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zach b

how much do you get paid?

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In London I don't think salaries are that amazing for designers. Editors get paid more than designers ;)

 

But I know when I freelanced it was between £250-300 a day. That's middleweight level (3-5 years). If you're really good, and the design house know you then I'm sure it could be more.

 

In my experience here are the average salary bands (from talking to friends and colleagues in the business)

 

Salaries range from

£15k-£25k for juniors

£25k-£32k for middleweights

and £30k+ for Seniors

 

Who knows what Art Directors get. It depends whether they're an 'Art Director' or actually and Art Director. If you know what I mean ;)

 

 

I agree with Mookomatic.

I am in London and I used to get £300 day, but some studios are paying only £250/day, so It is between £250-300 per day work. I am not sure if some one is getting better then £300 over here, but I don't really know anyone.

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Actually I'd say $450 is a baseline and $600 is the hiline. Depends on the projects, hours, demand, etc etc. Is getting over $500 to work 14 hours at psyop the same as getting $450 to work for 7 hours at another shop or even less hours from home in your underwear? hehe.. Pick your battles but just dont undersell yourself.

 

I think some juniors are charging $500 when they shouldn't be.. Only because their finishing skills aren't quite there yet so it ends up creating more work for other people but theres no way for a studio to see that coming based on their reel.

 

First, I want to echo finegrit's post on NYC levels of compensation. Baseline is 400. Any experienced (say 2 years out of school avg) designer/animator should not be getting less than 500. If you are, you're working at the wrong shop.

 

Going above 500 is less black and white. As Binky said, corporate clients will dish out more $$ (and i'll add for generally shittier projects) than design shops. Also, some shops are willing to pay more than others. But as long as you don't go crazy and scare em off with high numbers, a studio will be upfront with you and tell you if they can't afford the price you're quoting. At that point you have to decide to live with the paycut or move on to greener pastures.

 

I'll also add that I have noticed some slowdown in business in NYC. It's not drastic, but the pond has definitely shrunk and I suspect this will effect compensation.

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Actually I'd say $450 is a baseline and $600 is the hiline. Depends on the projects, hours, demand, etc etc. Is getting over $500 to work 14 hours at psyop the same as getting $450 to work for 7 hours at another shop or even less hours from home in your underwear? hehe.. Pick your battles but just dont undersell yourself.

 

I think some juniors are charging $500 when they shouldn't be.. Only because their finishing skills aren't quite there yet so it ends up creating more work for other people but theres no way for a studio to see that coming based on their reel.

 

Yep, agreed. Shops that pay more tend to work you harder, corporate clients will kill you with their 'too man cooks in the kitchen' syndrome, sometimes you have to settle for lower pay if you want to actually enjoy what you're doing. This is not a rule obvi.

 

As to people charging too much, finegrit said it best: "The guys/girls who really know that they are doing and will get it done the first time, fast with no mistakes" Being able to get stuff done fast at a design shop will make you much for valuable than someone with a flashy reel and no experience.

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Euro 36.022 and 32 cents a year. (seriously, at the cent accurate)

 

Which country are you in, if I may be so bold?

 

I'm in Berlin, trying to work out what to ask for in terms of salary. I'm middleweight with four years experience in London - do you think that 25.000 Euro would be a good wage?

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Hi everyone.

I'm planning on conducting a real Salary Survey as part of the Motion Graphic Designers' Organization that is specifically tailored to OUR industry. The AIGA survey is out there, but has no real relevance to us ...

 

Anyone interested in helping out with questions or criteria for the survey is welcome to add suggestions ... you can get my contact info in my profile.

 

I'm going to try and get the survey done for F5, maybe hand out copies or let people do it online there at the conf.

 

Thanks!

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In NYC, when I first started out, the lowest I ever got was $400/day for 8-hr days. That was rotoscoping Yu-gi-O cartoons. (Not so fun)

Which is still $50/hr.

Also, watch out for the clients that want you to agree to a fixed price for an entire project up front.

I don't get these as much anymore, but I always felt like I would get the short end of the stick on these never seem-to-end projects.

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Also, watch out for the clients that want you to agree to a fixed price for an entire project up front.

I don't get these as much anymore, but I always felt like I would get the short end of the stick on these never seem-to-end projects.

 

those are the worst. those types want us to make like 45k a year freelancing.

 

i think the stigma against talking $'s is interesting. with kinds starting out, i always tell em em whats up just for their sake and so they dont give producers unreal expectations that we can be punked out financially

 

my folks lived in israel long ago, and tell me people are very open about salary and always asking, that they felt a little weird by it but it seemed like the culture. pops was working at a uni then.

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I think it is better to everyone to be open about salary.

If we mographers and animators don't stick together and help each other, who will?

People always get afraid to talk about it. It is just better for everyone, so you don't get a senior get paid like a junior and bringing the price of the whole industry down.

Edited by guera

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I think it is better to everyone to be open about salary.

If we mographers and animators don't stick together and help each other, who will?

People always afraid to talk about it. It is just better for everyone, so you don't get a senior get paid like a junior and bringing the price of the whole industry down.

 

 

I totally agree. You've got to stick to your guns.

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I think it is better to everyone to be open about salary.

If we mographers and animators don't stick together and help each other, who will?

People always afraid to talk about it. It is just better for everyone, so you don't get a senior get paid like a junior and bringing the price of the whole industry down.

Yep.

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Note: sorry, i get blabby down below.

Don't let it derail the thread.

 

 

I think it is better to everyone to be open about salary.

If we mographers and animators don't stick together and help each other, who will?

People always afraid to talk about it. It is just better for everyone, so you don't get a senior get paid like a junior and bringing the price of the whole industry down.

This is true. Part of the problem is that, as i understand it, profit generally gets pushed up the hierarchy and costs get pushed down the line (the guy on top wants cheaper and cheaper products/services from the guy under him). As content generators, we're sort of at the end of that business line for our industry, the bottom of the hierarchy, meaning that we generate a TON of value but we don't really pass a lot of costs to people under us (because there's generally no one under us in the industry whose profit margins we're trying to squeeze for our own benefit). Ie. a studio has an absolute upper limit to the amount they will pay a given freelancer on a certain job, but has no lower limit. They'll never give a designer/animator a higher rate than is budgeted, but they'll always take a lower rate. They'll take you for free if they can because that passes more profit upward to them, or further upward on to their client.

 

Fine. But the value of what we do is subjective, so we have to fight just to maintain that value against constant downward pressure. You can sorta see that perceived value by looking at upper pay limits (how much a client could possibly consider paying for what we do). Look at how much a rockstar designer makes versus a rockstar commercial editor. An individual editor cutting a :30 spot for the superbowl makes a lot more than the inferno guy who worked on it who makes a hell of a lot more than the graphics guy(s) who worked on it. There's a greater perceived value (importance) placed on the edit. Director's credit comes before editor's credit comes before VFX credits. The response to that is that you can argue that the most value is created by the director, and so on down the list. And as such, we should always be making the case that what WE do has great value, because it DOES, and right now the client/agency/studio system reduces our value quite a bit. It's not horrible. It's not enslavement. But if it's largely a matter of perceived value, we could be doing a lot better.

Edited by Binky

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You can't work on a fixed price in NY. Producers here are animals. I went back to in-house freelancing for that very reason.

 

In NYC <snip>

Also, watch out for the clients that want you to agree to a fixed price for an entire project up front.

I don't get these as much anymore, but I always felt like I would get the short end of the stick on these never seem-to-end projects.

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I think it is better to everyone to be open about salary.

If we mographers and animators don't stick together and help each other, who will?

People always get afraid to talk about it. It is just better for everyone, so you don't get a senior get paid like a junior and bringing the price of the whole industry down.

Many of you seem to be quoting this... excuse me if I cry bullshit on this one.

 

1) It's not better for everyone to know what everybody else makes and I dare you to prove otherwise. Thus far you have all thrown out a lot of data... particularly quantities... and you all think that means something. But really how much closer are you to this "average" that you think exists? Does it make your work any more/less valuable? You have all these quantities but they have taught you nothing about the value of your work. The problem... which has been repeated in thread after thread like this... is that you are asking a subjective and meaningless question. You may as well be asking which 3D program is best.

 

2) Only young and inexperienced people ask what everybody else is making. Experienced people already know. Simply by definition. When I was a young freelancer I had no idea what I should charge and it was frustrating. I felt that if I wasn't charging the standard I'd be perceived as a sucker. Or if I asked too much I'd risk losing "the bet". Time passed and I learned by doing. Nobody would tell me and I hated them for it... but as a consequence... I learned something more more valuable than what "everybody else was getting paid"... I learned the value of my work AND... I learned how to bet.

 

The very frustration you have of not knowing *IS* the earliest stage of determining your value. Asking what everybody else is getting paid is the same as asking what answer they got for number #3 on their quiz. You're looking for a shortcut. If you settle for THEIR answer you'll never get the added benefits that come with learning the lesson for yourself. I guarantee.

 

-m

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Ehhhh i dunno, monkey. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. So what if it's cheating to let the newbs in on the info? It's not crippling their 'real life education.' They'd have found out eventually, don't see how finding out sooner makes it too easy for them, which seems to be your argument. It's true that this information is still variable on individual context, but if anything, letting people know the bottom line is preventing cheapskate producers from taking advantage of fresh out of school/fresh out of fulltime freelancers.

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I agree with mete_shop. I don't see a problem and I think as soon as better for them and for the industry.

If people start charging less and do a ok job (doesn't need to be great), it will bring the price to everyone down. I see it in London.

You still have people that will charge cheap and don't delivery the job and later the client calling you again to come and fix the job for the price you asked (the false economy where the client think he is saving money with a cheap person and in the end spend double), but I don't really want to fix peoples job, I want to get the project from the begging and make something better from start.

In the pass, nobody talked about how to make things and you need learn by yourself. It makes you learn in the hard way but learn better, I agree. Today with the internet, everyone see everyone works and talk about how it was made and where is tutorial for it...blablabla... it is the same thing with "how much people charge"... before, people didn't talk about how to, but now is online everywhere and people is making money with it. So, I don't see a problem to talk about "how much". To be honest it will be everywhere, and people will be talking about it soon.

And just one more thought. If you move from one country to the other, you don't know how much is normal day rate, and it is not about to know how much you worth cause every country will be different and you are new to it.

 

 

sorry talked to much...

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I actually think monkey makes a good point.

Value increases with experience and ability to deliver quality goods. I certainly feel my product/my time is worth a lot more today than I was five years ago.

Too many people, fresh out of school, with crap reels are asking for the same salary/day rate as folks who have a great reel/experience.

 

Just because one designer/animator can make $80k (random number), that doesn't mean every designer/animator should be expecting to make that.

 

I'd say: add up what your cost of living is, determine what you are willing to work for and then ask for as much as you can get. If 9 out of 10 clients tell you it's too much or pass on you, then maybe reduce your price.

If you are booked 7 days a week, raise your prices.

 

I have burned a lot of time, making next to nothing, because I under bid a project. On the other hand, I have lost bids because I charged too much. It's all a learning experience that unique to each of us.

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And just one more thought. If you move from one country to the other, you don't know how much is normal day rate, and it is not about to know how much you worth cause every country will be different and you are new to it.

Exactly. I might consider myself a veteran motion Designer in good old Germany - but as soon as i would apply for jobs in the UK (or where ever), it would be a totally different cup of tea and i wouldn't have a clue how much to charge. In this situation i would do exactly the same as zach_b: ask the internet.

 

I'd say: add up what your cost of living is, determine what you are willing to work for and then ask for as much as you can get. If 9 out of 10 clients tell you it's too much or pass on you, then maybe reduce your price.

If you are booked 7 days a week, raise your prices.

The first part is always a good advise and should be obeyed by every beginner out there.

But it's also a good thing to give them a tip for a bottom line, because if your'e fresh out of school you might have no idea about those costs of living at all (not to mention taxes, insurances and pensions).

 

Not everything has to be learned the hard way. Sometimes a friendly advise at the right time works as well.

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I actually think monkey makes a good point.

Value increases with experience and ability to deliver quality goods. I certainly feel my product/my time is worth a lot more today than I was five years ago.

Too many people, fresh out of school, with crap reels are asking for the same salary/day rate as folks who have a great reel/experience.

 

Just because one designer/animator can make $80k (random number), that doesn't mean every designer/animator should be expecting to make that.

 

 

I am not saying that a junior should charge the same as a senior, that is why we have different price rates. *just one think, when you guys talk about student, i think it is unfair, I know few students (not common) that works better and are more creative than people with 5 years in the market*

This is not my point. My point is, every city/country has a normal stand price what people charge and will always has people to charge less or more, but still has a stand price. If you think you worth more, charge more, if you think you are a junior, charge less, but you know how much is the stand price for a good mographer and you do your price base on it. It helps a lot to know how much people charge, so you can work your price on the top of your experience and not bring other peoples price down because you don't have a clue.

I can say it cause when I start freelancing in London I didn't know how much to charge. I had experience, but didn't have a clue how much to charge.

I think it helps a lot to know, special in the begging.

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My point is, every city/country has a normal stand price what people charge and will always has people to charge less or more, but still has a stand price. It helps a lot to know how much people charge, so you can work your price on the top of your experience and not bring other peoples price down because you don't have a clue.

 

agreed.

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Not everything has to be learned the hard way. Sometimes a friendly advise at the right time works as well.

 

 

Agree 100% and I think that is why we are here and forum and community are there for...

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Yeah, 'learning the hard way' as if it's some kind of badge of honour... Hmmmm. Knowing what people earn out there isn't cheating - it just helps you place yourself better within the local market. You wouldn't see a small business setting up shop without evaluating the market - would you? In this sense, I can understand why people would not wish to discuss money purely from a competitive point of view.

 

Whilst younger and more inexperienced designers out there are often picked up because of their cheapness, what it really boils down to is the quality of your own work. Many people have mentioned this already, but I really agree if you look after your own interests (being creative, learning software, pushing yourself, being wonderful to work with) then the threats of undercutting from unknown quantities become minimal. Your own value cannot be completely out of whack with what others are charging - but it *can* hold up to scrutiny if you are very good! And being very good is all that matters! Because when people hire that kid with the average reel, for an average price - they start to realise what their money pays for.

 

Of course, there will always some 15 y/o designer out there with Rockstar skills messing up my theory :)

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I'm sure there are others, but this is one tool that helped me determine my hourly rate recently:

 

http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/

 

Just FYI - I am fairly new to mograph work - my background is in graphic design and web design/coding...

 

Several years ago I was charging $50/hour. I was concerned to increase my rates, thinking that it might scare off clients... Then I started researching what others in the area were charging for similar work/experience and found that I was well under the 'norm'. I increased my rate to $65/hour and actually started getting more work. I even had a few clients tell me they passed on me because they thought my rate was too low - believing that they weren't going to get the quality they wanted, etc. Now, after researching local numbers and following several guides like the one referrenced above, I have a couple of different standard rates that are in-line with the local market and my experience... I now charge $75/hour for design work, coding and editing. I charge $100/hour for more technical skills like Flash programming, etc.

 

I found through researching other design shops in the area that 'average' hourly rates are between $40 for entry-level designers and $200+ for agencies (agencies, of course, tend to have a lot of overhead). On the more technical side of things, individuals offering the same skill-set for things like Flash programming, are charging anywhere from $75 - $150/hour. By keeping my rates competitive and on-par with local 'standards', clients aren't shocked by my pricing and I make a good living.

 

Just my $.02, but I think the bottom line is it doesn't matter what you charge if you can't deliver to the expectation. Do the research - find out what you 'need' to make and what the local market is willing to pay... Don't sell yourself short, but don't overcharge and under-deliver or you'll be out of work/business in a heartbeat.

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