Welcome! My name is Alan Shisko, and I'm a freelance motion graphics artist working out of Toronto, Canada. I've been very lucky in my career to have had many inspiring teachers, and decided to start this blog to give back to the community that has enriched me both technically and aesthetically. Perhaps my words and images will inspire you to do the same! If you wish, take a minute to view my demo reel at Shisko.com, or view a comprehensive gallery of my past work Here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Package

I got an email from a student the other day with the subject line, "How to Make A Demo Reel?". It's certainly a valid question, repeated ad nauseum in forums the world over, because the demo reel is seen as the essential calling card in our industry. My answer, as always, was... "Only put your best stuff in it. Keep it short (less than 2 minutes)." That's really about all there is to it!

I then thought a little bit more about her intention. If one is putting together a demo reel, then obviously one is in the process of seeking employment, whether it's full-time or on a freelance basis. And if that's what you're after, a good demo reel isn't all you need. You need A Package.

When you're hunting for the gigs, you'll need all of the following at a minumum: A demo reel (DVD and online versions), business cards, letterhead (with at least a cover letter template and resumé), and a website. And here's the key: You're a creative person in a creative industry, so it ALL has to look good!

So design a logo. Author your DVD Reel. Make a website. Create your letterhead and have a printing house print your business cards (avoid doing it yourself on your inkjet!), and do it all with flair and style. Package the hard-copy stuff in attention-getting folders so you'll go to the top of the pile. Use the same look consistently across all media. I noticed an online ad for an available position, and the employer had written that "... any DVD's submitted with your name written on it using a sharpie will be thrown out". So drop $149 on an HP, Canon or Epson that prints directly onto inkjet-printable DVD's.

The image at the top of this post shows the 'hard copy package' that I might drop off to clients, including cover letter, resumé, business card and DVD with reel. You might want to travel lightly, though, and so here's the 'Standalone' DVD reel with business card in a simple, catchy clamshell case. Contact your local consumables dealer to see what interesting case options they offer, and avoid the easily-breakable jewel cases like the plague!

Create some letterhead and use it on all correspondence, including your cover letter, resumé and, perhaps, a 'testimonials' sheet. I'd personally suggest designing it in a page layout app such as Quark or Indesign so that you can export as a PDF when applying for jobs electronically. Why? Because everyone has Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, but not everyone has MS Word.

And finally, tie it all together with your website. Keep the look consistent across all media, make it look great, and you're sure to get that second glance that puts you before all others.


GRISI said...

really helpfull!!
thanks once again!

Stuart Reid said...

On it's own, the picture of your business card inserted in a clamshell case was reason enough for me to read the whole article! I can't believe I haven't seen that before, or thought of it for myself. Many thanks for posting, Stuart