This is the second article of my interview with Anne Denman of Studio B Productions.
She is the Head of Recruitment/HR at the studio and is giving us her advice on what she likes to see come in the doors when she has to do some hiring. You can find the first article on making a good resume here.
Today she talks about portfolios. It’s not the ‘nitty gritty details’ of putting one together. You can find that in my ‘Building a Storyboard Portfolio‘ article.
She’s giving a glimspe from the other side of the desk, which you don’t always get to see.
So pay attention.
I now give you Anne’s advice on Portfolios:
I love to see talent. I love to be blown away by it.
How to make your portfolio stand out is to have your really clean, fluid stuff up front.
If you’re new, showing off good line quality can help get you noticed. Whatever you’re applying for, show you can do that first and that you can do it well.
Animators need to show animation (in the form of a demo reel) storyboard artists need boards, etc.
For character designs, show a variety. Don’t just show the big breasted vixen on horseback. Most animation companies aren’t interested. It may work for gaming companies, but animation studios get tired of seeing that same stuff over and over.
I’ve had people come in that I thought were going to be fabulous artists but only had tons of that “Thor” stuff in their portfolio—not interested.
Show some variety! If you’re new, choosing a fairy tale and making 3 different designs for the characters is a good exercise.
If the position calls for a demo reel, only put stuff on it that you have done. And do give a credit list at the beginning. You have two minutes (or less) to show them what you’ve got.
Watch what you’re sending! Offensive material can backfire on you.
Do you know that many recruiting people happen to be women? Is your ’edgy film’ really going to go over that well? Think of it as trying to impress your mom’s best friend. We’re not prudes, we just get tired of sexist jokes and ‘poo poo humor‘.
Be witty. Be smart. You can’t go wrong with that.
Many times with demo reels, there may just be a gate keeper…an assistant or someone filling in to review them. They could be reviewed by someone who may not know anything about animation!
Keep this in mind.
Your demo reel should be snappy and appealing to ANYONE.
It’s a commercial for you.
Make it entertaining. Don’t include your whole student film. You have two minutes (maybe shorter) to make an impression, so don’t waste it.
For your portfolio, it’s a good idea to have a digital and hard copy available. Forget about a blog site (Blogger type thing). We don’t want to read about your personal life while sifting though the site looking for a portfolio.
On that site show them your best stuff. It’s not a cop out. Don’t ‘lead up’ to it.
Show it first because that’s what recruiters want to see. Your skills! It’s okay that you’re new and green but as long as you’re ACTING professional, that goes a long way in our eyes.
If you know someone at the studio you’re applying to, ask if you can use their name and then use it! Knowing someone is always a plus (especially if they are respected). Put your name out there…it helps a lot.
As a newbie you should try to go to animation festivals, parties and events. Remember at these events you are always ‘on’. You never know who you will meet and who you are giving your first impression to.
Forget about business cards. They’re pretty much a waste of money and you’ll rarely use them. Unless you are going to a lot of events and they are done well. No one really collects business cards in the industry (unless at events).
When things are slow, work on a project (your own or someone else’s) to keep your skills sharp. Life drawing. Meet people.
Get a mentor in areas you want to improve in. If you want to do better boards get Karen cause she’s the best. (Aw shucks, thanks Anne – KJL.) Ask advice from other pros in the field.
Keep on your game. Do a plan of where you want to go and where you want to be in 5 years.
Spread yourself out and get seen.
Thanks again for the insights Anne!
We’ll continue this series next week with some advice on applying to studios. Good stuff.
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