What are the NEW rules for GOOD Demo Reel Etiquette?


#1

Maybe it is time we reconsider some of the advice we have been giving to people preparing their first reel. Rules and perceptions change and I have been wondering lately if the rules for a good reel have evolved.

Usually when someone asks me what should be the content of a good reel I usually say:

[B]
Keep it short, (2- 3 min tops)

No flying logos,
No giant robots,
No porn
No more Matrix spoofs
No top 10 music (You know who you are)
No DVD reels
No copyrighted characters (unless you worked professionally on them)
No stolen material

Add a separate shot list describing your work on specific scenes)
Add a Resume
Add a clear title sheet with your name, adress and type of reel (Modeling, Animation, Lighting)

[/B]

There is more, but my brain cells are not cooperating today.
So are there any new rules? Any patterns of killer reel you have seen lately?

Looking forward to your comments.

-Roberto


#2

YAY another demo reel thread…Right in time for me.

I really want mine to please my potential employers so I’ve been working very hard lately.

I’d like advice for a modeling/character setup artist reel.

Thanks


#3

I wouldn’t necessarily say no DVDs. It seems more and more companies allow DVD reels. I’d simply expound on that rule and say,
No DVD reels with fancy menus - Just plain old “click here to watch reel” stuff.

I personally, now that I have a DVD burner, will be sending out a DVD copy of my reel with every VHS copy because VHS is such poor quality, plus you can put a copy of your resume, shot list, previous films for optional viewing, and whatever else, on the DVD… as long as the reel itself is clearly marked and easy to access.

Also, in addition to reel, shot list and resume, definitely a:
Cover Sheet
Talking about who you are, your skills, and what you can offer the company, or something similar.
Put your name, address, phone number, and email at the bottom of every single printed page you send - in small enough font so it’s not intrustive but big enough so it’s there and they can pull your info from any piece of paper they have from you.


#4

I think all the above rules are still valid. Don’t forget:

-Test your reel in a VCR before you send it, each copy
-Best work 1st
-Keep it short (MAX 3 mins)
-Better to have them wanting more
-No long credits
-No thank-you’s to teachers
-Check your audio levels
-Make sure it still is cool with no sound and on fast forward
-Cue the tape to just before the reel starts, don’t make them watch 25 seconds of black

-Mike


#5

Good thread Roberto.

2-3 minutes TOPS. I personally aim for 1-2 minutes of my prime best stuff.
No loud techno music, and NO “ATB” type trance music Imo, trance music tends to make me uncomfrtable
Don’t hold poses in animation for sickeningly long periods of time. Holds are good, but the as soon as you hold it for too long, the moment seems forced.
Long intros and Flying logos. We want to see your stuff. Lets get too it already.
Only show stuff that you think could get you a job on that single piece aloneIn short, only show work that demonstrates your current skill level, not stuff from your past or that you ‘never felt was finished’
Watermark your work with company logos Not only does it allow you to subtly name drop on a demo reel, it also shows you take your NDA and previos employers seriously.
Where possible, outline what you specifically worked on It’s just professional.
Put your contact info at the start and end of your tape.…and on the label …and on the case …and on the resume.
Check out the companies submission guidelines. Sometimes they dont accept DVDs, other times they want web submissions only. Dont forget if you are going the DVD route to test your DVD on as many possible players as possible, including PS2, PC and Home player.

Another useful tip: Do a search on highend3d, CgTalk, and any other 3d sites you know of to see if someone happens to work at the studio you are applying to. Maybe drop them a quick note. Everyone knows that HR is the portcullis to the studio, so why not inquire with someone on the inside?

Mike Rhone


#6

I think the rule of having no lens flares still applies, no? :cool:


#7

I think “no spaceships” also still applies, I’ve seen that one a lot. Flying logos with spaceships in the background, reflecting lensflares into the camera. God, the nightmares don’t stop.


#8

I have lenseflares AND spaceships on my reel. :slight_smile:


#9

Originally posted by RobertoOrtiz

[B]
Keep it short, (2- 3 min tops)

No flying logos,
No giant robots,
No porn
No more Matrix spoofs
No top 10 music (You know who you are)
No DVD reels
No copyrighted characters (unless you worked professionally on them)
No stolen material

Add a separate shot list describing your work on specific scenes)
Add a Resume
Add a clear title sheet with your name, adress and type of reel (Modeling, Animation, Lighting)

[/B]

I’d disagree with a few of those Roberto. it seems a little specific, and the rules of course change based on who you are and what you re applying for.

DO’s

DO send a DVD or CD-ROM if the studio says it’s ok. ALWAYS find out what they prefer. I know more than one studio that prefers DVDs.

DO include a CV/resume, content/shot list detailing what you did and a cover letter addressed to a specific person or department.

DO make your name and contact info (phone number and email) big and clear. You want to make it as easy as possible for them. if they are viewing your reel, your website is not needed, and if they have to go to your website to get your contact, chances are they won’t unless you’ve been referred.

DO edit the clips to the music, whether it’s the action in the clip or the cuts/edits. Music is not necessary, but if you’re gonna add it, at least make it have some purpose. No, you aren’t being judged on your ability to edit, but your presentation skills apply to any skill, including CG.

DO use flying logos, large robots, spaceships, chess boards and so on if they look awesome, or if it directly relates to the position you’re applying to (logos for broadcast design). If you did a logo like AT&T’s Boundless campaign, robots like the APU’s in the matrix, chess boards like photo/hyper-real battlechess, you’ll get hired.

DO make it easy for them…contact info shouldn’t have to be searched for, CD-ROM reels should be encoded in a format that is universal (nothing is more universal than MPEG), digital resume shouldn’t be in some obscure word processor format (Quark Express or something). Use PDF, TXT/RTF, HTML, even Word is good.

DON’Ts

DON’T use porn, vulgar language, or otherwise questionable content, regardless of how funny or well done it is…even working on this sorta stuff is almost a waste of time as there is a very limited amount of studios you could probably show it to and get away with it.

DON’T do wireframe/comp builds unless it makes sense for the position you’re applying to (modeling or compositing), or if the the effect is invisible (wire removal, set extensions, etc.). If you have a cel-shaded cartoon dragon animation, showing a wireframe/comp build is kinda silly…they can see it’s CG, they know how you created it, they know it’s just reel filler.

DON’T put clips of something you don’t do very well. If you are applying for animation, but new/not skilled at lighting, shading, comping…don’t put subpar lighting, shading, comping on your reel. The are reviewing your animation, don’t distract them with bad content. Nothing wrong with OpenGL.

DON’T just blindly ship packages to every large studio you know did all the blockbuster movies. Network, meet people, and research studios in your area.


#10

Looking forward to seeing how this pans out actually.

I’ve searched all the old demo reel threads on here but most of them seemed to be more focused on “bad cg cliches I would rather die than have to see again” than “what you should actually include…”

-Steve

Edit: Reading that back, I think I may have answered my own question…


#11
  • Make sure you use the right format. (Don’t send an NTSC reel to a country that uses PAL)
  • Always, clearly list the position that you are applying for.
  • Pull the record tab out.
  • don’t use images from bryce to get a job as a terrain modeler. :slight_smile:
  • don’t use images from poser to get a job as a character modeler. :slight_smile:
  • no color bars
  • stay away from cheesy transitions
  • don’t put animations that came straight from a tutorial on your reel.
  • read this.

#12

What’s good from all I’ve read so far on cgtalk,is that I think I was already on the right track.

Nevertheless,I would like to have an input from you guys who see alot of reels on what would please you to see in a modeling/character setup artist reel.

To me,and please prove me wrong,it seems a bit tedious to demonstrate that my character is realist,has a good UVMap,Deforms realistically and show it’s wires without taking too much of the viewer’s time.

I already have an idea but yours are those that really matters.

thanks in advance


#13

Originally posted by kemijo

DO use flying logos, large robots, spaceships, chess boards and so on if they look awesome

he’s trying to get us all fired!! haha just kidding kemjo…

Originally posted by kemijo

DON’T just blindly ship packages to every large studio you know did all the blockbuster movies. Network, meet people, and research studios in your area.

This is a really great peice of advice that I know a LOT of beginners/students don’t do. In my last class, my teacher asked “so besides PIXAR and ILM (with incredible sarcasm) where are all your demo reels going to when you graduate?” and the whole class was just dead silent…

I’ve been going to every website in Ed Harriss’s book researching companies… its gonna take a loooong time but I’ll have a good idea of where I would like to work… other than PIXAR and ILM of course haha.

Anyways, thanks for the reminder to all of us students.

-Tom N.


#14

Lighting Reel Protocol is a page I did for students to grasp what they need to show if they’re interested in the lighting/rendering/TD side of things. I think if you’re going for an animation or modellers position the “rules” are a bit better defined in terms of what to put on the reel, but I felt lighters could do with a few pointers, hence the page.


#15

he’s trying to get us all fired!! haha just kidding kemjo…

Damn, the jig is up!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Honestly, much emphasis is put on what content you shouldn’t put on a reel, and it’s just not accurate. These taboos are either things thast interest many people, or are easy to do. If it’s done well - really well - you’ll get a job. Really well means comparable to what you may have seen that got you interested in the first place. Spaceships and Mechs/Robots are featured prominantly in Star Wars and Matrix 3. The quality is what matters. You could break every single Demo Reel rule in one animation and if it’s exceptional, you’ll get hired.

To me,and please prove me wrong,it seems a bit tedious to demonstrate that my character is realist,has a good UVMap,Deforms realistically and show it’s wires without taking too much of the viewer’s time.

If you are going for a character modeling and rigging position, UV maps aren’t absolutely necessary…textures that don’t stretch would probably do. Show OpenGL views of rigs to show how you solved certain issues (I’ve done this on my reel). Showing realistic deformation is as simple as showing clips similar to those seen on HollowMan or Hulk DVD special features. However, I’d put a clip or 2 of some great animation before all this, showing off your rig…get a great animator to animate it for you if animation is not your strong suit (even if you’re ‘not bad’, get someone better, unless you want to also be considered for animation).

Keep in mind that you can show nice wires, shaded models, good animation, and the rig inside, all at the same time. Comp it! Render out multiple OGL passes and composite them together, to make each element clear and easily visible. Not necessary but it helps get multiple ideas across without playing it over and over again.


#16

i have seen reels where people have lied about what they did. there was this i guy when i was in school years ago had stolen someones demo reel and changed the name on it. then to make matters worse, he sent the reel to the company that the guy working at. what a retard!

and don’t make a demo reel of a bunch of movie effects and say, “Oh, i didn’t do any of these, but this is what i want to do.”
we had someone do that. what an A$$!


#17

Don’t do motion graphics with your name and contact info. Just a slate with you name and all your contact info is fine. Make sure it’s clean and readable by humans. Put it before and after your reel, and if you’re going to send this stuff out on a tape that’s significantly longer than your actual demo, record it several times consecutively. Make sure the tape is cued up before you send it out.


#18

I’m going to ask for a “Post Your Succesful Demo Reel” for professionals currently working in 3D industry. Please post your Demo Reel that got you the job you have right now, I think for us students, it would be a great help to actualy see a Winner Demo Reel and be able to see all these Do’s and Do Not’s in a real example.

People like Bentlama, TheSaint, Gmask and all other recognized pros (I’m new here so I don’t know everyone), be so kind to take a few minutes and post a Quicktime version of your real.

Thank you!

Michael


#19

Of course, almost all of the above will not due if you ARE doing a motion graphics/broadcast reel.

In that case, DO put in flying logos (albethem pretty) DO edit to music with a certain cadence.


#20

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