Guide to Creating a Successful Showreel

Here are some useful tips for creating a successful showreel, from two of the people who may review your submission.  Some tips may sound obvious, but bear with us; they are often overlooked by applicants.

VFX – Cinesite London Head of Production Caroline Garrett
Feature Animation – Cinesite Director of Animation Eamonn Butler

General
Put your name and details at the front of the reel so we have your contact details easily to hand
Make your reel easy to access and play online.  Adding a password is fine, but get your friends to check access and playback to ensure everything works smoothly
Be selective.  Ask colleagues, tutors or students to judge your work and be brutally honest.  We only want to see your best work

VFX
Put your best work at the start of a 2-3 minute reel, no longer.
Include thorough breakdowns – we like to see before/after comparisons which illustrate the thought process behind the construction of a shot, techniques used etc.
Do your research and tailor your reel to the job you are applying for
Don’t worry about the music, we often watch reels mute
Don’t include work you didn’t do and be honest about what you contributed to group projects

Feature Animation
Keep your reel short.  For a student or recent graduate, 30 seconds is plenty – we are looking for potential
Animators should show a range of realistic and cartoony work
Animation doesn’t need to be beautifully lit – grey shaded is fine
View other people’s reels online to see the high standard you can achieve and get inspired