A demo reel showcases an artist’s best work. Presentation and content are key, so it is important to showcase your best work within the first minute, if not seconds, of the reel. When applying to internships or full-time positions, it is important for an employer to see your work. Your resume works along with your demo reel to show the experience behind the talent. A demo reel should be less than two minutes in length. The shorter the better, so showcase your “best work” not all your work.
What to include
- Best work that is customized. Example: don’t send in video editing if applying for animation work.
- Send a Table of contents, Sheet Breakdown, Credit List (with the Demo Reel), include a project title, description (2-3 sentences), a brief statement about your contribution especially if the content was a team project (short paragraph), software used to accomplish the scene, special techniques used.
- Your name and contact information (both on the outside and within the demo, just in case your resume is separated from your demo reel).
- Intro Slate for piece/artwork.
What to avoid
- No game idea submissions.
- No pictures of yourself or personal information (age, race, marital status, etc.)
- Unprofessional email addresses
- Sending originals
- Obnoxious, violent, or erotic music
- No work in progress (unless it is visually projecting your part in a finished piece)
- Best work at the end, this should be at the very beginning
- Don’t show entire projects. Just show clips
- Never pass off another person’s work as your own
- Web address, unless requested by the employer
- Employers view 30-40 reels per day so STAND OUT
- First impressions mean everything so the first 10 seconds are very important. Employers will decide to continue watching or to turn your demo reel off by this time. Best work must absolutely go first and creativity is important.
- Save the 2D art and stills for the end of your reel, but show your strongest work here as well.
- Use a typical format: the web, CD-ROM, or DVD’s
- Show variety. Show a variety of unique models, textures, lightings.
- Be a perfectionist and do not show limitation. Proofread all material.
- Choose clarity over flash and glitter. Quality is very important.
- Develop an opening and ending with effective transitions from one shot or sequence to another.
- Update the content every 6 months and eliminate old content.
- Show wire frames of models.
- Lighting is many times overlooked, work on perfecting it.
- Customize and create your own software.
Put photography, stills, and fine art/concept work, and paintings at the end.