How would you get folio samples from work and still look committed?

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fearian Polycount Sponsor
OK so backstory, because I know the number 1 and 2 responses will be "just take them!" and "It shouldn't matter!"


I work as a contractor in office for a small VFX team in a larger company. I come in whenever they need me, and recently I've been working more or less full time. It's been hinted that I would be able to apply for a full time position here, and I'm just about ready to take it.

Now I am still looking (okay, not very actively for the last few months) for a job in games, and I plan on increasing this search in a month or so. But I have nothing in my portfolio for the last better part of a year where I've been working. I don't have access to archived stuff, would much rather get the best work to show from my boss with his full cooperation anyway.

The problem is, if I want to apply for this full time position, how in the hell can I say "Hey, can I get some nice examples of my work from the past year for my portfolio?" The big thing that's wanted from me at the moment is a sense of commitment to the company and the projects. Being on time, working a bit late when it matters; not appearing to look for the first chance to jump ship...


I feel sleazy even posting this. I do like this job, but that's not going to stop me looking for something better. My boss is not an idiot, I don't want to treat him like an idiot.


TL;DR - Need to take full time position at work. Also need portfolio samples from work if I want to leave. The two are not compatible: thoughts?

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  • wester
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    wester polycounter lvl 10
    I'm alittle confused on the issue. You're saying that this vfx team you work for have you on contract, and you're trying to use the work you've created for them to apply for other fulltime positions at other companies? However you're afraid that they'll see that, and not want to bring you on fulltime?
  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    Yes. They have me on contract. I want to work for them full time, because it means stability and more pay. But I also want to look for full time positions at other companies while I work at this vfx place full time. Using the work I've created for them to advertise myself.

    the VFX gig is nice, but not creative in the slightest, and is not a very tradional/usual VFX house.

    Is this a crappy move to pull? should I be looking out for what's best for me, or stay on contract and make my intentions clear?
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 13
    Think of it this way, there are two parties here - you and your employer. You are being stressed out about being a nice loyal employee while they are weighing the cost/benefit of hiring you full time or keeping you a contractor.
  • throttlekitty
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    throttlekitty Polycount Sponsor
    Have you asked if you can use some stuff for your folio?
    "Hey, I'm looking to flush out my portfolio a bit more, and I'd like to show off some of the cool things I've made for you, is that alright?"

    I don't have industry experience, but I wouldn't worry too much about being seen as shopping around for other jobs, especially if you're on contract and they've only "hinted" that full time might be an option for you. You shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to look for good opportunities for yourself.
  • Jesse Moody
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    Jesse Moody polycounter lvl 11
    "Easier to ask for forgiveness than permission."
  • maximumsproductions
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    maximumsproductions polycounter lvl 6
    I've never had a job or had to fiddle with this

    But you could in my mind levy with the stress you have by upping yourself and say "I want this piece for my portfolio partially because I love how it looks and is one of my best" ofc make it a little elaborate than that.

    Because in my mind your more so battling with yourself than weighing your next job opportunity over this or the next...I know it's not that simple but I thought I should try.
  • wester
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    wester polycounter lvl 10
    You have to do what's best for you. You have absolutely every right to capture images, footage or whatever you need to show what it was on that project you worked on. The company will not/should not question your motives with them as they're the ones not moving forward on full employment with you, even though you've communicated to them you want to stay. You have to take care of yourself before you start worrying about hurting the companies feelings.

    The only thing you should ask is ask HR or your supervisor when it would be ok to show off the work you've done in your portfolio. If anything it will speed things up on their end with hiring you fulltime because they see that they aren't your only option.

    If a company can get by with keeping you on contract and stringing you along as long as they can, they will. If you do nothing to initiate them bringing you on fulltime employment chances are they won't (In my experience). Especially in games while you're under contract, you have to act like there is no chance of being employed, even if they say they will. Once you get it in writing is when you can relax alittle. But until they actually take action towards your fulltime employment never tip toe around inquiring at other companies.
  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    Thanks guys. Just glad I didn't get a unanimous "You're being a dick!" response... But I know Polycount's views on the matter so I din't really expect to.

    Justin I knew you would post that. :D As I said, unfortunately my past work is locked away on the archive servers, I'd have to get some help from my employer to find any of it.


    To be totally clear, I haven't asked for a full time position yet, I'll be doing that at the end of this project if things go well. I'll hold off the portfolio work question until then, and work on wrapping up some personal art in the mean time.

    I'll go with ThrottleKittys approach, ("Hey, I'm looking to flush out my portfolio a bit more, and I'd like to show off some of the cool things I've made for you, is that alright?") timed with a folio update and hope my boss doesn't press the matter. Full time position is probably my priority - I need a bit more job security at the moment. Barely earning enough to live independently atm :S
  • Autocon
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    Autocon polycounter lvl 9
    "Easier to ask for forgiveness than permission."

    My buddy's girl friend said that after she got caught cheating on him...



    I would be like, "Hey boss such and such, I would like to grab some of the work I did over the last year so I may update my personal portfolio with it. My portfolio is really the only way most of my friends and family get to see the work that I do and it always makes them really happy to get to talk about what I am doing and what I have done."

    Or "I like to keep my portfolio up to date as it is then a permanent reminder of things I am proud to have worked on, and things that I want to do better next time and improve upon."
  • Parnell
    edit/

    After reading this thread again I think it best that you review your contract, talk with HR, and make sure you are doing what you are legally bound to.
  • Adam L. Gray
    Regardless of whether or not I recently finished some work and got permission to show it.. I just take the rare occasion to simply 'update the portfolio'. Not that I'm necessarily planning to send off an application, just updating it. So personally, I would've just asked if I had permission to showcase the things on my portfolio, and if I do, then all good. Should they be nosy and wonder why, then "Just updating my portfolio.. like.. what, why shouldn't I? *shrugs* :3"

    /edit: Don't get me wrong, never put work under nda on the portfolio that is..
  • seforin
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    seforin polycounter lvl 10
    I have a simple suggestion but I dont want to discuss in detail how to handle it on here. PM me and I'll explain a simple solution.
  • Zpanzer
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    Zpanzer polycounter lvl 8
    "Easier to ask for forgiveness than permission."

    I would discourage you from doing what that sentence says.. When working in the VFX/Viz industry, often clients have a non-disclosure agreement all the way. I've worked on several projects that I will never be able to show on my own portfolio, but only link to the clients youtube/website and then say "I made this and this at 00:20 and 00:30". I was very disturbed when I acquired that information after asking my boss if I were able to show that in my portfolio.

    Ask your boss, and if you need a permission from the client to show your work, then let your boss/project manager/CR person in on it and figure it out instead of just uploading it to your portfolio and hope for the best.
  • Adam L. Gray
    seforin wrote: »
    I have a simple suggestion but I dont want to discuss in detail how to handle it on here. PM me and I'll explain a simple solution.

    If that suggestion happens to be; showing the work to an employer you're applying to, keeping it on a secure page with login or sending them the files directly. (Not saying it is, but in case, and without starting a discussion I'd like to butt in and give my point of view on it)

    Then I'd strongly advice against it as well. Not only have you done something wrong which could end up getting you into a lot of trouble, you'd also be showing the employer you're applying to you might not be entirely honest.

    So in case the idea should present itself, then there's my opinion on that :)

    Cheers
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 13
    I think the best way to look committed is to tell them you'd like to eventually go full time.
  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    Okay for clarity, there is no way I am taking work samples without permission because

    1. Most of the projects haven't been released
    2. All of the projects are under huge NDA
    3. None of this material is even accessible to me
    4. I do not work for a big publisher owned studio, and while yes, it is a tough business and there is always a chance of loosing a contract gig, It is not a big fear atm. I work on a small team of about 8 people, where many came into the job via contracting.


    I know it is sometimes the smartest move, especially in the THQ's of the moment but I wouldn't recommend it as a primary way of updating your portfolio.


    EDIT: Absolute Final Update: you can debate it back and forth between yourselves, but in my personal situation, taking work samples without permission is not an option.
  • slipsius
    Ya, id just go up to your boss and say hey, Im doing some house keeping and I just want to keep my portfolio up to date, what can i use? Tell him with the layoffs you`ve heard about lately, you just would rather be safe than sorry, should anything happen.
  • wester
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    wester polycounter lvl 10
    I would honestly not even bring up the recent layoffs, or anything related to finding more employment. I would just go with "hey I'm updating my website and i'd like to include some of the work i've done here. What can i /can't i show?" He wont follow up with "why are you updating your site?". If some off chance he does, just say you like to show off your work.
  • seforin
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    seforin polycounter lvl 10
    If that suggestion happens to be; showing the work to an employer you're applying to, keeping it on a secure page with login or sending them the files directly. (Not saying it is, but in case, and without starting a discussion I'd like to butt in and give my point of view on it)

    Then I'd strongly advice against it as well. Not only have you done something wrong which could end up getting you into a lot of trouble, you'd also be showing the employer you're applying to you might not be entirely honest.

    So in case the idea should present itself, then there's my opinion on that :)

    Cheers

    You are working in the game /film industry, not the military if how I feel about this "honest tom" kinda mentality.

    If playing it by the books makes you feel good cool. But I look at it with the point of view of "If I dont eat tomorrow and they wont feed me today, fuck them."
  • Adam L. Gray
    That was more of a 'Wouldn't want to ruin your reputation and get your career fucked over because you released a bit of slightly newer material' kind of thing, mind you :)

    The honesty bit being your employer might think you're an ass for sending them material under nda and won't hire you because of it.

    But yes, it does make me feel good, there's always time and place where you need to consider the situation as a whole and who's scheme you're giving into.. but being honest in itself is a good idea most of the time.

    But yeah, let's not derail this too much, sorry :P
  • seforin
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    seforin polycounter lvl 10
    That was more of a 'Wouldn't want to ruin your reputation and get your career fucked over because you released a bit of slightly newer material' kind of thing, mind you :)

    The honesty bit being your employer might think you're an ass for sending them material under nda and won't hire you because of it.

    But yes, it does make me feel good, there's always time and place where you need to consider the situation as a whole and who's scheme you're giving into.. but being honest in itself is a good idea most of the time.

    But yeah, let's not derail this too much, sorry :P

    because the Blacklist is a real thing past word of mouth right? :p

    Again apples and oranges. Im not saying to make crap public. If you get caught yeah bad luck on you. Again I look at it as surviving vs not. Take it as you will. (but for the record im not the only person to grace the industry who has this mentality or has even done such actions to get the job most people are to worried about applying for.)
  • passerby
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    passerby polycounter lvl 7
    lesson back up any thing you worked on atlest once a week, just bring a external drive or dropbox things.

    since the company won't watch out for you and if things don't work out you don't want to leave with nothing to show.
  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 13
    If that suggestion happens to be; showing the work to an employer you're applying to, keeping it on a secure page with login or sending them the files directly. (Not saying it is, but in case, and without starting a discussion I'd like to butt in and give my point of view on it)

    Then I'd strongly advice against it as well. Not only have you done something wrong which could end up getting you into a lot of trouble, you'd also be showing the employer you're applying to you might not be entirely honest.

    I completely disagree. I know plenty of very seasoned industry people who do exactly this.

    Let´s examine what NDAs are meant for in the first place, the 'spirit of the law' if you will. The goal is to keep competitors from using ideas you are not shipping yet in their own products. Now if every boss/legal expert were to be fair and examine each case, they would nearly always give permission for an employee to show assets created when looking for new work, as a jpeg or moving image of some artwork is almost never going to give away steal-able secrets. However that is time consuming, so most just have a blanket ban on it. The idea that if your company found out, they would be so upset they go to the trouble to ruin your reputation over trying to secure new work, is a bit extreme, and if true, points to some true assholes (not saying they don´t exist).

    When someone puts it on a secure page, and sends it only to prospective employers, this shows the person is trying to keep the artwork out of general circulation as much as they are able. In a fair scenario, this should be enough, despite it being technically against some NDA contracts.

    At the end of the day, some NDA policies are extremely one-sided for no good reason, and some projects can be extremely lengthy to the point old work no longer covered by NDA is much out of date in terms of abilities. The USA in particular has extremely one sided laws in the favor of the companies, many of which aren´t even legal in other nations with stronger labor laws (non-compete agreements, bans on the sale of software licenses, etc). This industry is one where we have only digital reproductions to get across our abilities as artists. so having limits placed on that, legal or not, is unfair in my opinion, and I know plenty of people who decide they agree and skirt around it to secure new work.

    Nothing wrong with wanting to obey the letter of the law no matter what, but wanted to give an alternate opinion that it isn´t as 100% agreed upon as your post might make it seem.
  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    Hey guys, I'm pretty happy with the run of people suggesting I ask matter of factly, after asking for the full time position.
    seforin wrote: »
    But I look at it with the point of view of "If I dont eat tomorrow and they wont feed me today, fuck them."
    If that's the case, I'd agree. But again, that is not my case.

    Anyway thanks for the advice guys!


    I do like the discussion on presenting NDA work without permission (properly passworded or limited of course) so I'm happy to let this thread derail down that path. If I remember from the thread a while back about lay-off advice, one of the biggest pieces of advice was to grab samples of your work without permission the moment you smell shit in the air.

    Has anyone ever heard of a situation where a studio closed and somebody didn't get their work out, but got copies off it from other laid off personel or anybody left in the company. I would be interesting to imagine cases of nearly 'internal' leaking.
  • Adam L. Gray
    Poop: Well,when you do put it like that, I do have to say I agree with you. Personally I were under the belief they'd be a lot more strict as it comes to it though. But as you say, I suppose that varies from person to person :)
    Nothing wrong with wanting to obey the letter of the law no matter what

    As said about that part though, there's a time and place for everything, and got to stand up for oneself if one find the situation to be wrong. Society in itself is merely something constructed by humans, and as we know, they're not perfect.

    I personally don't find having to wait for the work to be released from nda all too much of a problem. And having been under the belief employers were rather strict as it comes to nda's in general, that's why I thought it wouldn't be worth messing things up.

    But yu do learn new things... nearly each day anyway, so thanks for that input :3
  • Ghostscape
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    Ghostscape polycounter lvl 11
    Are you asking for how to pull it off, heist-style, or how to ask for permission?

    It is easiest for your boss (and perhaps legally required of your boss) to tell you to eat shit and not take any work home, so keep that in mind when judging whether or not it is better to ask for forgiveness or permission. If you're working on something for a client through your contract employer, like say a publisher, your employer may not have the right to actually allow you to take work home for your portfolio.

    As far as asking, you're a contract position and you will need to find a new contract before this one ends to maintain employment, and unless they are completely, grossly ignorant they will understand this. If they respect you at all, they will understand your concern and your desire and will hopefully work with you to figure something out (at the very least they can probably give you a recommendation if they are legally obligated to prevent you from sharing work in your portfolio). You can use this as leverage to say that if you had a full-time gig with them, you wouldn't be needing to look, and if they give you a full-time position you will not pursue portfolio development and can drop the discussion. If they make promises of a full-time job afterwards, but won't make paper on those promises, then you don't really have a full-time job waiting for you at the end of the contract, and they're stringing you along (hopefully out wishful ignorance and not maliciousness).
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