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How to start as freelancer?!?

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Tobi_dono polycounter lvl 4
Well soon my study in game art ends and I still worry if I can get a job right after finishing ... and so I would like to know how to work as a freelancer or better to say: I want to know what I have to consider before starting (watch out for). :s

I alrady have for texturing sowftware and so a freelancer license

would also like to hear your toughts about the topic freelancer

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  • kanga
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    kanga sublime tool
    ............then just get a job to pay the bills that leaves you with enough energy to work on your portfolio in the evenings. 
    That is the way to do it!
  • FlyingWright
    Freelance is tons of work and requires you already have the skills to do what you are setting out to do. Since you wont have peer critique, it will just be you , your client and their deadline.

    Now, if you are looking to directly make money off even 'lousy ' models, there are plenty of asset stores you can sell through without worrying about clients, but expect to maintain your assets and expect to be making  A LOT of them to turn a livable wage.
  • JacqueChoi
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    JacqueChoi polycounter
    I've been working in games for 16 years, have a pretty extensive network, with several AAA titles, and I'm not completely confident I could make it comfortably as a freelancer.

    It's definitely not a "Plan B"


  • PyrZern
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    PyrZern polycounter lvl 8
    Selling assets on Unreal/Unity store, on the other hand, though, could be Plan B.
  • Jakob Gavelli
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    Jakob Gavelli interpolator
    There's alot of legal stuff to take care of. Setting up a company, doing your taxes and declarations, do research about starting a company and that sort of stuff and how to run a private business in your country. Start doing a budget of all the software and subscriptions you use, add in living costs and see how much you'd realistically have to earn and charge to be able to make a stable living off of freelancing. (And don't forget to account for tax, VAT and other expenses)

    It's a huge task and alot of hardwork before you can even start getting payed by clients. But that's the easy part! The actual really fucking hard part is getting a stable flow of clients and work, building a reputation and have enough savings to survive a couple of months with no income. 

    To echo what everyone else said, it's not a Plan B. Just different from studio work.

    I may be totally out of whack here. But I think there's a lower barrier of entry for studio work than for freelance work, and a much smaller initial cost as you don't need to buy all the software etc yourself. (I think most large companies pays extra for a freelancer because they need the best of the best to do a specific task. But then again some people just want someone to retopo some assets, so maybe not.)

    Work on your portfolio and do everything in your power to really, really create awesome art. If that means getting a "regular" job and doing portfolio work on weekends, or moving back in with the parents, or start selling everything you make on asset stores and try getting some other ways to pay the bills. I'm just brainstorming at this point, but make sure that you spend as much time as you possibly can to make your portfolio awesome, otherwise you'll be kicking yourself later!


  • hawken
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    hawken polycounter lvl 15
    I'd certainly chime in with the JOB -> FREELANCE route here, it's not totally essential, for example if you have mad skills and live without such worries as rent, feeding oneself and bills. You may well hoover up some nice work based on your portfolio, this is after all how a lot of traditional medium artists make their way.

    They do of course for the most part live in abject poverty, have terrible business sense and continue to work a handful of unskilled jobs to make the rent.

    It's far better to suck it up and try to focus on getting an industry job (which is no easy feat with exp = 0), you'll learn a lot and if you are clawing the walls after a few years then yeah, freelance is for you. (as it was for me)
    At least by that time you will know what it takes to deliver a project or asset under duress, and have the added bonus of seeing what temperament you have for deadlines on a regular paycheque.
  • Tobi_dono
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    Tobi_dono polycounter lvl 4
    @ dustinbrown  Sorry didn't mean it like that.
    the topic about getting a job was by us quite short and mostly was only about getting a job in a company,
    so I was a little bit interested at how it works with freelancer.

    we had once a talk with a Freelance artist as a lecture ... but was not that informative ....

    Well the biggest problem to start freelance are connections ...in my region it is quite hard because there is not a lot to do with Game Art and stuff like that and only some little Events to create connections ^^'
     
  • Tobi_dono
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    Tobi_dono polycounter lvl 4
    yeah I also looked in this stuff about selling assets in Unity/Unreal store .... but was not quite sure about it, because I didn't really looked into it
  • CreativeSheep
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    CreativeSheep polycounter lvl 5
    School is only 5% for those who go to school, you got 95% you gotta figure out yourself.
  • RobeOmega
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    RobeOmega polycounter lvl 7
    School is only 5% for those who go to school, you got 95% you gotta figure out yourself.

     Highly depends on the school. 
  • Neox
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    Neox ngon master
    Tobidy said:
    @ dustinbrown  Sorry didn't mean it like that.
    the topic about getting a job was by us quite short and mostly was only about getting a job in a company,
    so I was a little bit interested at how it works with freelancer.

    we had once a talk with a Freelance artist as a lecture ... but was not that informative ....

    Well the biggest problem to start freelance are connections ...in my region it is quite hard because there is not a lot to do with Game Art and stuff like that and only some little Events to create connections ^^'
     
    pretty much all my connections are from the internet/polycount. Your position on the woldmap is almost unimportant as a freelancer.

    that said, starting out as a freelancer with no prior studio experience is a dumb move to me. What do you sell people, and how? Your portfolio would have to be insanely good for someone to take that risk.
    If you still wanna try it, find a safe spot. Some studio that will guaranteed hire you for 3-4 days a week, so you have a steady income. You can try freelancing on the side, build up a client pool and in time transition into it, if you like it.
    Thats how I did it after 6 years in the industry and 2 shipped titles. I never regretted it, i worked on so many games since , and a lot of very great productions. But all of this is mostly due to my connections and reputation in this very community. 
    So get your name out, make people see your work and it can be done. But right out of uni? Damn son you are insane :dizzy:

  • littleclaude
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    littleclaude sublime tool
    Most freelance artists start by working in a few studios for a few years and build the contacts.
  • CreativeSheep
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    CreativeSheep polycounter lvl 5
    There is no guarantee contacts you build up from working in a studio will work either.  You can start from scratch it just may be rough going at first depending how well you are.  If you're good, and your remembered, you don't need prior studio experience.
    No on knew of Microsoft, they started in a garage, no social media, nothing. Some people knew of Bill but laughed, no way they could compete with IBM.
  • Neox
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    Neox ngon master
    There is no guarantee contacts you build up from working in a studio will work either.  You can start from scratch it just may be rough going at first depending how well you are.  If you're good, and your remembered, you don't need prior studio experience.
    No on knew of Microsoft, they started in a garage, no social media, nothing. Some people knew of Bill but laughed, no way they could compete with IBM.
    founding a startup with a certain product that not many else offer is something entirely different to starting a venture against thousands of competitors doing the exact same thing
  • CreativeSheep
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    CreativeSheep polycounter lvl 5
    The two are interchangeable; not as different as you make it out to be.
  • Eric Chadwick
    I think the more important point of studio experience is you learn how a game production works. This improves the communication with your client. Depending on the depth of your contributions to the project, studio experience helps you integrate your work better into their situation, which in turn makes the client happier.
  • Neox
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    Neox ngon master
    The two are interchangeable; not as different as you make it out to be.
    of course you can compare them, but the point remains. if you offer something people need or want, that only few others or noone offers, your chances of success are a lot higher. Than having no clue and competing against thousands doing the exact same thing.
    Yes you can possibly make it, but the odds are quite a risk. Unless you are extra ordinarily good, bring something to the table that stands out. Of course you can always try surviving off of indie deals, maybe you get lucky, the game is a hit and you get shares. If you can risk that, go for it. If not, my suggestion is trying to walk before you run.
  • Boyani
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    Boyani vertex
    Some of us are born in shitty countries (not trying to offend anyone), that they isn't game art or game studios at all. We need to relocate, if we want to work in gaming industry or VFX same thing. So, the best way to do is to get freelance gig. Yes, i know it is crazy, it is dump, it is useless to even try it. 

    But how the hell should i get foot in this industry? i Really want to work in gaming industry, and i don't have motivation to work anything else. 
    i am 29, and i decide to change careers from software programming. 

    So, How to get in contacts with studios or people, who offer freelance?  

    My plan is to make industry level portfolio, i  know is damn hard, but i will take the risk. 

    But, how to get  those X number of years of experience, X shipped titles?
  • Rmunday
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    Rmunday polycounter lvl 8
    To chime in I believe @Dudestein nailed it in the first post, industry experience will always be key. However from personal experience it doesn't mean you don't have a shot freelancing.

    I have no industry experience however made the bold move to freelance in animation. It is really hard going, lots of late nights. Staying up to account for time zone differences so you can talk to clients. Finding clients who are  understanding that you are still improving and learning cannot be thanked enough. It is a fine balance of earning enough to survive but knowing your skill level. I found been totally up front and letting my work talk for me has helped me massively. I have also been VERY lucky with some of my contacts, working on projects with industry veterans to kick my ass and tell me something is bad will always make the end result better.

    Where I am now the jobs I have done that can be shown would aid me in landing a studio role. If I was offered that role I would take it in an instant. I am only as good as my clients need me to be for the specific job, working in industry you will be surrounded by professionals who will help push forward your skills, workflows and general attitude towards what you do.

    On that note I would say work for as long as you can in a generic "9-5" job, if you have a passion and a talent for your discipline you will dedicate the time to improving!
  • viewly_munly
    You start by getting paid lol. Unfortunately most artists need to eat and it becomes a bit of a race to the bottom because of that. Theres two types of advice I can give and they apply to people at different stages of their careers / skills

    a) If you are experienced and have a good portfolio and/or AAA experience etc then dont forget to price in the hours it took for you to gain those experience and skills

    b) Just starting out with a little bit of skills, modding experience. Screwed around with blender or ye older gmax that sort of thing, if I say you're essentially getting an employer to pay you to earn then basically get paid. Take the smallest gig possible if you need to that you can complete and complete it well, get a reference, double your price for the next gig and so on and essentially keep raising your prices until you cant get gigs anymore then lower them bacak down. It is definitely not easy.  For those who are still learning and earning and you're getting everything online anyway, I'd suggest moving out to SE asia (I recommend Thailand) so you can stretch the money out further and even take time off entirely between gigs with a lot less stress


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