a teacher gets simply because that is the way the educational system is orientated. The more letters you have behind your name the higher your salary,… that doesn’t mean you can model, rig or animate for shit though, let alone teach it. On the other hand it also doesn’t mean a brilliant artist can teach. The practical art of 3d for real world production is not an academic exersize. It is the execution of hardcore principals that have to do with process power, time and budget and the creativity to use those rescources to realise an appropriate and communicative end product.

If you say your 3d course is crap you are a donkey. Find a place where you will recieve the right education and be prepared to invest in your future. Sitting back and complaining won’t improve your chances of success. If you want something go out and get it.



I wouldn’t blame the courses as much as the individuals in this context:

The idea behind studying on any course is not to be spoon fed information, learn it parrot fashion, and then produce a bog-standard, follow-all-the-rules piece of work. No, Courses are based around a simple principle. You have your eyes opened to EVERY aspect around a subject, you are given explanations and notes to each field, from which you can decide where your interest lay, and produce work based on these discoveries.

I am currently studying computer animation in England. The principles above apply to all students. Many people complain that they are taught too much technical, not enough art. This i think is wrong. You are shown absolutely every aspect of every sub-topic of animation, this includes key skills for drawing and art work. The problem with art is, it’s not one of those subjects that can be taught or learnt parrot fashion. It’s entirely down to the individual to improve drawing skills and develop a personal style… The door is opened, all you have to do is practise.

Say what you will, but i find knowing the whole background, including how computer animation began, technically and artistically improves my understanding of this very braud ‘subject.’

If the industry wants to complain about the lack of artists, maybe they should consider giving individuals more responsability, instead of pipelining everyone, i’m sure this would encourage students to produce work based on a broader skillset. Although of course, this is based on a companies workload.


I have been reading this thread and I can’t believe what some of you people are saying,why knock someone for trying to persue thier dreams? I don’t see why someone without a traditional art background can’t animate,model or do whatever they wan’t do do in 3d, I feel that everyone has an artistic side to them and everyone has to start someplace. I have no drawing skills and I am trying to learn animation which I just got into about a year and a half ago, I’ll be damned if anyone tells me i can’t animate because I don’t have a drawing background. Some of you people are so bitter,where is the incouragement?


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