For folks looking for any kind of employment, be it as an employee or associate, the primary requirement (unless you are a complete, complete novice) is to have a competent body of work to show your prospective employers. In case you are a complete newbie, you ought to read enough and gain adequate knowledge on your own to show your seriousness to any prospective employer. Or be ready to go down on your knees, beg and take whatever comes your way.
If you are in the world of cinema making including animation, your body of work would be the ubiquitous “SHOWREEL” which would be your identity as to what all you have done in the years that you have been in the industry. And this applies to everyone, a newbie or a seasoned player with the point of differentiation being the depth of your work and its worth.
Like a Resume, this tells the world who you are and what all you have done in the past to qualify for the position you apply for. And yes, the same idea goes even when approaching folks for funding and other resources.
What then should your show-reel/ resume have that would make it seem interesting to the right set of people?
- If you have applied for the position of a renderer, show then what you have done as a renderer instead of concentrating on aspects like lighting, effects or other aspects which could distract. If you are applying for one activity but have experience in another field, show only that which can co-related the two and tell the person that your intentions. References of people under whom you have worked would also help as it would show your seriousness towards the field. To the extent possible, keep your work in a straight line instead of meandering all over the place. Don’t show-off your multiple skills. It may distract and irritate.
- Last in and first out. Your latest work should be first and always in that order.
- Show what you think matters. Work did a decade or two back may not elicit any or the right responses. Or it could provide there is material in it. That being the case, try and show stuff that has value. Always remember, quality is what matters. Quantity too does, but not at the cost of quality. Showing a ton of mundane stuff may not elicit any response. Or worse, it could be read the wrong way to show that you have nothing better to show.
- Make a showreel and show it around to ones you are familiar with before showing to those who matter. Mistakes everyone makes. What matters is who gets to catch them first. If it is your friend or acquaintance, you could be safe. The same can’t be said of a corporate executive, a producer or director of repute who may not stand for irritating mistakes and oversites. So, first show your show-reel to a select group of people you are familiar with and get their responses.
- Customize your show-reel (and Resumes too). One size DOES NOT FIT ALL and never will. No two entities doing the same work shall have the same views. First know your intended audiences, their likely responses and then customize your presentations, show-reels and also Resume. Show what they want to see instead of what you want to show. If they seem one and the same, fine. Otherwise, it makes immense sense to change.
- Originality shall stand out. Others may fade. Showing stuff that has been doing the rounds of the industry both in terms of work and ideas, may show you in a negative light. Instead, try and be different in your thought and approach. Before making your show-reel, make a list of what you want to show and then take a decision. Do not start off on a wrong note. It shall get you nowhere.
- Stick to one agenda. Do not try and include matters that do not add (it could just subtract though). People try to impress by making the package attractive. Yes, it needs to be beautified but to what extent better be left open. Go by industry standards. What matters is what is in the inside. Here too keep your agenda brief and to the point. Do not meander all over the place. It gets you nowhere.
From the above, it would be amply clear that brevity is what matters to most people. Stick to that and you win.