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About Xaltotun

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    Los Angeles
  1. I'm an American moving to Germany next month and I'm hoping to figure out how mograph freelancing works in Germany. Does anyone here have experience with it? I have a good 10 years experience but it's all in the US so I have no idea of things like day rates, and if English is commonly used in German studios. Sehsucht is one of the studios that inspired me to get into motion graphics in the first place and some of the best of the best are in Germany. I posted a thread years ago and Vozzz was a huge help in pointing me in the right direction (thanks!) Do any of you have experience working with German studios? I need to get in touch with some as a stipulation of the visa but I'd love to learn about them a bit before jumping in head first and also it'd be great to get in touch with fellow mograph artists in Germany if any of you are around here.
  2. I was trying to explain what being a motion graphics producer entails but I could find almost no resources online to help. I know they must be out there somewhere. Do any of you know of any guides/blogs/diaries of motion graphics producers? They're going to be focusing more on the sales/client relations side of things rather than directly overseeing artists, but it'd still be nice to have some sort of reference point to show what the job is like in a motion graphics environment.
  3. Well I was only in Singapore and the Philippines so I can only speak for those places, but generally it's no problem. Singapore was actually nicer than working at home; they had great internet and lots of places with good wi-fi. Manilla was a bit harrowing, I felt like I was taking a gamble just carrying my laptop with me to a hotel and I carried a ringer phone for if I got mugged. I met another Westerner there who said he covers his electronics in duct tape and crappy stickers and stuff so it looks broken or cheap. I did do work out of my hotel though, which was no problem. My clients were in California and they were cool with it, but I made it very clear before I left what was up and I had to take meetings or work at bizarre hours sometimes because it's around a 12 hour time difference. If you're a night person it's not really a problem, but if not it could be hard. I'd highly recommend it though. I set up meetings with local mograph guys who were thrilled to talk to somebody from LA, and I didn't feel guilty taking an extended vacation for no reason because I was actually making money some of the trip. I'm thinking of wandering around Europe or another part of Asia for a couple months and doing it again.
  4. I went freelance about 4 years ago and it was the best career decision I ever made. - Mutual respect. I'm no longer a bitch to Hollywood producers and to my immediate boss. He needs me and I need him so the relationships seem much better. - Freedom. I regularly take a month or two off of work. A family member got sick so I took a good 6 months off and just busted ass when I was working. Recently I worked off my laptop while exploring Southeast Asia and it was no problem at all. - The pay. I get paid *much* better. I can tax deduct trips and anything work related. - Peer relationships. I love meeting interesting freelancers when I work in house. It seems that as a whole we're kind of adventurous types and in LA it's a very wild west kind of feeling. The world runs on referrals. - Industry knowledge. When working at a single studio it's such a limited view of the industry. Now after working in many different studios and for clients in different cities/countries I feel like I know the industry much better. Downsides - Sometimes insane hours. This is the biggest for me. If I bite off more than I can chew or underbid I'm the sole person being screwed. Granted I've worked at studios where I've had plenty of all nighters, but it's a special kind of shittiness when you have to do it by yourself. - Your own IT guy. It's a real pain (and expensive) to keep up with all your licenses and hardware and try to actually get work done. My PC crashed hard on-site at an ad agency and I never heard the end of that trash talk. The IT guy there didn't even know how to operate on PCs. - Paperwork, self promotion, and invoicing. I actually don't mind this that much because I try to keep things pretty simple, but it's annoying working on things like this for no pay when you have looming deadlines. - Muse be very organized and have self control. I'm a late late night person so I tend to stay up till 5 or 6 in the morning even at the ripe ol age of 30. This is certainly a good way to screw myself when client calls start coming in at 8am. It's also much much easier to get distracted. I could sit on Reddit for 6 hours and noone will say a thing. You gotta be on point with your self discipline. The deadlines are a constant reality of life. - Chasing payment. I've had to threaten small claims court quite a few times and I've had a couple clients straight disappear so this is a pretty big risk if you don't stick with the same clients. I have a few I work regularly with that are great, but starting out it was a constant concern. --------- Overall, in my opinion the pros far outweigh the cons if you're the type of person that values freedom and variety over predictability and security.
  5. I posted a while ago asking about freelancing abroad. I'm leaning heavily towards Singapore but it's hard to find any info on the mograph scene. Most of the advice I've received has been to apply to the big companies while still in the USA and wait until I get a job lined up so I can get a work visa. I know Singapore has a growing VFX scene, and they did recruit pretty heavily at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. From what I've heard from locals there are a lot of new graduates graduating from programs within Singapore, but that's no different than competing in LA or NYC so I feel that my experience will offset the higher wage. On mographwiki you can find around 5 smaller studios and a few pop up when googling, but it does look like working at a VFX shop or a large corporation is the most likely way to get a mograph job in Singapore. Since freelancing seems impractical visa-wise, I'm thinking the best way might be to start a company here in the states, or even over there. I have remote clients that I could theoretically work with just the same while getting settled into a new city, and that wouldn't leave me locked to a certain company to stay in the country. If any of you have experience working in Singapore or even have any idea what the wages are like over there I'd greatly appreciate any tips!
  6. I used Mographwiki to get my start in freelancing. It was a bit arduous but I managed to catalog all the active LA studios and see who would be good to contact, so your site was great. It could be an extremely useful resource if updated a bit. It looks like you have volunteers but I'll step in line if the other guys can't do it. Badass logo by the way Binky!
  7. That's a good idea! I would really need to keep a blog of some sort if I'm doing anything remotely interesting. I for one would love to know what the mograph community is like in a lot of other countries, so surely other people would find it interesting.
  8. Yeah I've seen how hard it is for foreigners to get visas in the US, so I guess what goes around comes around. I haven't heard of the NAFTA agreement pertaining to highly skilled professionals, I should look into that. I've tried to get into Quebec to work, but freelancing seems out of the question and getting sponsored by a company is no small task either.
  9. Germany sounds like a definite possibility. I've visited Germany briefly and I thought it was great. They seem to have very progressive policies for foreign workers, especially since they allow creative freelancers. I think your idea to start a company first might be the best way to go at this point. I've been talking to another animator and we're seriously considering forming one. That seems like the best way to be able to work in a variety of countries as most have a visa that allows you to be there as a working representative of a foreign company but won't allow you to be an employee of a local company. Plus it would be a great way to keep the work coming if I was having trouble finding some wherever I was, since my partner would still be in the US. Man, you aren't joking about the holiday Visas. It looks like there are 4 options for a nonstudent American: Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, and Singapore. And these are only offered to workers 18-30 years old (I've got a year, so I better leave soon!) Right now I'm thinking my most likely "base of operations" would be either Germany, South Korea, or Japan, Germany or South Korea being the most inviting and Japan having an easy route to a visa through English teaching at first. You were right about Singapore, it looks very expensive.
  10. That's awesome! That's what I'm thinking I might have to do; try to focus on freelance clients in the US that can do it remotely and then just get by on that work at first. I would prefer to keep things legal though; I... I'm just not adventurous enough to explore exotic prisons.
  11. I think London is a little further down the list for me just because I've been there quite a few times and it's always kind of lumped in with NYC and LA anyway, so I'm curious about the less commonly tread areas. I do love London though!
  12. Thanks man! Yeah I'm really curious, I've been doing a lot of research about Asia especially. In Japan mograph seems to be seen as much more of a trade and less of an art form so the pay and prestige is considerably lower, but I definitely wouldn't be doing it for the money. The Phillipines has a surprisingly vibrant scene, I run into Fillipino freelancers online all the time and they're pretty good. My goal is to get into one region of the world and see if it's possible to work throughout the region and explore. I'd definitely have to keep a blog or something because I'm really curious about the working conditions in a lot of countries so I'm sure others aret too.
  13. Thanks a lot vozzz, that's great info! I looked that site over and it does seem like Germany has some of the most reasonable Visa requirements I've seen so far. That's great that they have an "artist visa". I've been to Berlin before and I'm actually planning on making a trip to Germany in a couple months so I think that might be the way to go. I didn't realize that would open up the shengen area with a visa for only one country. There's also the major bonus that Germans all seem to speak perfect English. Do you happen to know if the self employment visa allows freelance through the shengen area or even freelance at all? It usually seems reasonably straightforward to get a visa if you have a full time job offer but the freelance situation is much more complicated. It seems like this is super important from all the expats I've talked to. I'm used to the constant networking for freelance work, but it seems even more important in a foreign country. I think thalf the fun of being in another country is checking out the bar scene, so I'm definitely down for that. I've never seen that subreddit, I'll definitely check it out. I've actually been asking specific country subreddits about their visa and work situation and that's been really helpful. The problem I've run into a lot is that some countries don't seem to want foreign freelancers (understandably, I suppose) so you have to have a concrete job offer to get a visa. I'll definitely check these out. I've heard of Europeans and Australians utilizing working holiday visas to work abroad but I've never talked to an American that has used one, I don't know if it's because they're not available to Americans or just not commonly known about?
  14. Thanks AromaKat! Yeah I figure just kind of hopping all over the world won't exactly be making anybody rich, but I'd get some good stories out of it for sure.
  15. I've been seriously looking into freelancing abroad, but the logistics are pretty complicated and many countries seem to handle it differently. Do any of you have experience travelling and freelancing as you go? I've been specifically looking into East Asia, and the advice I've had there has usually been to try to get a full time teaching job for the visa and then use that as a jumping off point for freelance or mograph work. Another option is to maybe try to get in with an ad agency stateside that has foreign branches in a country I'd like to go to. Perhaps Australia or New Zealand might be more practical? Singapore seems like an easier route too since they speak English and have established studios there. I've looked into Canada but that's surprisingly difficult. It really seems you have to be sponsored by a company for a full time position. I do remember Crabbey's old blog where he travelled across Europe, which sounded awesome: http://mograph.net/board/index.php?showtopic=14184 I don't know if anybody has the same urge but I'd just like to pick up and live the nomad life for a while while I have the freedom. I already sold most of my stuff and hop around the US, so if it's possible to do that abroad that'd be living the dream.
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