All Thriller No Filler- Showreel advice from Milk and Framestore

We don’t know if Milk’s 2D Supervisor Jorge Oliva and Framestore’s Generalist TD Caspian Graca da Silva have worked together, but they were a formidable team to give feedback to Escape VFX students on their showreels at our special Showreel Clinic

The Showreel is your passport to your career, so getting it right to show your skills and artistry can give you the edge in the jobs market. Between the two of them they’ve seen thousands of reels, and so can give the kind of tips you may not have thought about before- from the recruiter’s point of view.

Picture L-R: Caspian Graca da Silva and Jorge Oliva

We also saw a lot of really promising work from Escape VFX students, and that brings us on to the first tip- always show your developing reel to a range of people before you send it out. It’s natural that you may dwell too long on certain shots, or think some elements don’t need to be highlighted because you are so close to the creative process. So, like our students in this session, always show your reel to a range of people to get feedback and impressions. What you think is a clincher shot may to a recruiter be a little flat.

Secondly, tailor your reel for different jobs, or companies, based on your research. For instance larger companies may look for a different kind of texture artist reel compared to a smaller company.

Remember also that the recruiter can’t critique your work if they can’t tell what you did. Don’t assume they’ll know you did that roto, but not the comp you are showing it in. Be clear with some text in the corner of the clip.

Be concise in your reel. “If you can’t convince me within a minute, there’s something wrong with your reel” said Jorge.

Presentation is everything- don’t upload to YouTube- use Vimeo. We say a great example of this- a student showed their work via YouTube, and at the end YouTube ‘helpfully’ started to load a clip of Nigel Farage- go figure. That’s the point- on YouTube you don’t know what will pop up, so use Vimeo.

It’s great to see group work, says Caspian- “we rely on team players at Framestore, so clearly mark what you did in more complex shots. If you over-credit yourself or bend the truth you will be found out, and it’s an industry where recruiters all know each other. Don’t compromise your prospects before you’ve even started”. Caspian and Jorge had some great anecdotes to illustrate this. The session continued with plenty of advice regarding breakdowns and title legibility. In essence it’s about imagining your recruiter with many reels to look through. How will you make it easier for them to choose you? Take care to follow the advice from the professionals.

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