What do employers want to see in your portfolio?

Hi everyone! 
So I've just joined and I'm currently an animation student at university.
my question for you is what do employers actually look for in a portfolio? 
I've heard a lot of different things from tutors and people online so I just want your opinions.
thank you! 
Dan Coates on August 11 at 10:29 AM in Jobs /Career guidance
2 Answer(s)
Best answer
Hey Dan, welcome to Animatedbuzz!  Hopefully this question accumulates many different answers from a range of experiences and perspectives.
So I think this depends on what specifically you want to do for a career. I can speak for CG/2d character animation since that is what I have experience with.  
For a character animation portfolio, the most important thing is always to make a great impression. Often times that means putting your best work in, and your mediocre work out.  Sometimes we get the impression that putting absolutely everything we've ever animated into a portfolio communicates something good, that perhaps we are very productive.  but I think most studios will appreciate a shorter, high quality reel that gets to the point.  We can tell right away if an animator has a skill set that will yield high quality productivity in a studio.  So this means that all you need is probably a minute of character animation in your reel that demonstrates your ability to create believable, sincere, entertaining performances.  
So to sum it up, they will look at acting, ideas, and your understanding of mechanics, which means the quality of your character's movement in relation to weight, balance, pose, etc.  Also, they will look at how well you can design poses.  Pose appeal is especially critical at Disney.  So a drawing background or just a general design sense can come in handy for crafting appealing poses.  Idea generation is also critical.  This means that you need to showcase your storytelling skills. Setting up interesting and entertaining gags/jokes will be a great asset for any studio.  But you need to demonstrate that you can do this clearly and in an interesting way.  
On Animatedbuzz, you will have access to Coaches who work in the animation industry.  You can consult them on works in progress, or any demo reel you might want to submit to a studio.  So you will be able to get great advice from working professionals for a fee which they set.  Coming very soon!
Hope this helps, good luck!
Mario Furmanczyk on August 11 at 10:52 AM
Thank you thats actually helped me out a lot I was struggling with what I would need to focus on in my assignments to build a decent portfolio, thanks again!
on August 11 at 01:06 PM
I agree with Mario! I've been getting a lot of feedback from professionals within the industry and they always say the same thing, which is exactly what Mario is saying. Also, don't put anything in your reel that isn't exactly your focus. For example, I studied general things such as rigging/modeling/texturing and thought it would be good to put that in my reel. However, it wasn't doing anything for me because I consider myself a character animator and that is all the employer wants to see when applying for a character animator position. If you want to apply for other positions such as a generalist, storyboard artist, etc, you could make a separate reel for each of those. Just keep in mind what you are applying for and gear your reel towards that position. 
Norbert Torok on August 15 at 12:35 PM
@NorbertTorok thank you for your advice! I understand what you're saying, just a follow up though because I too studied rigging/ modelling/ texturing and all that, even though it's not necessary in your show reel is it something to mention you can do? Such as when applying for positions, thanks for the feedback!
on August 15 at 03:17 PM Edited