Discover how sharing your animation with others can be beneficial at any stage of your journey.
One thing that I’d always encourage animators to do, whatever stage they’re at on their journey, is to share their work.
At the earliest stages of learning animation, this may simply take the form of sharing what you are making with friends and family.
Often our first attempts our not the strongest but friends and family are still likely to be sufficiently impressed, or at least polite enough, that their comments are likely to be motivating.
Once you are past learning the basics, however, I would encourage you to start sharing your work with the wider world.
For some, this may come naturally, especially with everyone sharing their lives on social media, but for others it can seem daunting to put your work online.
You may feel that what you have to share isn’t good enough but, as I’ve mentioned previously, seeking critique and applying the feedback, without taking it personally, is important to help you learn and grow.
Beware the trap, however, of associating social media “likes” with any sort of meaningful feedback on the quality of your work. Just as a lack of likes can be demoralising, too many can give us an overinflated sense of the quality of the work and leave us chasing likes rather than seeking the quality feedback that we need.
Seeking feedback in dedicated, and supportive, animation communities can often be more productive than simply joining the masses on social media.
If you have your sights set upon making animation your career, sooner or later you’ll need to start showing your work to studios.
This is where the animation showreel, or demo reel, comes in. This will be a compilation of your strongest work and should be updated frequently as your skills improve.
When it comes to sharing your reel online, I would highly recommend that you avoid using YouTube and instead post it on Vimeo.
Nobody reviewing reels ever wants to receive a link to YouTube. This inevitably means being forced to sit through or skip adverts before your reel can be viewed. You will be off to a bad start before they’ve even seen your opening shot.
Vimeo on the other hand does not show adverts and the video quality is also higher. This has made it the standard place for posting showreels.
Even if you don’t think you’re ready to apply to studios yet, as soon as you have enough work for a showreel it is still worth assembling one and posting it online.
This has a number of benefits.
First of all, it will give you a nice overview of where you are and what you still need to work on. You can compare your reel to others and see where it comes up short.
As you update your showreel, keeping copies of your older reels will also give you a nice record of your progress.
If you are ever in a situation where you meet someone who might be able to give feedback on your work, having a showreel ready to go is invaluable.
Finally, when you feel you have enough quality work to start applying to studios, it won’t take much effort to update your existing reel to be ready.
Whilst most jobs will commonly come from submitting your showreel to studios who are hiring, if you share your work online, you never know who might find you.
This is exactly how I got my first break in the industry.
I had sent out my reel to dozens of studios without hearing anything back. Then, out of the blue, I received a phone call from a small studio I had never heard of. They were looking for an animator to work on a TV series and wondered if I’d be interested in interviewing for the role.
I had been sharing some of my work through an animation forum (now closed) that someone at the studio was also active on. They had seen the work I was sharing and felt that it was good enough to give me a shot.
I hadn’t posted the work with the intention that it might lead to a job. I was simply sharing work and asking for feedback in order to improve.
This opportunity would never have come about if I hadn’t decided to share my work.
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