The never ending quest for the perfect reel

As we’ve talked about many times before, cutting a good reel is an art form in itself. In the world of editing, there are people who literally specialize in just that.

The constant quest to display your best work and reinvent the format in how you do so is seemingly never-ending. From more traditional reels like Allen Laseter’s amazing new addition. To the more unconventional, as we shared earlier this year from Block & Tackle.

Emory Allen, of Foreign Fauna and Motion504, recently decided to throw his hat into the ring and cut a new reel, and the results are amazing!

Similar to what you’d expect, the reel consists of some terrific work that accurately showcases Emory’s style and voice. But where this reel differs greatly from the rest of the pack is how he’s presenting the work. Sharing notes with Block & Tackle and how they approached the frame itself, Emory shatters the expectation that animation has to live in a single square or rectangle. At time doing so be create a graphic tapestry of the work, and at others, breaking the frame entierly and having the clip move as freely through the frame as the animation itself.

As Jordan Scott put it:

The following is a quick Q&A with Emory on the current role of the reel and what he hoped to achieve in cutting a new one.

First, I love the new reel and feel it brings a really fresh perspective to the table. Can you tell us what your thoughts were when making it?

Alicia (my magnificent other) and I help run an arts organization called Nice Moves and we recently put out a call to the community to cut new reels for 2019. Cutting a new reel is one of those things that everyone wants to do, but it somehow always stays at the bottom of the priority list. So we gave people an excuse to finally cross that one off of their to-do’s.

Because I’m very happy with my current job, this was a great chance to take some risks with how I presented my work. The biggest goal was to create a fun way to show all these square looping things I had made over the years.

The role of the reel has shifted a lot over the years, looking at today’s climate with Instagram, Twitter, and personal websites. What do you think the role or benefit of a reel is now?

I see it as the difference between watching a movie while you’re working and going to the movie theater. Social media, in general, is something I look at when I’m waiting for something else. It’s just background noise to fill the silence. But when I watch a reel, I’m there for the reel. It’s a chance to have a captive audience for 1 to 2 minutes.

Looking toward the future, what’s next for you and Foreign Fauna?

Since we joined up with Motion504 at the beginning of the year, Foreign Fauna is our home for independent animation. Alicia and I each have short films in the works. We’re also working on turning Nice Moves into a legit nonprofit organization.

About the author

Joe Donaldson

Joe Donaldson is a director, designer, and animator who worked on Motionograpgher from 2014-2020. Previously, he was an art director at Buck. Over the past decade, he's lived and worked in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles and has directed work for clients such as Apple, Google, Instagram, The New York Times, Unicef, Etsy, and The New Yorker. In addition to his creative work, in 2018 he started Holdframe. He's now working as a professor at Ringling College of Art and Design and when not teaching he can be found spending time with his family or out running.