We look at 6 things when assessing new design or animation candidates:
1) school
2) apps
3) geographical location
4) demo reel
5) demo reel
6) demo reel

Ability, talent, strengths, weaknesses can all be assessed by what we see on a demo reel. There is no better way to be introduced to a potential new workmate.

Then we look at practical issues:
Are they in our area, what software do they know, will they fit in immediately or down the road? Are they interested in contract, freelance or full time employment? What are they like as people? Do they work solo, are they interested in center stage or do they prefer to work in shadowy excellence?

Great demo reels that come our way are kept on file and we respond to candidates if we have openings coming up or to begin a conversation for future possibilities. As a small studio, we are not often hiring. When we do it's usually contract work. Once we have had a chance to assess how we work together, we can sit down and talk about future possibilities.

Regardless of our studios hiring opportunities - the takeaway for anyone seeking employment: your demo reel and body of work is the most important element in self-promotion.
- take time to do present your best work
- include shot breakdowns if possible
- only put on work that you want to get hired to do.
- don't try and make it longer by including lesser work unless there is something of note for the viewer
- if other people were involved in projects, include information on your site or credits making clear the work you were responsible for. (one of the first questions we ask is "what work on this reel is yours?")
- most demos are montages: make available some of your best and most complete pieces separately with brief project description.
- include any information that highlights the challenges and successes of the various work.
- make sure the work reflects your interests. If you want to be in motion graphics but your reel only has character animation... that's a disconnect.
- Include personal work if it shows different artistry and expressiveness that is compelling
- make it clear what your interests are, what you enjoy most and what you believe your best assets are.

Sounds simple enough.

cartoon by B-Kliban