Animation Show Reel Talk


show reel images

My new show reel is out!  Hurrah! This reel was a lot of fun to compile.  I was involved in a few projects that turned out looking great and was a lot of fun to work on. I especially love all the projects I worked on with 21-19, the commercials and animated videos. There were challenging but the end results were awesome. I had a few projects I worked on at Studio Moshi that I truly enjoyed as well, though it made me want to tear my hair out half the time. 

I last updated my show reel in 2015. I have been updating every 5 years or so since becoming established in the industry.  

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I've been busy working and normally only update my reel once I have a break or in need of work.  I am currently on break and decided that my current reel just did not represent me properly anymore, so I edited a new one.
  2. Even if I have worked on new jobs, am not allowed to out those in my reel until it's out in public, so released on TV, the internet or permission from the client is obtained..  
  3. I tend to leave a gap between reel updates because I am waiting for projects to be released so that I could put them in my reel and hopefully I would have worked on multiple projects while waiting, so that the next update has a lot of variety.

When I first started out, I did update yearly. Mainly because I was always looking for work and I wanted to stay visible to prospective employers. My work also kept changing from having nothing but student projects on my reel to including work projects and then my own personal projects.

I think while you are first starting out and until you have more animation jobs under your belt, creating your own animations on the side will help.

Before I finished my Masters, I did one more short film and this is what scored me my first TV series job at Viskatoons.  I wasn't required to do this film but I felt that I needed more practice with Flash (Adobe Animate), which was the main 2D program being used in Melbourne to create TV series in the early 2000s.

My team were all beginners on this project and we were all learning our own separate craft (3D, sound, After FX, etx).  If we were to do this film again, we would make so many changes.  

Some of the most common mistakes in a beginner reel are:

  • Too Long.

I was guilty of this. No reel should be over a minute and 30 seconds long unless you have that much awesome stuff.  Even then, edit it.

  • Repetitive use of the same project footage.

Too much of the same footage from the same project that isn't showing anything new. If you're going to show something from the same project, make sure to show different aspects of animation: like a walk cycle for one shot, some squash and stretch in another, acting, etc. If we're just cutting to the same projects and it only shows dialogue acting every time then it becomes repetitive and boring.

  • Show your best work, not every work.

I get that this is difficult until you have a huge body of work to choose from. I would suggest just practicing on the side and doing some short animation snippets showing the basics.  Doesn't even have to be fully finished or rendered.  Animation Directors are looking for potentials when it comes to student work.

  • READ YOUR CONTRACT: not all work is allowed on your reel
So you've done the job, it's now on TV so you can totally put it on your reel.  NOPE!  Check your contract and with the Producer of the project first, especially if it just started airing.  For starters, you might not be able to show particular footage until that specific episode that has says footage has aired. I would advice to wait until the whole season airs to be on the safe side.  Also, if you were contracted to do service work, you may not be allowed to show the footage at all.  If your name is not on the credits, check with your producer. Pilots are another thing.  A pilot may never air at all, again, something to discuss with the Project Producer.
  • Show the basics.

Squash and stretch, walk cycles, maybe dialogue, acting, subtle and fast movements, etc. As much range as you can show.

  • Don't use copyright Music.

It didn't use to be a thing when I first started but it is now. My current soundtrack is from and you can use music for fee provided that you credit them.  Make sure to read the terms and conditions.

If you have any other suggestions or questions, feel free to message me or leave a comment.


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