We see a lot of demo reels roll through our doors and we see the same mistakes happen over and over again. Here are the top 7 mistakes we see regularly.
- Using template material – Come on designers! Stop using material in your reels that is not your own. If you can buy it, download it or learn it in a tutorial it should not go into your reel, no matter how cool that sparkly lens flare looks. You may fool the average consumer, but any design firm or agency can sniff someone else’s design work in your reel from a mile away.
- It is so long we fell asleep - Your reel should be no longer than a minute. Only put work in your reel that shows that you have the skills and the experience to get the job done right. If it is outdated, poorly designed or doesn’t show well than don’t put it in your reel. The purpose of your demo reel is to get more work, not deter it.
- Poor render quality – You could have the best work in the business, but if it doesn’t show well than you will have a hard time landing that big contract. If you work in HD then render in HD! Who doesn’t love watching great reels in 720 HD at fullscreen? When you output your reel at standard def or lower it demonstrates that you lack the care for quality and preservation of detail.
- Who made this? - We hate coming across great reels and having to hunt and peck to determine who made it. Open or close your reel with your contact information. This could include your name, email, website and phone number.
- Lacks presentation skills – When we look at reels we look at everything and take it into consideration when we hire. This includes your website design, branding, video quality, typography, color theory, communication and overall professionalism. We also snoop past your reel if it is linked to a Vimeo account, Twitter feed, YouTube account, website or blog. Make sure your links, sites and accounts are squeaky clean. The more professional you look, the more likely we will trust you with our cherished clients.
- Stale hard bread – Just the other day we were sent a reel with a date that was four years old! In the design industry four years is like four decades. Especially when it comes to motion graphics. As times passes, design style change and your level of craftsmanship should be improved . Your reel should be updated yearly and only contain your most current and best looking work.
- Flat out lying - Not too long ago we received a resume from a designer who stated they had twenty years of experience in motion graphics and After Effects. We found this hard to believe because the most early seedlings of After Effects weren’t born more than 18 years ago. Nonetheless we gave the designer the benefit of the doubt and let his reel do the talking. If his reel could speak it would say, “I’m an average designer that lacks creativity, style and experience.” Let’s just say they never got a call back from us. In short don’t lie. It will be obvious your a fake when we watch your reel or past work examples.
For more tips on creating a better motion design reel check out “Five Steps to a Better Motion Demo Reel” by GSG.