Saturday 19 October 2013

What do studios look for in a great demo reel?

Getting hired is diffuclt in the current climate, and finding that first job can be the hardest leap of all. The most vital thing that every Bucks graduate will leave with is a demo reel or portfolio that showcases their talent and will - hopefully - get them a job. One question that tutors get asked a lot is - what should go into a demo reel? It's a good question.

Below are some excellent notes on demo reels from Jinny Hinkle, a "wannabe animator" who attended Disney's "Inspire Day" in Los Angeles. The rules for demo reels were handed down by Disney but they apply to finding work at any studio.
So, here is Here's Jinny's checklist for what should go into a demo reel or online portfolio:
  1. Start strong. Create a good first impression
  2. If in doubt...leave it out 
  3. Show versatility - different styles
  4. Customize for the job. Don't have a "one size fits all" demo reel. 
  5. Submit digitally. No DVDs or paper portfolios. 
  6. Polish - you’re representing yourself to the studio. Presentation is important 
  7. Show your work to others for opinions 
  8. You are not the best judge of your work (and neither is your Mum)
  9. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity 
  10. Show your title card at the front and end 
  11. Students should have a 1-2 minute reel 
  12. Include a reel breakdown list on the reel (at the end) 
  13. No sound on reels, except dialogue/music in the animation 
We could not agree more - this is an excellent checklist. 
You can read Jinny's whole post here:

And for more on demo reels, take a look at this video by Sony Pictures Animation. You can also watch my ten minute video on creating a great reel, and read this post on the perfect demo reel.

Remember above all that a great demo should be completely free of mistakes.


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