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How Animators Can Pick the Best Demo Reel Music

ben marvazi 2020

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"With the right choice of demo reel music, visuals come alive, dancing in harmony with melodies and creating an enchanting narrative."

Mark Johnson

Imagine a world devoid of music—it's hard to picture, isn't it? Music is an integral part of our lives, transcending beyond mere entertainment. It has the unique ability to stir emotions, inspire actions, and create unforgettable memories. In the world of animation, the importance of music becomes even more profound. 

The perfect demo reel music can be a game-changer for any aspiring animator's career trajectory. As vital as the animations themselves, the music you choose can set the tone for your demo reel, showcasing not just your animation skills but also your storytelling acumen.

Choosing the right demo reel music can be a daunting task, akin to finding the perfect color palette for a work of art. This blog post aims to alleviate that stress by guiding you through the process of choosing the perfect soundtrack that resonates with your creative vision and enhances your animation reel.

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Striking the Perfect Chord - The Role of Demo Reel Music in Animation

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GIF by Maria Tran via GIPHY

The Power of Music in Animation

Choosing the right "demo reel music" is not a task to be taken lightly. It is a pivotal part of your animation, driving the narrative, setting the pace, and infusing life into your visual artistry. 

Just as a skilled composer creates a symphony, a well-chosen piece of music can harmonize with your animation, enhancing the emotional impact, amplifying the storytelling, and captivating the audience from the first frame to the last.

A powerful piece of music can be a defining factor, helping you stand out in a crowded marketplace. It can transform an excellent animation reel into an unforgettable one, leaving an indelible impression on your viewers. Your choice of music can make the difference between securing that dream project or fading into obscurity.

Music as a Reflection of Your Creativity and Skills

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GIF by Sennheiser via GIPHY

Your choice of demo reel music does more than provide a melodic backdrop to your animations—it's an extension of your creative prowess, a reflection of your artistic judgment, and a testament to your understanding of the intricate relationship between sound and visuals. 

It showcases your ability to select and synchronize a piece of music that perfectly aligns with the tone, pace, and emotion of your animations.

In essence, the right demo reel music can add depth to your animation reel, echoing your visual storytelling and highlighting your creativity. In the competitive world of animation, where every detail counts, your choice of music can be the differentiating factor that sets your demo reel apart.

Techniques to Choose the Perfect Demo Reel Music

Navigating the vast world of music to find that perfect track for your demo reel might seem like searching for a needle in a haystack. But with a bit of guidance and some trial and error, you can master this art. Here are some techniques to help you make the right choice:

1. Understanding the Tone of Your Animation

a girl listening to happy demo reel music with her headphones whilst walking with a big smile on her face and she is moving her head from side to side

GIF by Tony Babel via GIPHY

Every animation tells a story, and each story has a unique tone. Your first task in choosing the right demo reel music is to understand this tone. Is your animation a fast-paced action sequence, a light-hearted comedy, or a poignant, emotional narrative? The tone will dictate the type of music that suits your animation.

Choosing music that contradicts your animation's tone can create a jarring experience for your viewers. On the other hand, a well-chosen piece of music that complements your animation's tone can create a harmonious viewing experience, enhancing the emotional impact and reinforcing your storytelling.

2. Aligning Your Music with Your Target Audience

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GIF by South Park via GIPHY

Understanding your target audience is crucial in any creative endeavor, and selecting your demo reel music is no exception. Your audience's preferences can play a significant role in determining the success of your demo reel. 

For instance, if you're seeking a job in a corporate animation studio, consider a soundtrack that would resonate with that demographic. Conversely, if your target audience is an indie game developer or a young, hip advertising agency, a more contemporary, innovative soundtrack might be a better fit.

In essence, knowing your audience's musical tastes and preferences can provide you with valuable insights to guide your choice of demo reel music, helping you strike a chord with your viewers and enhance the overall appeal of your animation reel.

3. Experimenting and Iterating

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Choosing the right demo reel music often involves a process of experimentation and iteration. It's about trying different music genres, styles, and rhythms to find the one that best enhances your animation. So, don't shy away from stepping outside your comfort zone.

Experiment with various soundtracks, test how they work with your animations, and observe the effects. You might surprise yourself by discovering that a genre of music you hadn't considered before is the perfect fit for your work.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to choosing the right demo reel music. It's about finding a balance, a harmonious blend between the visual and auditory experience that enhances the impact of your animation.

The Do's and Don'ts of Demo Reel Music

While we've covered the importance of choosing the right demo reel music and the techniques involved, it's equally important to understand the do's and don'ts when selecting the music for your demo reel.


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Match the Pace

Your "demo reel music" should match the pace of your animation. An up-tempo track may not suit a slow, dramatic scene and vice versa. Pay attention to the rhythm and speed of your animation, and try to match your music accordingly.

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Consider the Emotion

a girl with pink hair leaning on her hand and listening to demo reel music through her radio with tears in her eyes

GIF Lisa Vertudaches via GIPHY

Music has the power to stir emotions. Always consider the emotion you want your audience to feel when watching your animation. Is it joy, sadness, suspense, or excitement? Use your music to amplify these emotions and make your animation more engaging.

Be Original

While it's tempting to use popular songs, it may distract your audience or even lead to copyright issues. Try to use original or royalty-free music. This also gives you a chance to showcase your creativity and originality.


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GIF by Lazy Corgi via GIPHY

Avoid Lyrics

Lyrics can be distracting and may take away from the visual experience of your animation. It's usually best to opt for instrumental music for your demo reel. If you do use a track with lyrics, ensure they don't overshadow your animation.

Don’t Make it Too Loud

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GIF by Partiful via GIPHY

While your music is important, it should not overpower your visuals. Always ensure the music is balanced with the visuals and doesn’t distract from your animation.

Don’t Forget the Transitions

If your demo reel contains different scenes, make sure the music transitions smoothly. Abrupt changes in music can be jarring and disrupt the flow of your animation.

Amplify Your Success with the Perfect Demo Reel Music

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GIF by Kochstrasse™ via GIPHY

Mastering the art of selecting the perfect demo reel music is an invaluable skill for every animator. The music you choose has the power to define your work, capture your audience's attention, and enhance the emotional resonance of your animation. It's about striking the right note and choosing a soundtrack that echoes your creative vision and harmonizes with your animation.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of facets to manage as an animator, don't worry—you're not alone. The Animation Business Accelerator program is designed to help you navigate these challenges. 

With a wide range of resources, including on-demand video lessons, templates, live mentorship calls, and a supportive community, the program can equip you with the necessary skills to succeed in your animation career. For more insights, don't forget to check out our blog on "How to Start an Animation Studio"!

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