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Old 10-23-2013, 09:20 PM   #1
AmbroseMcduffy
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Exclamation Animators & Artist why don't you!?

I've always thought the best thing about living in America is the ability to go out on one's own, and start one's own business rather it be freelance, or teamwork studio driven.

Taking control of one's life, and becoming independent.

My question to the Animators & Artist is this:



  1. Why don't Animators, and Cg artist opt to do freelance, or become more independent.
  2. Why does one opt to go to big studios? is it the money?
  3. If your already an established freelance artist. How is it, and what are the downfalls?
  4. Can we do both?



Please shine some light.




-Ambrose Mcduffy





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Last edited by AmbroseMcduffy : 10-23-2013 at 09:24 PM.
 
Old 10-23-2013, 10:27 PM   #2
balistic
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Until the recent Affordable Care Act, artists with families or health problems were pretty much chained to their staff jobs because the cost of non-group health insurance was so high (or even completely unavailable, depending on the severity of one's medical issues).

This is why entrepreneurism is higher in countries with stronger social safety nets (Sweden, etc).

Going freelance-only is a big risk, unless you could line up a year's worth of work in advance, or your living expenses are very low.
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Last edited by balistic : 10-23-2013 at 11:10 PM.
 
Old 10-23-2013, 11:12 PM   #3
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Healthcare here in the US is a HUGE impediment to striking out on your own. Aside from that, when you start your own company with employees working for you, your job becomes managing those employees and delegating responsibilities, and not whatever you studied in school (unless you studied business!).

People I know who have started their own companies were generally designers, not artists, and they tried to maintain a position as a designer, with varying degrees of success. As for freelance, if you know a way to magically fill your schedule with good clients and still have time to get the actual work done, please let us all know. Again, you will have to deal with so much on the business side that only a portion of your time is left to create work and properly bill for that time. It's a difficult balancing act that requires a LOT of time and energy to manage properly.

Finally, yes, it's very possible to work full time and freelance, but there are issues around doing that, too. Sometimes an employer can restrict you from doing this, and sometimes you have so much work at your "day job" that there just isn't time to take on any more work. I take the occasional freelance job, but only with reputable (usually repeat) clients. I keep them small and manageable, with long lead times and very little drama concerning deadlines.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Why does one opt to go to big studios?


High profile work requires bleeding edge technology - but even a simple project can mean that you need some serious custom development. Pipeline scripts, plugins, shader code, task and production management software, asset management software and so on... The list can get very long. Producing all this stuff on your own, for a single project, well it's next to impossible.

A large studio can afford to maintain and develop all these custom pieces of code and such (or buy off-the-shelf stuff when possible) because they can amortize the costs over multiple projects with multi-million budgets.
But even a smaller shop will not be able to get access to such tools, not to mention a single person.

Then there's the volume of work. The studios and production houses and publishers and such that have high profile work to bid for, they'll have deadlines and that means your studio has to be of a certain size just to get your foot through the door. One-man-armies will never be taken seriously for such work.


As a freelancer or contractor, you may have a chance. Build some assets for a game, get contracted to do on-site comp or FX work on a larger project for a few months, and maybe even get some credit for it. But then there are the issues that others have already mentioned - lack of job security, constant need to look for new clients and gigs, and so on. Still, it's a far more realistic option than opening a very small shop...
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:37 PM   #5
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I much prefer working for others and having a nice 9 to 5 workday.
 
Old 10-24-2013, 12:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmbroseMcduffy
I've always thought the best thing about living in America is the ability to go out on one's own, and start one's own business rather it be freelance, or teamwork studio driven.


This is something unique to America, is it? Tell me, have you ever actually been anywhere else?

The post above mine sums up my own entire response to your questions.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:35 AM   #7
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Well clearly those are good questions no matter where you live. And the answer is going to be different for everyone.

For me the reason I don't work in a studio or studio system is that for the most part I don't have much in common with people who do and who run those kinds of operations. Great artists and great work but I am more interested in coming up with content not slaving for someone else's vision.

I get about as much as I can stand of that just working freelance.

A lot of people do work in studios as well as work doing that in a freelance capacity so to answer your question, yes, you can do both.

And no corporate 9-5 life is not for everyone.

If you are looking for some direction, really you are the only one who can make that decision. There are as many valid career paths as you can think of. Pick the one that you are most comfortable with, make a plan, do a ton or research and go.
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:41 AM   #8
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I've never understood how people can suggest to me whenever I'm out of work as an artist to start my own business.


That's like saying 'oh, you're having a hard time finding work as a carpenter, why don't you just be a doctor instead.' Yeah, because I'm sure being good at one thing will make you good at the other dissimilar thing as well.

The reason I like working for other companies and not my own is that I can actually do what I'm qualified for and enjoy doing - ART, namely, animation. Let the lawyers, accountants, and businessmen do the business stuff.

I feel like all the turmoil the industry is in right now is partly due to artists, with artist minds, trying to run business's that require business people with business minds. Somebody who went to business, accounting, or law school would look at the deals these people are making with studios and call them bullshit. I'm sorry but when you put a hungry artist in a board room with a person with a business or law degree to negotiate a contract, the artist is going to get his ass handed to him every time.

My point is that I'm sure there are artists with good business sensibilities and I know having some business sense is a valuable asset in any field but as far as I'm concerned, let the people who have a genuine interest in and/or go to school to learn how to succeed in starting and running a successful business do just that, and then when it comes time for them to produce content, I'll be available.

End rant.
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Old 10-24-2013, 04:13 AM   #9
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I have been working freelance for the past 6 years while I have worked towards getting a degree. In that time, I realized that freelance isn't for me if I want to make a living. For what I have done, the hours are completely random and the pay a flat rate. Days where I may have 3 hours of work are great but they are thrown off by the days where work can span a 16 hour period. The occasional long days aren't my problem though. It is the unpredictability of it.

As accustom to isolation as I am, I miss working on a team which I got to experience a bit of back when I took video production. Sure it was high school but we all took the weekly news show seriously sometimes staying as late as 9 or 10 pm to get the show done.

I would just rather work for a studio where things are more structured and I can interact with others.
 
Old 10-24-2013, 05:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balistic
Until the recent Affordable Care Act, artists with families or health problems were pretty much chained to their staff jobs because the cost of non-group health insurance was so high (or even completely unavailable, depending on the severity of one's medical issues).

This is why entrepreneurism is higher in countries with stronger social safety nets (Sweden, etc).

Going freelance-only is a big risk, unless you could line up a year's worth of work in advance, or your living expenses are very low.


What an absolute load of unsubstantiated dopey nonsense.
As if the impediment of health insurance has stopped anyone with enough smarts and guts to start any kind of business in the past.

Obamacare coverage hasn't even started yet and is off to a rather pathetic start and
appears to be headed off a cliff to its demise.
 
Old 10-24-2013, 05:51 AM   #11
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If you want to do both, I don't see why not. It's really a matter of sustaining consistent work (for artists, freelancers, and businesses).

For me, I'm focused on building my resume and skill-set for now, so bouncing between my full-time gig and short-term freelance is working out. Of course the extra money doesn't hurt either :P

Last edited by narenn : 10-24-2013 at 06:08 AM.
 
Old 10-24-2013, 06:35 AM   #12
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Why not have a 'controlled boss'? I don't know how it works, but there are scientists that love research decided to hire MBAs to lead the company, but with their input - this is to allow them to focus on research.

It's like the researchers are 'board of directors' or have controlling stake of the company, but that hired MBA's is the CEO. So the scientists can still fire her/him if they think s/he failed to properly run the business.

I don't have the exact info, but I heard this is a good option if you know you have the knowledge of the product, but lacking of the business skills.

Try goggling around, maybe you will find something. The reason I mention scientist is because the story I heard is about scientist. I think they are selling tools to separate / unsolder electronics items.
 
Old 10-24-2013, 08:11 AM   #13
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If you are working as a freelancer 80% of your time will be spent doing other things. Getting work takes a lot of effort unless you are a networker by nature. Getting work is unpaid work which is an investment in your own company. Book keeping, equipment, time staying up to date, software on and on. On an average if you are doing well you will work 15 weeks a year full time. Divide that time into what you will need to live normally and charge per hour and you will come up with a rate that is substantially higher than what is deemed competitive in tougher times. While every business needs images they will need them less while the economy is down or when the very tech you use daily increases your competition world wide.

I have no dependents and I could not imagine providing for others at the moment. People tend to recommend freelancing to starters who have no employment not realizing that this is a bad idea from a few standpoints. First off a lack of experience is going to make it difficult to do all but the lowest level work properly. Secondly conducting yourself while doing a project and worst the art of getting paid can be a huge challenge. Lastly if you are working in a studio or business with other creative folks there is a good chance you will learn a lot while making contacts at the same time. So unless you live in a basement in your Mum's house try and get a job.

Freelancing and creating and selling your own IP is the epitome of freedom but there are no health benefits, pension, worker's comp, overtime, or vacation days. Usually if you are as sick as a dog you work, when you haven't slept for 2 days you work, even if the project blows you work because you have work. If you are a natural business person with great contacts then you probably wont notice the downside. The great part of freelancing is you never have nothing to do and you can attack absolutely any part of the market you wish, plus office politics are a whole lot simpler when you have only yourself to blame The last one is probably a blessing in disguise though.

Cheerio
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmbroseMcduffy
I've always thought the best thing about living in America is the ability to go out on one's own, and start one's own business rather it be freelance, or teamwork studio driven.


'Murica.

Personally, I think that starting a business in America is WAY more difficult than in other countries. More competition, higher salaries, etc.

And re-US healthcare, I do think that that's a big issue to stay employed. South Africas Healthcare system is pretty much entirely private, with having access to a private medical aid being a top priority. On average I'd say a decent medical aid will set you back around $250 per person in SA, with a company usually covering 50% (if they are big enough). I've heard that in the states its much worse.
 
Old 10-24-2013, 10:51 AM   #15
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In Denmark it's free!
And you are still allowed (encouraged even) to start your own company.
How 'bout that!
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