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Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..

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Jeremy FabianoDemo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 6:15:29 am

Ok it's time I finally ask this question. I've been wondering it for a very long time and have tried to figure it out on my own, but to no avail.

How in the heck do you piece together a demo reel to get even low-paying freelance work?

I'm somewhat doubting people are going to look at the results of tutorials I've followed, or the ideas I've come up with 'for the heck of it'. I have one project I'm working on with someone else, that will give me a 5-10 seconds of video I can actually use towards a reel, what do I do for the other 1.5-2.5 minutes??

Should I actually grab my cameras and go out and come up with something? Or just keep lurking on here helping people out, and when they ask for assistance on projects to use those results for a reel?

I'd really like an answer to this dilema, so if you guys with experience can chime in, I'd really really appreciate it.

Looking forward to many many informative replies!!!

(If you decide to bash on me, and the few other beginners who are wondering the same but are too shy to ask, well don't bother posting. No one wants to waste their time reading your malformed opinions :P ).



-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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Simon StuttsRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 7:58:28 am

The short answer: Go make some stuff. You don't have to get paid for it to put it on your reel.

Do self-initiated projects that mimic real world projects: i.e. set goals, communicate a message, deliver (to yourself) on deadline, etc.

If you're really short on work experience, maybe it's time to go get an internship. Are there any local studios that would take you on as an intern?



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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 8:18:38 am

I wish there were.. the nearest town that *MIGHT* have a studio would be Sacramento, CA - about an hour and 20 minutes away. I'm trying to run my own business at the same time so if it's not local it really isn't too doable in my case :(

There ARE a few self-initiated projects in mind, friends and I are going to be making a few things that could be used for that purpose.

I'm also doing some very lightweight fx on an indie film that has a good chance of getting into Sundance; my name/logo is in the credits. I'll be using that in my portfolio of course hehe.

Well knowing it doesn't have to be "official" work helps massively! We'll see what comes up.

Any other advice?

Thanks again!

-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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Simon StuttsRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 8:10:14 am

Some self-initiated projects people have done:
http://www.vimeo.com/3365942

http://www.eatpes.com

I can guarantee you that these guy's "personal" projects directly resulted in them getting paid projects. Just make the most awesome stuff you possibly can, and no one will care whether you got paid or did it for the love of the game.


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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 8:20:44 am

Awesome I can live with that!

Gives me more reason to push my abilities even harder than before.

Thanks for the great advice!



-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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David JohnsonRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 7:46:56 pm

Simon is spot on in saying "Just make the most awesome stuff you possibly can, and no one will care whether you got paid".

Depending on the details, you might even be ok to include some tutorial stuff ... if you used tutorials the way they're intended - to learn a particular technique, expand on it and apply it to other situations/material to make something of your own, you have every right to use what you've made.

However, in both scenarios, you definitely shouldn't mislead people. If you use a company's logo to mock up some TV spots as practice, while you may not want to put a disclaimer in bold red letters on your reel's open screen, you might want to somehow make clear the company didn't contract you to make TV spots.

Similarly, people evaluating your work may have seen the same tutorials ... several times over the years I've received reels with nothing but unaltered tutorial regurgitations and you can guess not only where those got filed, but also the reaction to those same individuals when they came back several years later.


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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 9:29:44 pm

Yeah that's kind of what I was worried about.

I tend to do the tutorials spot on to get it down, then redo it changing a few things, then third time around it looks NOTHING like the tutorial because I took those skills and applied it to somethign else entirely. Only issue is up till this point even my best work is still rather weak. I'm working on expanding my skillset a bit more to remedy that issue.

Thanks, I'm considering all advice, so it's all welcome.

-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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David JohnsonRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 9:49:15 pm

AE is something you really have to put some hours into to get good at, but don't forget to balance with related skills beyond software proficiency ...

Simon's advice on that point is so good it's worth repeating ...
"Do self-initiated projects that mimic real world projects: i.e. set goals, communicate a message, deliver (to yourself) on deadline, etc."


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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 9:57:15 pm

Yup! Taking his stuff to heart :) Is some very good (and extremely useful) information. Half of the "KEY" that I was missing before. I should be able to progress a lot just with that :)


As for several hours on AE .. Been at it for over 2 yrs self-teaching. I started answering peoples posts on here because there are some questions the more experienced members either don't have time to answer or don't care to repeat an answer. That and I figure after two years of learning on here, it was time I start putting back into the community and helping where I can. It's been an enjoyable and rewarding experience so far.



-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 10:08:45 pm

Figured I'd put up a copy of my workspace as well. Maybe someone can give pointers on increasing productivity on workflow.

It's a bit untidy, but I had a lot going on that night.



Notes: On the 'dual monitor' setup (not pictured) the middle screen is removed (and no. I didn't open the start menu intentionally, but was too lazy to redo the screen shot).


Anything I could do to make it a bit more efficient? Well, I mean without having the toilet, fridge, and microwave a bit closer :D

I'm pretty comfortable with it where it sits, but am considering adding a 4th monitor to the setup for textures/stuff/whatever and possibly a firewire preview monitor (not sure yet) as well as a better sound system (although I'm wired into my mixer which feeds into my guitar/bass amps and stereo). I also need a rollie chair !!! Sitting on your arse w/ a wood dining room chair SUCKS!!!

-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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scott novasicRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 28, 2009 at 4:13:20 am

watch out with those crt monitors. I would look into the health issues of being surrounded by those for days on end. Im not sure if its an issue anymore, but you can surf for that info. You might want to get a broadcast monitor. Its my experience that newbies who have not worked with interlaced content, can design things that dont work out well on tv. Broadcast colors and flicker issues are also things that can pop up when an image is delivered. Looks great on your monitor but less than stellar on air.

This may not effect anything in your future job searching, but it is something to consider.

SuperNova
Animation & Visual Effects
Scott Novasic
Los Angeles Ca
web:http://web.mac.com/finaleffects


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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 28, 2009 at 4:42:22 am

HAHAHA thanks Scott :D

Yeah I've had a run in or two w/ interlaced stuff... I use VHS cameras as I'm not exactly rolling around in the dough.. combined w/ a 640x480x30FPS USB video capture card, it gets me by. I use a tutorial from videocopilot.net to deinterlace my footage, it actually comes out quite nicely (surprisingly considering the cameras).

I do my design work on the LCD and I do have a tv on the other side of the room I have a 16 foot S-Video cable running to when in need.

As for the CRT's and being surrounded for days ..... ugh.. yeah.. :( I don't always have them all on at once (but still a good portion of the time). I'm swapping out for LCD's as money allows. This is also my gaming rig so fun or work, I still want the best I can get my paws on.

-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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Marten KoppRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 28, 2009 at 11:24:34 am

I am having somewhat the same problem. I tried looking for some non-budget projects. They usually give you a bigger playground as it comes to creativity and time. In my country we have some jobforums specialized in motion. I signed in to 2 projects just for experiance and portfolio material. And recently we made a short film ->





We filmed it with a 70's 35mm camera witch was very cool. It may not be the best editing ever, but at least it delivers material for my showreel.

Cheers


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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 28, 2009 at 2:24:34 pm

Wow that's pretty impressive actually!

I'm sure you'll got a load of stuff for your reel :)

-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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Marten KoppRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 28, 2009 at 11:45:13 pm

You think so? Well, thanks. It was actually 2 day shooting (35mm so takes a while) and 2 day editting (in a different country, different people) but actually it was quite fun. It was the first time I touched a oldschool camera and I have to say, the image it creates is really cool.

But to awnser your question, no, I dont. Thats why I am looking for little projects that pass by. Its good to try and find a goal where you help out other people and end up with some nice showreel material. Aint there any artschool in your area? Or schools that provide cinama educations? They often need people with skills and experience to help them out with projects. Ofcourse, you wont get payed but you got something..


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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 29, 2009 at 2:01:31 am

You're welcome.

As for art schools out here, I'm not entirely sure, I've been away for almost eight years. Where I used to live there were two schools, but all the students were in the same situation as me so there wasn't any helping the schools.

A group of like-minded friends and I are going to be doing some shorts and maybe a full feature or two depending on time/schedules so we'll see what happens there.

-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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Steve RobertsRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 29, 2009 at 12:18:42 pm

Just make a bunch of 10-second animations, and cut 3-5 seconds of each into a reel. It takes time, but it's the best way to do it. As you go, your tastes and abilities will improve, and you'll find that your early work is no good. Great. You're improving. Make more animations.

Look outside. Look at architectural illustration. Look at the Communication Arts Illustration Annual. Mess around. Throw crap together. Basically, speed up your creative process by throwing stuff together and making mistakes. Make bad stuff. Make better stuff. Eventually you'll make good stuff.






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Stuart ElithRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 30, 2009 at 4:03:46 am

I very much agree with this... if you want to show variety in a reel, then do a lot of different things! By doing short stuff, you can spend the time polishing it without feeling like you're wasting a lot of time on a "fake" project (if it's not for an actual client).

For example, I took an illustration I had done for a uni class and split up all the layers to put in some simple animation, and it turned out to be a really effective 3 or 4 seconds, without much extra work involved.


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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Sep 30, 2009 at 4:10:49 am

Sweet thanks!

Tried to do a 3d match move shot in my driveway today... but my camera held me back :( Even after the de-interlace the image quality just wasn't sharp enough for boujou... -.- (don't ask.. a friend out of the states has it, i VNC to his machine to use it..I doubt I can ever afford it..). The track points were just all over the place :(


I might have to do other projects for now that don't involve any 3d match moving...


-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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Stuart ElithRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Oct 1, 2009 at 1:12:25 am

I just did a google search for about 10 seconds and found a few places with "free HD footage", including this vimeo group.

http://www.vimeo.com/groups/freehd

The footage looks pretty nice, good clean quality that you could DEFINITELY use for practicing. In fact it's better than some footage I've had to deal with for actual production work! If you check their terms and conditions, they may well even let you use it for in a reel, i expect. There's nothing wrong with using footage you didn't shoot if you're not going for jobs in shooting... in post-production everything is given to you anyway so it's just like a real project.



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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Oct 1, 2009 at 1:14:30 am

Wow thanks!

yeah i didnt think to look lol..

-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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cowcowcowcow
Mark PetereitRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Oct 1, 2009 at 3:19:45 pm

Find a church in your area that's just getting into video and offer to do some work for them for free. Believe me, you'll be a tremendous blessing to them and you'll get the demo reel material you need.

Mix in an animal shelter, a PSA for a homeless shelter, domestic abuse shelter, your local United Way, non-profit hospital. Heck, pick your favorite restaurant and tell them you'll do a commercial in exchange for $X free food. Ask your local news affiliate if you could free-lance some motion graphics for their next "calendar of events" spot.

You know that local commercial you keep seeing on TV that is just absolutely, pitifully awful? Tell them you'll make a great one for them in exchange for them agreeing to never put that piece of crap on TV again. You'd be doing the public a great service!

The options are endless!


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Jeremy FabianoRe: Demo Reel From Nothing At All???? hmm..
by on Oct 1, 2009 at 3:42:12 pm

OMG LOL!!

Mark,

The end of your post just made my morning a lot less awful! Laughing is extremely healthy.

Yeah there's a few of those commercials.. all those ideas sound great, I'll be looking into that coming very soon.

I'm looking at a Panasonic Dv-Gs12 for a camera. It's not the greatest camera on the planet, but it's my Ferrari compared to the crap I'm using right now.

Soon as I get my hands on it and some DV media I'll be looking into that.



Want to thank everyone who's posted and offered their advice and experience. If anyone else wants to pitch in by all means feel free.

Thanks again.

-Jeremy

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If you didn't supply enough information I will start making assumptions. I'm usually wrong when I assume.
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