This time last year I was finishing up my final semester at Mograph Mentor and working a day job where I was very unhappy. I was excited about the future but frustrated with my current situation.
Jumping ship was long overdue but still scary as hell
In February, I jumped ship and declared myself a full-time freelance motion designer. It was everything you might expect it to be... scary, exciting, awful at times, better than I could image at others. I've learned to deal with the highs and lows of freelance. They are A LOT higher and lower.
Vlogging helped me non-desperately say "I'm freelance... send jobs my way"
Vlogging was my way of telling my story and getting my face out there a little bit. It worked pretty well. I had been using Snapchat for a couple years and getting comfortable talking in front of a camera, so the transition to vlogging wasn't as frightening as it would have been. Unfortunately, I went a little too all in and got burnt out. Vlogging daily is intense. I have since started uploading videos again, just much slower this time.
Client work — pricing, booking, and direct-to-client vs studios
Pricing can be daunting. I took the general approach of determining how much I would need to charge per hour to pay the bills and went from there. I did some hourly-rate projects. I set an hourly rate, estimated the hours and kept track of the hours I actually worked. I mostly did project/value based pricing. I worked with the client to uncover their business goals and determine how much to quote based on my internal hourly rate, estimation of hours, and value the client would recieve.
Direct-to-client work gives you a lot more freedom but also a lot more responsibility. I like direct-to-client work because I'm usually starting from the ground floor. The opportunity in this way of working is getting to control the whole process. You can walk the client through the way you work, help them understand why you made design/animation decisions, etc.
Working for studios takes a load off in terms of client communications and responsibility. You usually have a specific task and aren't asked to keep up with client meetings and negotiations. You get to design and/or animate, which is generally the fun part. I enjoy both ways of working. It's really all about taking on the right clients and accepting work from the right studios. Try your hardest to work with people you like and respect.
Review of the year's client work... Spring was great. I was working almost every day on client work and made a nice buffer of cash... which came in handy when I took a previously planned 2-week vacation to Iceland and London. I had almost no client work start in the summer, which as you can imagine, was a bit scary. But things picked up again in the fall and I've been busy since.
A new opportunity at Mograph Mentor
Michael Jones asked me to join his team as Product Director. I've been helping with porting content to a new platform, communicating with students and mentors. I've been so busy with client work that I haven't been able to devote as much time as I'd like to MM, but I think that'll change in 2017.
Lettering Animation Guide
I am on a serious mission to learn as much as I can about lettering animation. I love the amount of energy and emotion it adds to an already expressive art form. It gets me so excited. The Lettering Animation Guide is for anyone starting out with animation. It's a LOT of really good info that took me years to learn and I wish I had it when I started.
I can't predict the future, but my current plans include a lot of adventure, both personal and professional. More to come soon.
The following are things I'm working towards and hoping for:
- Work on more creative projects that I'm super proud to share
- 2 Lettering Animation products to sell
- Making deeper connections with my motion design and hand lettering friends
- Make new connections with more motion designers and hand lettering folks
- Ponder less and take more action
- Read 24 books (and write reviews for each)
- Say no to things that aren't important to me
- Meditate and exercise daily
2017 is going to be what you make of it. Take action on what you can control. Accept what you cannot control. Put yourself in a position to "get lucky." Luck favors those in motion. Get it? heh heh.
I am so grateful for you. I love writing and sharing my thoughts and it means a lot that people read it and get something out of it. I heartily wish upon you good health, good fortune, and good friends.
Let's make 2017 the most creative, caring and exciting year yet!