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zachb

Hi guys, need advice on my reel and job search

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Hi guys, I'm a 23 yr old recent graphic design graduate from North Carolina.

 

So basically, I have a new reel, and I'm going to start sending it out to as many studios as possible starting tomorrow morning. The only projects in my reel are side-projects from a few freelance gigs and personal stuff I got over the past year, as I've only really started to get serious about motion design in the past year and a half at most. I know that given enough time I can rock at this stuff, as I believe I have lots of potential, and come from a liberal arts design background where we learn all about color theory, composition, concept-based design, etc. I think knowing this, a studio would see me as a potential asset. I know I can apply all that stuff to the work I do, and grow further. However, what I want to know is, basically, can the reel I have now land me a job to reach that goal?

 

You can view my reel here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/d34spj9

 

(I'd embed it, but I'm a noob and can't figure out how to do it.)

 

Also, I'm compiling a big list of studios to email tomorrow morning. What would your tips for that be? Should I always attach a cover letter? Or do studios just want to see the reel?

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by zachb

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I think lots of people can get jobs with all kinds of reels. The pertinent question is: what kind of jobs are they getting, and where? As someone who's still new to the medium, you're likely going to have to accept junior-type roles whereever you go. But you're right to think that your design background will help you in the long run.

 

"Motion graphics" is a term that encompasses a strangely disparate and surprisingly large set of disciplines. You have experience in some of them, but not most. Your general design skills, as displayed in your print and web work, signal some core competencies that are important, but you have little experience in things like animation, filmmaking, editing, storytelling. Now, that's to be expected, because there's just a fuckload of skills that a really solid "mographer" employs to make an engaging piece of work. Everything from kerning to sculpting (modelling), to character animation principles, to camera rigging, to typographic connotation, to branding, to film pacing, blocking, composition, storytelling, lighting, and hopefully on into expertise in various media and strategies like printmaking, collage, photography, stop-motion, illustration, etc. No one can really be great at ALL of this stuff, so when people say they're in "motion graphics", it usually takes some probing to figure out what their specialties are and what it is exactly that they do. But we're all kind of on this endless journey to understand more, and to to gain greater command of a wider array of disciplines, that we might call upon them to make good stuff at the right times.

 

With that in mind, you can imagine how a studio might see your skillset in the context of their business. There will be studios who simply want someone with some design sensibility to head straight into after effects and pump out a 3-second card by lunch for a local car commercial with the brief that "it has to look shiny". There will also be studios who want someone who can spend five months researching and developing the look, feel, and functionality of an interface for an interactive kiosk. And there will be studios who need a team of people to pitch storyboards for a rebranding campaign for a major tech company. There will be all kinds of studios with all sorts of specialties, needing all manner of things for all types of clients.

 

One way to attack all of this is to, as you're saying, shotgun blast the entire industry with one massive cold call and hope that someone out there is listening and needs someone just like you right at this moment. Or you could figure out which studios and production houses and so forth are really potential matches for you, and appeal to them more personally. Both tactics have worked in the past, for lots of people, but it's important either way to understand that there are a lot of different roles that you may or may not fit into, and that "motion graphics artist" is simply a catch-all term for a bunch of people who may be involved in completely different activities. You'll find your own sinewy path through your career and all of the disciplines you engage along the way.

 

Your reel is ok for a junior reel. I don't know what the job market is like, and I'm sure there's someone else here who can bust out some perspective on hiring at your level. But to get you started, you can always head to mographwiki.net and search for companies by geography to find out who's out there, who's near you, and what they do. Then figure out the name of someone who does the hiring at each place and write a VERY short email to them, including a link to your reel, and that's it. Follow up in a week. Be succinct. Be courteous. Be interested. Your work will do the rest.

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Good lord, Binky- where do you find the time? Your responses are always amazing.

 

I agree - good for a junior reel. My advice is to think about what kind of life you want - you'll have a very different experience in LA than you would in NYC. That should factor into your decision, at least a little. The job market is pretty solid-keep sharpening your 3d chops, do your best to be part of a community of designers, and be kind.

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