Virtual round table sees industry experts dive into the art of creating an effective showreel

In partnership with Cosmos Maya Animation Academy, Animation Xpress launched a virtual round table that saw industry experts discussing the mantra behind an effective show reel that recruiters look for.

In the AVGC industry, it is often said that more than your academic credentials, it is your show-reel that determines and broadens your horizons.

What exactly do recruiters look for in a show-reel? What is a recipe of a good show-reel that gives the artists an edge? What should an artists add in their show-reel to multiply their chances of getting hired?

Moderated by Cosmos Maya Senior H.R executive Jinal Shah, the virtual roundtable saw a definitive session on the do’s and don’ts of creating a show-reel by Vaibhav Studios Sr Character Animator Dapoom Rai Dewan and Cosmos Maya Creative Director Abhay Waghmare.

Waghmare who has had a career spanning two decades with shows like Angry Birds Slingshot Series and the upcoming animated feature Dogstanian & The Three Muskehounds to his credit shares that applicants must bear three pointers in mind before submitting their show-reel. He shares, “Firstly, make sure whatever your skills are, you are applying in the particular area and the skillset should reflect in your show-reel. If you’re applying for modelling, make sure you it looks like a modelling show-reel.”

Breaking down the second pointer by highlighting the importance of brevity and crispness, he continues, “Put your best work, putting a lot of it won’t help but putting the best three or four images and shots will look good. Putting too much might spoil the game. So it is important to put selective work.

Thirdly, Waghmare shares that it is extremely important to label the work if one is submitting the entire footage and not the individual shots that they worked on. He elaborates, “Which part of the whole scene has the compositor worked on? that needs to be stated so we get the clear idea of what you have done otherwise it is misleading.”

He adds, “Keep it interesting, it applies to animators too. It should stay in the viewer’s mind.”

Dewan who is a character animator with over a decade of experience in 2D, 3D and stopmotion animation echoes the similar opinion about the contents of an effective showreel. He notes, “In our office, we have many generalists. If you’re a generalist, show that you’re good with modelling or rigging and lighting so show what your strengths are. Whatever your best strength is, you need to put your best work forward. Grab the attention of the recruiter in the first few seconds because that is crucial”

On being asked about the ideal duration of the showreel, Wagmare answers, “Maximum one minute duration is enough. Lesser than that is also fine. Anyway it will appeal to the supervisor or director. Recruiters are busy people. They will find a bracket when they’re on a break so they have to quickly gauged it. People with ten years of experience can determine what is good or bad in one second. When I get the reel, I always look at the shots in the beginning. I look at the experience of the guy. I see where he has worked. It reflects in the first three shots. Sometimes five seconds are enough to catch someone’s attention and pique their interest.”

Sharing insights on whether the showreel should contain personal work or professional work, panelists emphasized the importance of personal work. However they shared inclusion of professional show reel gives the recruiters an understanding how how well the applicant can work in a team and a professional environment. Dapoon shares, “When you show personal work, you are free to add in your inputs. And that’s when you show who you are in your work. Personal work appeals to me a lot. Both should be there in the reel; personal and professional. We also want to see how you handle a production pipeline.”

Focusing on why personal work is preferred, Waghmare shares, “Professional work you have done collectively. And personal is done on your own. Every recruiter gives preference to personal work that’s where you see genuine talent as what this guy is good at. We find out if they have their own brain and ideas. Through personal work, I can judge their ability better.”

Professional work gives recruiters, Waghmare shares, the idea of how well you work with the team. “So if you’ve worked on an anime or a mocap, it gives you the idea about the maturity of the guy that they have worked in a professional setting across various pipelines and professional environments,” he notes.

We hope the fountain of insights this roundtable unlocked becomes a beacon for the next generation of applicants who are often bogged down with the task of figuring out the best ways to shine forth.

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