After our first class, Greg asked us to look at showreels and evaluate them; see for ourselves what it is that makes a good showreel, or one which is difficult to watch. Showreels are the main tool we can use to market ourselves and so it’s important that they are done well and updated frequently.
Creative Bloq have a post of their top 10 techniques to build a good showreel and their points are as follows:
- Cut ruthlessly – don’t get attached to work that doesn’t showcase your best work; reels are about showing your strengths
- Keep it short – have it about 1 and half to 2 minutes long and keep in mind they still may not watch it all
- Start and end well – begin with your best, then end with second best to make sure you don’t lose them
- Think of it as an ad – you are selling yourself
- Match the reel to the vacancy/ studio – all studios look for different skills and work that fits with what their studio does, so make sure it’s relevant; no point showing a studio that does architectural modelling a model of an orc
- Make your role clear – make it clear what you contributed to each shot, either on screen or in a document attached
- Show your workings – show breakdowns
- Keep things simple – it’s better to do something that’s simple and done well, than going for more complex projects and looking like an amateur.
- Technique beats originality – you reel needs originality but not at the cost of basic skills; simple but well done is better than original but amateurish
- Avoid clichés – clichés to avoid in general include spaceships, dragons, robots, cameras endlessly flying round sets and worlds populated by supermodels and manga heroes; though if they are well done, include them; what matters isn’t the subject matter but more how you treat it
When looking for example showreels, I found this ‘anti-showreel’ by Irish art director Peter Quinn. In the video he puts together a lot (if not all) of the tropes seen in both 2D and 3D showreels. After watching this and then looking at example reels, I realised how accurate this video was, and also how irritating this must be for companies who are watching hundreds of reels.
I thought that Martin Nabelek’s reel was really well done and looks professional. It is clear from the intro what software he’s comfortable with and there is a breakdown of each scene showing what he did and crediting other’s when their work was used. The music added to the reel and wasn’t too distracting.
I really liked the way that Hannah Kang approached her showreel; it was clear that she had done all the modelling and she credited those whose concepts she had based her work off. As well as this, she showed what software was used for each model and the turnarounds were well framed. One thing I think would have improved this reel is if she had shown the meshes for her models, or have had wireframes.
I felt this student reel could be improved in a few ways. Firstly, it needs to be simplified, the intro and transitions are too much and distract from the models. I think the way the models are presented could also use some work. A lot of the time there are parts of the models that go out of frame, and we don’t get to see what the mesh is like on the models. This is a student reel, but when applying for jobs with companies it is important to make sure you are able to stand up to those who have experience in the industry.