Those of you who follow us on Twitter will know that we had our first ever realtime Twitter feedback session on Monday. I am told I should refer to them as Tweetups or Twitter parties, but if truth be told, it was a simple, honest, online showreel clinic! We asked our followers to send us links to their reels, and Lee Danskin, our Training Development Director, provided his usual professional feedback.
It doesn't matter how often I watch Lee do showreel critics, I still get a kick from listening to him. First of all, he has a pretty inimitable style which always brings a smile, and secondly, I am amazed at his attention to detail. But that's not actually the point of this blog post... What I actually wanted to share with you are a couple of tips which keep coming up time and time again. They are pretty simple, and we’ve mentioned them before but they make such a difference that I thought I'd take time to write them up again.
Tip 1: Make sure you include your contact details and your current job role, as well as the one you’re applying for, in the actual reel. Many people think that a covering note is enough, but to be fair most letters, CVs, covering notes and emails get separated from the reels. Your future employer isn’t going to spend much time trying to guess which role you’re going for, so take the guessing out of it and make it obvious. Then, let the reel do the rest.
Tip 2: Pick an industry. Recruiters’ major bugbears are generic reels which aren’t tailored to the positions you’re looking for. It’s no good applying for a VFX role and having loads of animated pieces, or going for a compositing job and showing off a car chase you made for a game. You need your reel to demonstrate that you’ve got the skills relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Simple stuff, but often overlooked. The employers we work with spend hours watching dozens and dozens of reels for each position they need to fill. They haven't got the time to figure out where you might fit in. So make it explicit! If you’re going for a rotoscoping role, stick it in white letters on a black background right at the beginning of your reel, and then have all your different roto models in there. You may end up leaving out many things you are especially proud of, but if they aren’t relevant for the job, there’s no point having them in there.
Thanks to @kevingeorge, @Erenius, @adrianspencer, @TimeLordTotty, @chris_dyke, @realsimjoy, @bbratt, @wdcstudios and @MajaFuente3D for submitting their reels, and apologies to all those we didn’t get round to viewing. We’re planning on doing more of these sessions in the near future, so keep an eye out for them and get your reels ready.