AICP - 2016 Reel

Motion Graphics reel from Method Design presents motion captured dancers in various renderings, notable for some impressive realistic physics:

Method Design was tapped by production company RSA to concept and create this year’s sponsor reel for AICP at the MoMA The AICP awards celebrate global creativity within commercial production. Method Design wanted to create an entertaining piece of design that encapsulates the innovative and prolific nature of this industry. Our aim was to showcase the AICP sponsors as various dancing avatars which playfully reference the visual effects used throughout production. Motion capture, procedural animation and dynamic simulations combine to create a milieu of iconic pop dance moves that become an explosion of colorful fur, feathers, particles and more. 

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Tyler talking about twenty one pilots in 2011
  • Tyler talking about twenty one pilots in 2011
  • The Graphic Sound with Brandon Rike 012 - w Mark Eshleman

“We’re really… small. We’re so insignificant, as a band, right now…. This band, twenty one pilots, is gonna be a grassroots type of band. I’m ready to start it up from nothing, try to stay completely in control of it for as long as possible. And because we’re doing that, we’re nothing. We’re a little, nothing band right now.”  x

How To Make A Killer Demo

I get a lot of demo reel submissions from a lot of people on a daily basis.  Some demos are amazing that really showcase the artists ability.  Other reels are less than stellar.  Even when an artist has a lot of capabilities, the work they showcase often gets overlooked due to poor presentation or really bad music choices.  

When it comes to demo reels, I think it’s important to understand what a demo reel and - subsequently - what your role as an animator actually is.

You, the animator, are more or less an actor with a pencil.  Your demo reel is your audition tape.  When you submit to a studio to work, what you show in your reel is what they’re going to cast you for.  Are you an action hero, detective, or villain?  Do you mostly star in indie films or blockbusters?  Are you a lead role or are you an extra?  It gives you something to think about, doesn’t it?

I mean, it’s not really all that different.  The kind of work showcase to a studio or present on your website is the kind of work that you’ll end up doing the most.  Do a lot of independent work or commercials or tv?  What you share is what you bare and that’s what we should take into consideration.  

So here’s what I think makes a killer demo:

  1. Presentation.  It’s not just what’s on the reel, it’s how you share it.  Keep your website neat and the focus on just the content.  Anything else is just distracting.
  2. Music.  This is a gray part for many people.  Personally speaking, I turn the sound off when reviewing reels.  The latest anime track or some Django (as much as I appreciate the music) is typical and lame.  If you are going to have music, make your own.  Or better yet, just leave it out.
  3. Labels.  Animation is a collaborative medium and many people do many parts.  Unless you’re doing everything, it’s a good practice to include a label on your reel that says which production you worked on and what you did.  This helps when you’re applying for a certain role because it’ll let the reviewer know what to watch for.  Back in the day, people sent a reel breakdown.  But we live in a fast pace world.  The quicker, the better.
  4. Put your best work.  This is your selling point.  This is how you get the call back. Look at your work, does it look like something that would fit the studio you’re applying for?  Are you meeting the bare minimum of some of the people that already work there?  If you can’t answer “Yes,” to those two questions, go back and get that reel together.
  5. Structure.  Simple as it may sound, the order in which you showcase work is just as important as what you show and how you show it.  Info goes at the front, your BEST work at the beginning, your GOOD work in the middle, your BEST work again at the end, and your contact info.  
  6. Length.  Keep it between 60 to 90 seconds max.  Trust me, as a person who’s reviewed over 2,000 plus demo reels over the last 5 months, the shorter the better.

The last thing that I think is just as important is the follow up.  Follow up, follow up, follow up.

You’ve got a solid reel with awesome work.  You send it out.  You wait for a response.  A week goes by, then a month, then half a year.  Look, studios get real busy, real quick.  If you’re sending stuff via email, it’s vital that you set a schedule follow up, that contains your demo reel link, so you can stay in their inbox.  

You have to be considerate and professional.  People are busy and if they haven’t gotten to you it’s not personal.  Don’t sound needy or desperate.  Stay cool and keep at it.  

The longer you stay at it, the better the chances.  

Hope this helps.




2016 Motion Design Reel. All visual work by Aspen Excel.
Music: Mat Zo feat. I See MONSTAS - Sinful


For the month of April I focused on using After Effects for motion design. Here is a compilation reel of all of the work. Enjoy!