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doctorj

Reel & Site Critique

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Hello All,

 

I have just graduated school and have been searching high and low for employment. So with no luck so far I feel it time to re-evaluate my work and site to see what improvements I can make to improve my chances. So I am asking for your guys professional opinion on what you think works and doesn't work. I want my focus to be video production and motion graphics, but have tried to create a portfolio that shows off a well rounded designer. Again any help is always appreciated and I know that you guys always have great advice from my experience reading this forum.

 

Direct link to higher quality demo reel:

 

www.grandnationaldesign.com/Lietz_Demo.mov

 

My portfolio site:

 

www.grandnationaldesign.com

 

Thank You for your time.

 

James

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just some tips on the site- the flash didn't automatically start on my computer in firefox or safari. once i right clicked and hit play it worked but was buggy and choppy. also all of the motion on your videos looked choppy. doubt its my computer, running a MBP. in my opinion having background music on a site is cheesy and automatically turns me off.

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Ummm.... "reconded with"? Attitude aside, typos show a lack of.. well... spelling ability obviously. But also a lack of attention to detail. The paragraph reads like "I am so fucking awesome", which just isn't true. It's great to have faith and enthusiasm in your field, but don't blow sunshine up our asses. We can see for ourselves where your skill is, and you aren't Anders Schroeder just yet. A humble attitude and a pretty good reel is 100X more likely to land a job than a pretty good reel with a "I'm all that and a bag of chips" approach. It shows that you aren't seeing the shortcomings of where you are in the process of developing as a designer, and that would concern me.

 

Overall, the work seems fairly decent for a recent grad. You'll find some rockstar grads with better reels, and some slackers with lesser reels. So, this puts you in the middle, maybe just above average. But, also remember... most student reels are really, really bad.

 

So, the question is... what's going to give you the edge in landing a job? There's a lot of competition out there. Consider: attitude, communication skill, outward appearance.. not just how you look, but how you carry yourself, how you meet and greet, how you interview, etc. Studios and design boutiques are fickle places that get tons of awkward requests for interns and jr designer positions. It doesn't take much to get on the shitlist of "don't call this guy": badly designed resume, bad cover letter, TYPOS, an awkward phone call, wearing a bad choice of outfit when you show up, etc. How you present yourself is just as important as your reel.

 

Also, If you've got something else that isn't arrows, graffiti and paint splatters, the reel could use a touch more diversity. And I think the first clip is weak. I'd suggest putting the Rockstar piece first and using a shorter excerpt of the BMX freestyle thing.

 

Thanks for listening. Just keeping it real.

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Snap! Mr. Frank goes hard. He's probably right on everything he said too.

 

My two cents...

1. Keep at it. Finding work is hard for almost everyone right now. Don't be discouraged.

2. I love The Dirtbombs on your reel.

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Sorry.. and it's not meant to sound prickish or anything. It's meant to be constructive and honest. And if I am off-base, I am cool with getting slapped on the hand, too.

 

Also, I only got 2 hours of sleep last night.

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I would second graymachine's idea to put the Rockstar project first, and I would suggest killing the gray spray paint stuff that comes 2nd (or at least up until the point when the cityscape and lights come on...that part went with the music pretty well). The music at the end of the reel should also do more than just a slower fade out.

 

I like the design of your site, but turn down the site music. Good luck!

Edited by jblessing

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i agree with gray. we don't really need a paragraph of what you think you are. Just something short and nice - "thanks for visiting my site, i hope you enjoy my work.. etc.. "

 

sometimes a limited portfolio will work to your advantage. Only show the strongest stuff you have. the site is not bad.. a little stock-ish, but i would take out the music if I were you.

 

all and all your reel isn't bad, but like gray had said, presentation, interviews, phonecalls.. etc. all play a big part.

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Thank You

 

This great feedback is what I am looking for. I really appreciate everyones response and feel that all these things will help me. I am thinking of just going with a simple HTML/CSS site that is free of all the bells and whistles.

 

I am disappointed that my contact paragraph has such a strong negative feel because if anyone met me they would know I am very humble about my work and always know there is room for improvement.

 

Well you Live and Learn and Live some more.

 

Improvements on the way.

 

Thank you

 

James

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What's been said should be paid attention to, for sure. To sidestep all of the nitpicking, though, here's a simple one-step method to circumvent most of the problems with your site: just show the work. Just show it. I'll second or third the idea that the only thing that matters to anyone (pre-interview) is whatever they'll glean from your work. When you get better at design, and you can package the work in a compelling way, then making your site more of a piece of work in itself will be valuable to you. For now, make it nice, but moreso make it transparent.

 

I say this because your understanding of design is still in its infancy, so you should probably let potential employers judge for themselves how you're going to be of value to them (instead of force-feeding through a junked-up site). If your site is transparent (figuratively), they'll be more willing to see your skills in whatever light they need to, raising your chances for employment. So make the site simple, and get it out of the way of seeing the work. And in the meantime, start boning up REAL hard on those skills, cuz the market is flooding with talent. Time to kick some ass.

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What's been said should be paid attention to, for sure. To sidestep all of the nitpicking, though, here's a simple one-step method to circumvent most of the problems with your site: just show the work. Just show it. I'll second or third the idea that the only thing that matters to anyone (pre-interview) is whatever they'll glean from your work. When you get better at design, and you can package the work in a compelling way, then making your site more of a piece of work in itself will be valuable to you. For now, make it nice, but moreso make it transparent.

 

I say this because your understanding of design is still in its infancy, so you should probably let potential employers judge for themselves how you're going to be of value to them (instead of force-feeding through a junked-up site). If your site is transparent (figuratively), they'll be more willing to see your skills in whatever light they need to, raising your chances for employment. So make the site simple, and get it out of the way of seeing the work. And in the meantime, start boning up REAL hard on those skills, cuz the market is flooding with talent. Time to kick some ass.

 

This says what I tried to say so much better.

 

Although it can pay to come down hard when someone is really off course, I provided little motivation in my statement. I've got no reason to turn into a pretentious prick. As a forum moderator and former teacher, I should know better. My poorly executed point was, if that is your reel and you aren't having any luck, it is probably due to other factors, seen or unseen. What I inferred from your site was an attitude that would turn off many a potential employer. Couple that with some awkward web packaging, the negative factors that are conspiring against you begin to pile up. And although you dig the grungey flourish look, like I mentioned, the reel could use more diversity. As a designer, things should have your own personal stamp of personality on them. You've got a lot of generic flavor-of-the-month work in there. We all do jobs with grunge and flourishes. But the challenge in that is how to place your own stamp of originality.

 

So, I agree.. keep it simple, clean and present your portfolio as it is. It's not that bad of a reel, and I can see you getting much better. And I hope that, as you progress, that you keep us updated on things.

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No need to back down, all of those points were totally valid. His opening paragraph is muddy and a little haughty at the same time, the spelling errors are lazy, and that doesn't project well at all over work that's 100% mid-range-student. There was just an open opportunity to distill all of the comments into a seemingly simple solution.

 

If there is a King of Cranky Crits, I rightfully bear the weight of that crown. :D

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