For those who missed the Animation Freelancers Panel on April 25, we’d like to offer a brief recap! It’s no substitute for the informative discussion that actually took place, but if you couldn’t make it, this will have to do.

The short of it is that it was a useful and entertaining couple of hours. The discussion included panelists A.J. DeFlaminis, Teresa Drilling, Ben Luce, Sam Neimann, and Temris Ridge, plus moderators Rob Bekuhrs and Madison Russell. Among the focus points brought up as being vital to success in freelancing:

  • Be accessible
  • Be consistently prompt
  • Set expectations
  • Use diplomacy / customer service
  • Focus on positive points
  • Track your hours
  • Consider engaging a lawyer for a contract review (income over $2500.00 was suggested to make it worth the expense)

Things to practice to keep yourself in the game:

  • Teach (you’ll stay in touch with technique and newest software)
  • Create personal projects for continuing self-ed – make the work you want to get paid for
  • Structure your lifestyle (life and work, they can co-exist without colliding)
  • Love what you do!
  • Freelancing is about flexibility, not necessarily freedom
  • Form an LLC (Limited Liability Corp, serves to protect you legally, about $100/year)

One suggested read – “Burn Your Portfolio” by Michael Janda, a pretty hefty collection of anecdotes and suggestions about agencies, clients, bidding and other relevant topics,

Aaand the difference between an agent and a manager was discussed. The panel had varying experiences with both. Neither is required for a successful freelance career, certainly not as essential as it would be for an actor, but they’re certainly worth considering. Here’s a brief article that gives a decent description of the two.

Finally, some links mentioned by the panel as being helpful in terms of making connections, finding resources, and/or sharpening skills:

ASIFAPortland (your local chapter of the international organization promoting the art of animation)
Cascade ACM Siggraph (your local chapter of the international organization serving the computer graphics community )
Shake (contract downloads and legal tips)
LinkedIn (online professional networking – recommended)
Facebook (ubiquitous black-hole-of-freetime social networking site, but with a practical side)
Wooshii (UK site for folks needing animation/video production to post jobs)
Craigslist (online want-ad site – some successes were found here, along with some dubious claims)
AEPDX (After Effects users group – events, networking, jobs)
3DPDX (3D networking, knowledge sharing, referrals and resource sharing)
VFX/PDX (promoting and informing CG/VFX community)
Pigsquad (Portland Indie Game squad – events, networking)
Vitamin T (hiring agency, global with PDX reps)
People Per Hour (online freelance job sourcing)
ARCS (Animation Resource Community Service – skill roster on facebook)