Being a creative individual usually means dealing with clients or critiques if you’re planning on making a living with your creativity. Unfortunately, being thrown into the busy and high demand world of freelancing can be stressful with long work hours, especially for a novice. Although learning by experience is probably the best way to learn anything in the long run, when time constraints are in place, money and contracts are involved, and credibility is at stake, we can’t afford to screw up to learn. What better way to effectively learn without all the risks of screwing up than by learning from the professionals in the industry.
In this article, we will take a look at what a few professionals ranging from mograph designers, cinematographers, and web designers have to say about clients and freelancing. Learn their workflow from many years of experience.
First up is the infamous Stu Maschwitz, a filmmaker, photographer, and writer who has worked at Industrial Light & Magic and co-founded The Orphanage. He also wrote The DV Rebel’s Guide, hosts the Prolost blog, and serves as Creative Director for Red Giant Software’s Magic Bullet product line. So Stu,
What would you recommend us to do if we were faced with a time constraint or time crisis in our projects?
“Rough a shot together in big, bold, sloppy strokes.
Multiple shots? Rough everything together like this before you refine anything.
Decide what to refine first by viewing shots in the cut.
Don’t stop labeling your layers. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” – Stu
Howard Pinsky is a Photoshop guru and hosts the infamous IceflowStudios channel on YouTube as well as IceflowStudios.com. He has been creating Photoshop video tutorials on YouTube for over 5 years, and has been using Photoshop for over 10. His channel consists of over 56 million video views and over 168,073 subscribers.
How should you deal with negative criticism from your clients or audience?
“The quick and easy answer to “How should you deal with negative criticism” would be “Ignore it”.
However, we all know that’s impossible. When you put something out for the public to look at, there’s always going to be negativity. Most of it will be from the usual 16 year old calling you names that you never even thought existed, but amongst all the rubbish, will be ‘constructive’ criticism. This I take very seriously.
Back in 2006, when I started video tutorials, I told myself that I would read every single comment in an attempt to better my presentation. To this day, I still take the comments I receive very seriously. A few months ago, after purchasing a new mic, which I thought sounded good, I received the following comment: “ur mic sucks!”
While I could have left it alone and carried on with my videos, I spent the next 4 hours tweaking the new mic’s settings, and uploading audio tests until my audience was happy.
So for my final answer to “How should you deal with negative criticism”? Ignore the rubbish, but take constructive criticism seriously. It will better you as a producer in the long run.” – Howard
John Dickinson is a cutting-edge motion graphics artist and serves as Senior Broadcast Designer at Foxtel, ambassador and presenter for Adobe Australia and demo artist for Zaxwerks and Red Giant Software. With Motionworks, John combines 13 years of industry experience with a proven teaching ability to provide high quality learning resources that encourage and challenge participants to break through to new levels of excellence and impact in their work.
What is the biggest tip you can give to a freelancer?
“My experience with many freelancers is that they don’t leave projects organised. When I open a project created by a freelancer and it’s a complete mess, I’m less likely to rehire the freelancer. My tip is to follow systems that the client has in place for file setup.” – John
Peder is the founder of Trapcode and developed the Trapcode Suite. The Trapcode Suite has become industry-standard and is continously seen on TV and have been used in many feature films, such as such as Terminator Salvation, Angels and Demons, Sin City, Spider Man 3, Quantum of Solace, The Day after Tomorrow, etc.
What does it take to develop something groundbreaking despite the great amount of work and time?
“I think that besides a lot of work and time, the most important thing is having a passion for what you are making. There has to be this authentic interest in exploring the field you are working in. It is something you simply have to do, out of curiosity. If I do not feel that way about my work, then I try to look for something else that awakens my curiosity.
I get these ideas – a mathematic formula or algorithm, and I can envision in my head how it could look, but I’m not sure. So I need to test it, I need to sit down with the computer and implement it, just so I can see what it looks like. It is a strong curiosity, like an obsession. I just have to see what it looks like.
There is also a need for a certain flexibility. If things do not turn out the way I had envisioned, perhaps they are good but in some other way. Many times my ideas for programs do not work out, but I learn something new in trying to make it. You need to stay open to these things, the unplanned things, they can be very rewarding. It is similar to playing as a kid, just testing stuff out and tinkering. When I was a kid I used to love building with Lego. These days I play by building software. It is a wonderful thing to do. Time seems to disappear and I’m totally immersed in the work.
But in order to actually finish a product, this obsessive curiosity and playfulness is not enough. It only works in the beginning, it gets me started. After that there are many steps making it into a product that others can use. I have to decide what functionality to expose to the user and how to expose it best, these are really tough decisions and lots of boring work that require a lot of energy. Here I have to find other motivations, for example I can think of the cool stuff users could make with it. Or the money I could potentially make. Or the feeling of fulfillment when finishing a project and showing it to the world. I just need to find something that motivates me to finish it up as a product. This part is the hardest to get done for me and many of my projects get stuck here. But every once in a while I am able to finish a product and release it.
I think the first two – curiosity and playfulness – these are not really things you can choose, I mean, you just need to find your field and they will come naturally. But the last part – the finishing up – that is something you can work on. You need to find something to motivate you through the boring parts. And if finishing the project is not enough reward in itself, you can make stuff up – like “when I have fixed this bug I can go watch a movie”. Or “when I have released this product I can take a holiday” – whatever works for you.” – Peder
You just heard from the pros in the industry, how are you going to change your freelance style? Do you agree with what they say? Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions down below.