Demo reels can be tricky things. Everything about what we do as artists is subjective; not everything you do will please everyone. And, putting together a demo reel not only involves your visual elements, but the auditory ones as well. I never used to be a fan of music on a demo reel. I was happy just letting my dialog shots (and any incedental music that might be behind the dialog) carry the sound portion of my reel. I had seen too many demo reels with, what I felt, was 'cheesy' music that didn't help the flow of the reel at all, but rather hindered it. So, I figured, it's just safer to leave the music off.
Well for anyone that may have seen my reel lately, you will notice that I finally made the leap and put music on my reel. What changed my mind? Well, I was looking at my reel, and because of the length and variety of shots contained on it, I didn't feel like it flowed as nicely as it did when it was shorter and I had only animated a few things. I looked at my collegues reels and saw how proper music can tie together your shots. Now again, this is all subjective, but I tried to pick music that was upbeat and not overly distracting to the animation, and above all that didn't drown out my dialog shots.
I think music on a demo (show) reel is a matter of taste. I am not an expert in this field, but from what I have seen in my professional experience bad music can take away from great animation, and good music can help disjointed shots flow together seamlessly (like in movie trailers for example).
I would simply ask around and find out if your friends or collegues like the music you have selected, get some feedback and then use that to help you make your decision.
Guest Blogger Keith Sintay