Demo Reels You’ll Have Over Your Career (in VFX)

I wanted to hit the subject around portfolio’s and demo reel shard this month. Mostly because there is so much information, I wanted to shed light on some of it here.

Also, as mentioned in the video — check out www.allanmckay.com/myreel/ for the Ultimate Demo Reel Guide, which all of these videos are built around. (It’s free.)

One of my big goals for next month is I’m shooting a sequence involving Venom which I wanted to build some training around. So expect end of August to be doing some killer visual effects shots around live action of Venom and the Simbiote suit.

BTW any ideas you have — or reference — hit the comments area and let me know, because I’m still boarding out the sequence and getting an idea of what I want to do for this. But it’s going to be fun!

Thinking of your reel as the same reel, just improved with the latest work each time of your career is probably going to wield you the same results. We want to change up our reel as time progresses. I want you to think of your reel as your first impression on someone. But more importantly, what if it was the most critical first impression you could ever make? It had to be perfect. I want to do this because it’s going to make you want to think less about how tight your work is or how awesome the track is that you cut it to — and more about the mindset you want the person watching it to be in; what you want them to be thinking while they’re watching it, and how you want them to feel after it ends.

So, am I overthinking this? Because this probably doesn’t line up with those fluff articles you’ve been reading and what your 3D teacher told you in college right?

Again, this is results driven. Results being: If that supervisor watching your reel, starts to click through because they’re bored, they’re not engaged — and you are doing something wrong. If they’re watching it and something comes up, and they instantly pull out your resume to check “Is this person a student?” Doing it wrong! If they have no idea what your contributions to a shot were, or even what kind of position you’re going for, or if they’re not fully engaged in consuming your work — you need to rethink your whole message.

What you want is them be FULLY ENGAGED — commenting or yelling out to others around them to come and check out your work. You want them commenting on it and even re-watching it when it’s done. You want them to make it their priority to reach out to you as soon as they finish watching and placing you in their mind (and spreadsheet) as a definite hire.

Going beyond this, do you think this is going to affect what kind of salary you can ask for when it comes to negotiating if they’re in this state of mind? Because this is all about frame control, which is a psychology term for basically saying “you want to control their state of mind”. You want them to be impressed, you want them to understand your message and you want to make sure the work you’re showing them, aligns perfectly with the type of work they are potentially looking to hire someone for. This is how you cut through the noise and get results.

There are dozens of types of reels. But I want you to think more of the evolution of yours over your career.

Youtube comments:

Matt Mendians
Would you recommend as a camera operator and live studio audio engineer doing two short separate reals? Or one short with both. I would love for anyone’s opinion. Also with today’s video livestream seems to be a standard would you recommend taking a online course about zoom, etc.? Seems like a lot of jobs are live video conferencing. Thanks again!
Goran Kostadinov
Great and Insightful video. Could all this info be applied to Video Editors reel? What the best shots should be when as editor you are trying to showcase your work?( I work as a Video editor on TV and film series.) Will be grateful if you could reply, bro. Thank you.
great video! thank you.......
E. Z
Thanks for sharing with us what is actually helpful for students like me. You are Awesome!.I don't know why we were not taught about this when we are in learning process and because of this we choose what is not good for us. Keep on sharing such useful information with us.
mayank lal
What about the person who did took a break in career and doing some other stuff for a year or two. Should they use there old professional work in there reel or should they mix it with some personal work?
Renat Mansurov
Thank You.
Thank you Allan, you're amazing
Sachin Sendre
You making all phenomenon workflow and videos. Soo happy to see you. You are fabulous 3d artist and i am also become like you sir. Sir how you get job in hollywood sir? I am soo excited to know the answer sir please give answer sir.And i am fan of you sir. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Parth Prajapati
Again very nice video too clear our mind too make demo reel Thank you so much....
Great video as always! About the background, also the library you had was pretty good
Thank you Allan, you're amazing, also I appreciate the way you talk, easy to understand for non English speakers, best :)
Paul Harrison
Lots of good info and insightful - thanks Allan!
You should show us your portfolio : )