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> Freelancer's Manifesto - A Collection of advices (Page 2 of 4)

Freelancer's Manifesto - A Collection of advices (Page 2 of 4)

Date Posted May 19, 2007  Default   Viewed 4545 Times       ID 256
Roman  - 3D Jobs Admin
Freelancer's Manifesto - A Collection of advices (Page 2 of 4)
By: Anselm v. Seherr - Thoß, Germany
Web: www.3delicious.de

Get Organized

Organize yourself in joint ventures.

I highly recommend joining certain communities of interest! Networking is one of the best ways to get freelance assignments (along with a great reel, reputation and website of cause). Here in Germany we have “XING/OpenBusinessClub” where the membership is free. Via this network you can keep in touch with companies and other freelancers you work with. Other companies not knowing you yet can find you there via an internal search engine way smaller then Google meaning the quality of the hits you get is from higher value. Don´t get me wrong I happen to love Google but do me a favor: surf google immediately and search for the quote “freelancer”. I got 10.200.000 hits…

On a more international lever there´s “LinkedIn” with quite the same purpose as “XING” and the “AIDB-Animation Industry Data Base”. “LinkedIn” is a little different from “XING” though. If you wanna connect with another person at “XING” you can ask him directly for accreditation. At “LinkedIn” you have to ask another person from your existing network to recommend you to the desired contact in case you wanna get in touch with another member. If he or she doesn´t want to he can regret you.

The membership for all those institutions is free. So what should keep you from joining in?

The institutions above are great for networking and regaining old college friends you haven´t seen in years to have a few beer with but there are also a few institutions which are worth their entry fee and monthly/yearly costs.

I´m sorry that I can speak for Germany only but I´m pretty confident that there´re similar institutions all around the globe. Here in Germany we have the “KSK - Künstlersozialkasse ”. That´s a national insurance for artist especially because freelancers aren´t employees whose national insurance has to be payed by the boss. Same goes for the retirement pay contribution which as well has to be pay by the boss. The “KSK” pays up to half of all your insurances including national insurance and retirement pay contribution isn´t that great?!? So you should definitely try to get a member there to save some bucks!!!

Furthermore we have the “AGD – Alliance of German Designers” which is a professional organization that provides artists with all necessary knowledge he/she should know (like exemplification contracts and so on…), tax advice and free (!) legal assistance in case of a contract defiance or something concerning copy rights e.g. The “AGD” charges you 120 Euros in the first year and 240 Euros every following year but think of what an advocate could cost you

Again I´m sorry I can speak for Germany only... If you are in Germany you should join the German collecting society for images and art “Verwertungsgesell schaft BILD-KUNST”. They care for your copy rights. If you publish something in a magazine or on a website you get money for it. Just like with music when a track is aired by a radio station. They are aware of WHERE your stuff is posted and how often it was VIEWED. Having those info’s they calculate how much you get at the end of the year…nice! I post art on my website and get money back…how cool is that?!? BUT if you post something for a contest at websites etc. read the terms of agreement carefully!!! The website holding the contest might demand on copyrights as well which is their right if mentioned in the agreement.

This topic is pretty specific for German designers but I´m pretty sure that there´re similar institutions in your country as well. I didn´t do any further research on that topic because I can´t know who will read this article.

Last but not least you should join the CGSociety (charging you 29,95$/p.a.). 30 bucks isn´t much for the countless discounts you will get speaking from my point of view. But I´m aware that the income in other countries might be much less and $30 can be a big amount. So depending on your income it might be worth the expenditure. But if you looking for free service then there are several free possibilities to network on the net.

Keep your Money!!! Increase your Money!!!

At the end of the day even if you LOVE your job (see below) you have to life from your job. Does that wise! Take a moment and think about what are or will be your operational costs per month (internet, software, hardware, assurances, retirement pay contribution, account-keeping costs, costs for advertising, etc. you wouldn´t need an office unless clients are going to visit you so drop that first). Only if you know how much money you need to raise monthly you can calculate right.

A statement of costs is VERY important before running any business including CG. Some of them are fixed costs, some are variable. Like your annual internet hosting costs are fixed advertising costs. Printing business cards is a variable one. You wouldn´t need new business cards every month. You print a stock of 1000 units e.g. which should be enough for the next month or even years. I beg you think wise what you really need! I know a representative car is nice to have but not top of your list, got me? My internal costs per month lie between 500 – 1000 eur. So if I want to eat as well I should earn 1500 eur./month and above…doing pretty well but as far as I am concerned I don´t take an assignment because it brings good money along. If there´s a parallel project which brings less money but seems to be funnier or VFX packed I would definitely choose the second choice! Money is nice to have but your live, health and fun in the “game” should be the main criteria for choosing projects.

Your math in business should be like this: If you have 1$ and you sell it for 5$ your gross margin is 20%. Confusing?

20% of 5$ is 1$ meaning you increased what you had before the deal by 200%. If you think like this you´ll be always rich Never think the entire 4$ plus are your gross margin! There´re taxes, the costs listed above and so on and so far. I literally saw colleagues of mine who bought 6ft LCD TV sets (an investment of roundabout 4000$) when they got their 7000 bucks paycheck. That´s plain ******, trust me! So finally my tip is to keep it simple and your ducks in a row.

Useful Link: Are You on Demand? http://gamecareerguide.com/features/266/index.php?page=1
(this is an article for the game industry but interesting to read for VFX/CG artists as well)

LOVE your job!

What I do for example is “shades and shrapnels” that´s what I stand for hence my company. And that´s what I love to do. So when I open the particle view in max the clouds are parting and angels start singing odes to Oleg Bayborodin(The genius behind Particle Flow), the guys who threw together Thinking Particles and Allan McKay who did great tutorial DVDs which taught me much. I happen to LOVE R&D time. You know, I´m German so by definition i LOVE technology, engineering and David Hasselhoff.

What do you love about your expertise and field of activity? Ask yourself that question! Are you on the right way? Is that what you want to do? Or are you on the right way leading you to that at least? Because if not you will get unsatisfied very soon and along with pissed off of the business. I did a lot of technical and architectural visualization work for example but that was only to gain experience in real life productions and to fill the purse. My way definitely is another!

Only if you love your job you will be willing to suffer and give all power you can access. Everything else will be more or less half hearted hence not satisfying you. Think about this part.

FrontPage at last

The 101 in how to get in touch online.

What you see below is a screenshot of the current index.html of my website. My website is a flash site which is complicated to view to some older computers not having the latest flash player or a dead slow connection. I´m totally aware of that! If you don´t have flash, hate flash, hate popups (my main site opens in a popup which can be blocked by ad blockers etc.),… there can be a dozen reasons why people don´t wanna go deeper into 3Delicious.de. Should I worry they will never contact me because they didn´t make it to my gallery or reel? Answer: NO! Because I deliver all necessary information on my frontpage with NO plugins needed! What do you see? I see my recognizable corporate logo, full name, address, email, two phone numbers (land line and cell phone number), a link to all versions of my current show reel (High, Mid & Low-Res, MOV & WMV so it´s suitable for Macs and PCs) my CV/company portfolio as PDF file in German and English, an Impressum (where my full name is displayed a second time) and four further options to get in touch with me (LinkedIn, XING [the German LinkedIn-brother], Animation Industry Database & AGD [Alliance of German Designers]).

I give this advice because i saw websites of colleagues with an “under construction” sign on the frontpage for more than a year! I know your time is rare! I know that building up a website isn´t nearly as exciting as CG but for God´s sake how do you expect HRs, art directors, talent hunters etc. to get in touch with you if your website which is your digital business card shows one thing: he/she didn´t make it to get going. Remember one thing: There´s no second chance to make a first impression

What kinda information do you deliver on the FrontPage of your website? Exercise: Create a FrontPage delivering all necessary information to get I touch with you if you haven´t done this yet.

Continued on Page 3

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