What should I include on my showreel?
Include only your best work. It is better to have a very short reel of amazing work than a longer one that includes a bunch of mediocre shots. If your reel is super short but amazing, it is easy for recruiters to request to see more, however a longer reel with uninteresting shots risks losing the viewers’ attention and you probably won’t hear back at all.
How long should my showreel be?
Length is not as important as content. Generally the viewer can get a good idea of your skill level from the first 30 seconds so there is no need to have a long reel unless you are absolutely sure your content is good enough to sustain interest for the entire duration. A reel of 1 minute can be just as good or better than a reel of 3 minutes; so when you cut, think less about the duration and more about every shot you use and why you are including it.
Should I include music in my reel?
Our personal preference is yes, music can be used to compliment your showcase of shots, but please keep in mind that the reel should stand on its own without music as quite often showreels are viewed on machines without speakers or headphones. When choosing your music, also be mindful that tastes in music genres vary widely. It may be safer to choose mainstream genres rather than your favourite death-metal song which you think is amazing but which others might not have the same appreciation for. If you do use music, it should compliment the images well and not distract from what you are trying to show.
Is it better to be a generalist or a specialist?
The answer to this question depends on where you live, what type of work you want to do, and for which company. Generally speaking, large vfx companies that work on big-budget movies may prefer specialists but the majority of medium and smaller companies prefer generalists because they have less departments and people. As an example, some of the larger vfx companies may divide into many departments; Previz, Modelling, Texturing, Rigging, Lighting, Compositing, Tracking, Paint etc….; all with a team of specialists. Meanwhile medium or small vfx companies may have just a few departments; 3D, 2D, Design; with a few people in each department who are expected to be able to cover all the required skills.
What software should I learn?
Where should I go to learn? Uni / Private School / Online?
Where can I find professional tutorials?