Speaker Notes

Glenda Martin

Glenda Martin, the Career Development Consultant in Ulster University, gave a talk about CVs, Cover Letter and employability in general. Glenda is based in the Career development centre on the second floor of the library. Glenda talked about the Career development centre and the various ways it can help, including:

  • Career Management Modules
  • Employer Events/Talks
  • Information, Advice and Guidance
  • Online Tools and Resources (‘My Career’ section of the UU portal)
  • Career Masterclasses programme with employer insights.

Top 10 Desirable skills for employment:

  1. Commercial awareness
  2. Communication
  3. Teamwork
  4. Confidence
  5. Problem Solving
  6. Attention to detail and accuracy
  7. Organisation
  8. Motivation and Perseverance
  9. Ability to cope with pressure
  10. Negotiation and persuasion

Application Forms:

Ensuring that your Skills, Abilities, Knowledge and Experience (SAKE) fit the person or job’s specification is vital to a good application form.

It is important to research the company, its mission statement, markets, products, expansions, development and values.

The form should be filled in as instructed and thoroughly checked for spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes (possibly by another person). It is important to keep a spare copy of the form to read it before the interview.

USP (Unique Selling Point)

Identify three things about yourself that make you the best candidate for the job.



When writing a CV it is important to list your skills in such a way that they are applicable for the job in question. It can be helpful to provide evidence of these skills.

The CV should be presented in a logical order, in a layout and design appropriate to the role you are applying for. You should sell yourself using positive verbs with the most prevailing, powerful words to the left hand side.

What to include in your CV:

  • Personal details
  • Skill profile
  • Career Objective
  • Achievements
  • Interests
  • Education
  • Employment history
  • Referees


In an interview, it is important to be positive, show enthusiasm and smile, and to allow the interviewer to easily obtain information.

When answering Interview Questions, find a suitable scenario from your own experiences which reflects the key skills being asked for. The STAR mnemonic is helpful in these questions:

  • Situation – What was the situation?
  • Task – What did you do?
  • Action – How did you complete the task? What steps were taken?
  • Result – What was the outcome?


In an interview, impressions are as important as what you say. It has been said that only 7% of the interview is decided by your words, 38% by your tone of voice and 55% by your body language. It is important to ask a question at the end of any interview, such as “Are there opportunities for an employee to grow within your company?”

Laura Livingstone (Ntropic)

This week we had a talk with producer Laura Livingstone from Ntropic. This talk was useful with regards getting a job in the Animation and VFX industry.

  • You need to be receptive to feedback and its context, and to understand the director’s main goal.
  • Be versatile, learn different types of software and their advantages and disadvantages and keep up with the industry trends.
  • Do only what is asked for by the client

James Baker (Pixar)

James Baker is a freelance story and visual development artist who has worked on an impressive line-up of projects including Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, The Boxtrolls and Inside Out.

This was our first time talking to a story artist, and he talked from a different perspective than an animator or digital effect artist. James had a fun story from his time working on Finding Nemo about how one of his proxy voices for the crab in in Finding Nemo was left in the finished movie.

Karin Cooper (ILM)

Karin Cooper is a creature supervisor from Industrial Light and Magic who recently helped to create the bear from The Revenant. I was very excited to hear this talk as I had just watched The Revenant at the cinema the previous day. Most of Karin’s talk was about her career and experiences, from her beginnings to where she is now. Many of the questions asked were directed towards technical facts about The Revenant



Gavin Moran (Epic Games)

Gavin Moran is a senior animator at Epic Games and director of A Boy and his Kite, an Unreal Engine 4 tech demo, the link to which is below


He explained that the Unreal engine makes it possible to create scenes of this visual quality without spending countless hours rendering. I was shocked that this was possible.

Gerard Dunleavy (MPC)

Gerard Dunleavy is a graduate of the Animation Masters course currently working in London for MPC. Gerard’s award-winning Masters showreel is shown above. which was the winning entry for International CG Student of the year 2012.

Gerard talked about his experiences in the industry, from starting his course to his current position.

Niall Carlin (DoubleJump Studios)

Niall Carlin is the director of DoubleJump Studios. As a self-employed animator it was interesting to see what his approach to the industry is.

A major phrase that Niall used in the talk was “Don’t ask how, ask why!”. He went on to explain that asking how something done will only get you the technical know-how needed to replicate it, but by asking why you can learn a lot more about the artist’s intentions behind this approach.



Show reel is on display straight away as it is the thing that I would less like people to miss

Simple and easy to navigate

Clear samples show the user what expect in each section


Skills on each project are shown in a basic manner


All main details that a company may need

Capture 5

Tags allow the user to shuffle between different animations that I have worked on

Any awards that I have and some info on the animation are displayed in the bottom bar when a tag is clicked on.


In each section there is a list of skills that I have in that field and the range of programs that I can currently use for this.

Show Reel research

From all these examples I have learned many things about making a good show reel, including the basics of how they annotated and how the shorter reels keep the viewer’s attention better.

A good show-reel that does a good job of displaying its great models, although it is far too long.


This reel has an interesting mix of polished models and the models being used in fully rendered production.


Clearly shows the finished work, smooth model and topology. Despite being quite long, it does not linger on any scene so it does not become as tiresome


A basic reel, but it keeps your focus because of its short length. The plain grey background is a good choice as it is not distracting or hard on the eyes like black or white would be


Nice models and animation made more effective by the range of very different creatures that move very distinctly


This reel is much too long for a personal show reel but breaks down the animation and rigs really well.


Its focus on one good rig makes the reel have a sense of continuity, and shows clearly what all the controls do


The work displayed in this show reel varies in quality but the show reel is well paced and short, keeping the viewer’s attention.




CV letter research

Although I have written a CV before I found quickly that an animation CV is a bit different to a standard cv. One of my biggest concerns was what info to put on it and what info to leave out. Here is some of the research that I found more useful.

A little basic but a great guidance video nonetheless. This video is not specific to animation but it is very good at explaining the basics of making a good CV intruding the dos and don’ts


Some good examples on this site, some not so good but it gave me a really good idea of how an animation cv is structured.


this site does not go into much depth but it contains many useful suggestions on dos and don’ts of animation CVs


Some of these designs are very cool and creative but some are tacky and gimmicky. This shows me that it is good to have a visual style but not to go to over the top as that can put people off your entire CV


on this site I found some CVs with great graphic design. It is important to understand what is classy and what is over the top.


Interesting advice for graduating 3D animators that is fairly in depth with the different careers.


A little basic but a great guidance video non the less. This video is not specific to animation but it is very good at explaining the basics of making a good CV intruding the dos and don’ts






Cover letter examples

To be completely honest, until I did this research and sat the class on it, I had no idea what a cover letter was and was completely confused as to what went on the cover letter rather than the CV.  Here are some of the best pieces of research that I found on the topic of cover letters.


Simple and easy to follow it helped me to understand what it is that makes up a cover letter


I found this site to be informative and fairly in-depth. it is very specific to the animation industry so it holds information unique to our field


This one is made up of a large collection of handy tips for making an animation cover letter


Good list of the things that a cover letter must have in It


Simple and easy to follow it helped me to understand what it is that makes up a cover letter





Website research

These types of websites are very basic, but I feel they are surprisingly effective because of how easy it is to find the info that you are after. Clearly showing your work and details is often more important that have a flashy website.
Fun and engrossing, shows all info clearly in a way that cannot be missed. Sadly, does not show many examples of the work that it flaunts, and only has one means of contact. All round, a pretty fun site
Another simple but effective website, clearly shows all the projects that they have worked on and tells us what part of it they created.
A very flowing website with no harsh transitions, despite it being a scrolling website it is never hard to move directly to what you want see from any point of the page
This website has pros and cons. It is not overly professional and is somewhat hard to read, but it shows character and that they are passionate about their work. I don’t think that it’s a great website but there are good points that can be taken from this.
An all-round great website, cool, clear, and easy to use.
This website is so cool and interesting, but still clear and easy to use. Although it is not perfect – there are many buttons and links that do not work, and on some of the longer pages there is no way of scrolling down. These problems show that it is possible for even a very professional website to have foolish points