“Shit Showreels Say” Tells A Lot About Your Reel & Motion Graphic Trends

‘Shit Showreels Say’ tells a lot about motion graphic trends and your reel.

Does your motion graphics reel have a spinny Earth, unnecessary whooshy 2D graphics and a smartphone that kind of looks like an iPhone but really isn’t?

“Shit Showreels Say” creator, Peter Quinn, kindly mocks popular styles of animations. If you ask me, I think many of these styles are alive and well. However, he does make a point about how quickly animation styles come and go.

Peter-Quinn-Shit-Showreel-Say

Art Director, Peter Quinn – It takes a lot to knock his socks off.


It reminds me a lot of the Portlandia sketch “Over.” It seems like the minute you find something new, everyone jumps on that style, and it’s over. It’s hard to savor any one style.

I spoke with Peter Quinn about his hit viral video. He talks about what you should do to your reel, to land your next gig.

Peter Quinn - Shit Showreels Say

Ironically, “Shit Showreels Say” is a legitimately good showreel.

I suppose it started as a normal showreel and ended up a different project.

When I started putting a showreel together, I wanted to put in different things I’ve done: 3D, motion tracking, whatever. Sooner or later, I was like, “This is starting to look like a reel I just watched this morning.” I started thinking, “Is there something else I can do?”

In comedy, you have to talk about the elephant in the room. Is that why you chose this title?

My working title for this was “Showreel Tropes.” It was a really boring title. Then, I thought, it would be really funny if I called it, “Shit Showreels Say.” Even before you press play, you get that it’s a joke.

When I first put out, “Shit Showreels Say,” 99% of the people loved it and thought it was great. Some people, were like, what does he mean? They got a really negative vibe. It’s coming from a good place. It’s meant well.

Motion graphic designers are so good these days, a lot of people’s work gets lost.

“More often than not, there’s something about a reel that makes me say, ‘Really?'”

None of the shots in this video are like, “Wow! Holy shit, did you see that?” I’m the guy who receives showreels at Blink. If we have a project in mind, I need to look at the reel and say, “This guy can do what we need.”

More often than not, there’s something about a reel that makes me say, “Really?” Somebody will do some really nasty compositing or they do really good 2D but they probably should keep working on their 3D. You start getting good at reading reels. I know you’re trying something but it doesn’t impress me. Because, I know where you got that. I’ve seen all the tutorials.

Someone once told me, you’re always going to be judged by the weakest piece in your portfolio.

You can have this pretty good reel then you add this really bad shot. Really? You could have cut that out and had a tighter reel. I might have called you back.

Do you ever give these guys feedback on their reels?

I don’t reply and say, “You’re shit. I don’t want to talk to you.” I just talked to a guy the other day, I gave him some constructive feedback. I said, “Do me a favor, if you work on one thing, work on using the graph editor in After Effects. Because I can see you’re using a lot of default, easy ease keyframes and you can really smooth out all that stuff. I genuinely want to help them get better.

What do you think is the next big trendy style?

Greyscale Gorilla is a great resource. A symptom of that success, is that you’re going to get a lot of people to use those styles, and you see a lot of it.

You know that tutorial on Videocopilot where the guy runs out and gets hit by a car? You use the puppet tool to bend the guy. There are so many of those. Or the one where the guy blows his own head off and you do a background replacement.

It’s not wrong, it’s just popular. If all of a sudden wearing yellow clothes becomes really popular, you’re going to say, I’ve seen a lot of yellow clothes.

In terms of what’s going to be next, it depends on what’s available right now that you can do cool stuff with. It also depends on who is the tutorial master of the day. That’s what’s going to be popular. Right now, I see Plexus being pretty popular.

Peter Quinn Names "Plexus" The Next Big Trend, Like In This Video About WikiLeaks

What makes you roll your eyes when you watch a reel?

“I get it, you’re proud you completed your task and your mom says, “Well done.” But, you can’t put that on your reel.”

That’s an easy answer – direct use of tutorials without modifications. If you have something in your reel that’s directly taken from a tutorials or if you’re using a downloaded project files – that’s bad. If you buy a model airplane, you just put it together. You didn’t design it. I get it, you’re proud you completed your task and your mom says, “Well done.” But, you can’t put that on your reel.

I think a showreel should say something about you. I think a showreel shows what these hands have created. It needs to show what you’re capable of doing. You have to be capable of coming up with your own stuff.

You didn’t include the little bathroom people, or the silhouette people from istock.

How about the people doing the fake interface, like in Minority Report? I’m controlling things with my hands. Or the world is an iPad – Swipe, swipe.

As the president and CEO of Creativebabble, you can come on my site anytime you want and declare when we’re done with a trend. Pack it up people.

It’s a bit irritating because, as a motion guy, a trend starts to get old and you just finally learned that technique. It’s hard to stay current.

It’s probably more relevant if I called it, “Shit Your Reel Say 2014” because it’s going to be different in 2015.

The truth is, clients love this shit. It may be old to you and me but new to them. We all strive to be original, however, most of us can count on one finger the number of true original things we’ve created. The trick is to be inspired and to make these trends your own.

So, now I turn it over to you. Have you created something truly original? Can you spot the next trend? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to hear all about it.

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