Stills on a demo reel: Yes or No?
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    Stills on a demo reel: Yes or No?

    I've been working on my demo reel for an upcoming job/internship fair at my school, and in the course of putting it together I find myself faced with a question that hopefully some pros can answer: Should I (or anyone) put still images on a demo reel?

    It's a bit more extreme, in my case; I'm an animation major, but I'm only starting out and so far have only one animation project to show. I have overwhelmingly more illustration/concept stuff to include, so I'm wondering if I should just shuck the demo reel entirely and do a ton of hard-copy portfolios to hand out, and perhaps include the animation project on my website (which is mentioned on my resume and portfolio cover.) I'm not sure how an animation company would respond to this, hence the reason I ask. Any advice?

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    If you're just starting out why worry about a reel? Even if its a short 2-year program you should have 3 to 5 pieces of animation by the time you finish. Enough for a reel around 1min

    do more animations is the best option.

    If you're doing an animation reel anything that's not animated should be kept to a minimum, including credits and contact info.

    If you don't have enough animation its probably better to submit a flat book and bill yourself as an layout artist or background artist before moving over to animation.

    Reel priority as follows:
    Animations - Best to worse

    these are last resort:
    Storyboards
    Designs/Layouts; character sheets
    Other non-animation stills like illustrations and concepts.

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    Mayby you can show a short preview of a upcoming animation project you're working on to make someone interested to follow your progress in the animation field.

    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."
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    If your 2D work will help you to get the job you are after, then sure, include it. However, a minute is all you should show. More than that and the poor grumpy sod who has been tasked to watch the pile of demo reels is going to get annoyed and turned off. (I'm not kidding when I say reviewing demo reels is torment.)

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    My friend Andy Wilkinson does animation and included some still storyboards in his reel in a pretty cool way. Check it out here.
    Sure you can include stills in a reel, it's all about the presentation I guess.

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    Wow, Andy! Your friend has a great reel. Did he do that with after effects, or in final cut pro? Hopefully I'll learn that sort of thing before I get out of here. I'm still pretty new to video editing software, since I've only needed to use it for two or three things.

    I'll think I'll take your suggestion, Hito, and do flat books instead of reels. I'm sure the animation companies will be looking for interns in non-animation fields (or for modeling/lighting/etc. in maya, something else I'm interested in but don't have enough yet for a reel)

    I'll just have to make my portfolio awesome and hope for the best!

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    Exclamation

    Allright. First of all, if you have a "worst" animation in your lot, you should NOT include it in your demo. Remember that you are not judged by your abilities but by your flaws.
    Secondly, as in a portfolio, you should put your BESTEST work first, second best last and third best in the middle. If you don't have enough material (3 animations, even short as they are shouldn't be too much too ask for a full course), stick to your best anyway. Don't cram something last minute in there or it could kill your chances.

    I'd rather hire a guy with interesting material of good quality that shows potential that has a 20 seconds demo over someone that has a 1 min of average stuff. If the person seems interesting enough, I'll put them through a quick anim test if a doubt remainsΦ.
    Seedling is right, demo viewing can be torment which is why most reviewers will listen to the first 30 seconds, most of the time on FFWD and then zap to the next one...

    Back to the original question! It's indeed a good idea to put stills in there, whether it's 2d or 3d animation; It'll show your posing abilities (skills + inovation/inspiration). Try to keep them last, perhaps one or two per page, etc. If you already have a minute worth of stuff, you could always include your poses during credits.
    As it was previously mentionned, you could fill the rest with storyboard or BG design...

    Good luck!

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    I've seen plenty of stills on demo reels along with animations and it works just fine. Usually when I do it I try and time the stills to the music, like every downbeat, flip to a new still image (maybe 3 to 4 sec per still, depending on how complex a still it is.) That way, the stills have a sense of rhythm, just like your animation should. It even works pretty well if you don't end up including the music on the reel (since some companies don't want music on your reel), but timing your reel to music can give it a good pace, regardless of whether the final version includes sound.

    - Neil

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    Once you have animation to put on, you can still put some stills on - if they're good. Keep it short, and keep it rolling. Or you'll get fast-forwarded or ejected.

    If you are being hired purely for animation, your 2d stuff can tell a lot about your sense of staging, posing, appeal, etc. But that's later, after internships.

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    Of course you should include your paintings and illustrations in your portfolio - but you shouldn't include it in the video. Rather include good quality prints of your work and give that to employers along with your video reel.

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