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Questions to ask potential clients

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Hi, I'm a newbie here.... I am fairly new in the world of motion graphics. I have a potential client who want a motion design package for an upcoming show which includes: main title, bumpers, lower3rds, ending titles and other graphical elements. What should I look for being it's my first real project? and What questions should I ask before taking on this project?

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Hey there... About a year and a half ago I was in the same position with a freelance job. Before you start you definitely want to fiugre out contracts (always a must), set milestone markers in time for delivery of each individual element and then the final package, set number of client revisions, payment-- make sure to get some upfront on a major project like this. Also if they have not given you design to work from, then set a schedule of concept and style boards with dates and numbers of revisions. You also need to figure out how the elements will be delivered. It may sound insignificant now, but is it full HD or HD design with 4:3 center cut.... or it is quicktimes or HDCam (which you need a deck to layoff to tape) or is it AE projects for them to version. Personally I like to deliver Quicktimes or HDCam for main title, show open, end title... and then provide AE files for L3rds and bumps (with as many flattened QT layers as possible). That is all I can think of for now, but hit me up with whatever questions you have.

 

PS.... Contracts, contracts and payment schedules !!!

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Hey there... About a year and a half ago I was in the same position with a freelance job. Before you start you definitely want to fiugre out contracts (always a must), set milestone markers in time for delivery of each individual element and then the final package, set number of client revisions, payment-- make sure to get some upfront on a major project like this. Also if they have not given you design to work from, then set a schedule of concept and style boards with dates and numbers of revisions. You also need to figure out how the elements will be delivered. It may sound insignificant now, but is it full HD or HD design with 4:3 center cut.... or it is quicktimes or HDCam (which you need a deck to layoff to tape) or is it AE projects for them to version. Personally I like to deliver Quicktimes or HDCam for main title, show open, end title... and then provide AE files for L3rds and bumps (with as many flattened QT layers as possible). That is all I can think of for now, but hit me up with whatever questions you have.

 

PS.... Contracts, contracts and payment schedules !!!

 

Cool. Great information. Thank you, Edrhine. This will be a 1080i 60fps AE project. The client have no clue what to implement in the final design concept for the project. No resources and references. How do I pull information out of the client to start a storyboard and a deceit concepts? Or do I go with my own ideas and add in revision time/payments to the contract?

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If they have no idea what they want, you can do 2 things.

 

The first is to sit or have a phone call with your client, and discuss what it is that they are trying to achieve with their graphics package. Ask abut the target audience and any other styles that they have liked seeing.

 

The second is to prepare a Mood Board. Basically a series of screen grabs and other inspiring work (vids) that you are confident reproducing in a similar style. So many clients are visual people and alot of things can get messed up in translation. So its always a good start to show them some nice work and see what they are leaning towards. Don't over promise!! Dont show them highly polished 3d examples if the budget is small or you arent capable of that work. ( Im not saying that you arent capable) But set yourself some limits. It takes alot of thought and effort to create a brodcast package from scratch, especially if you have no design to work from.

 

Once these steps are taken, you can produce thumb nails, style boards and a schedule for the deliverables.

 

Make sure to take a cut up front. You always have to protect yourself. I totally agree with edrhine. Everything in writing and contracts contracts contracts. Ive personally had a few bad experiences from not getting the proper papers signed.

 

I hope your package works out great. Good luck!

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If they have no idea what they want, you can do 2 things.

 

The first is to sit or have a phone call with your client, and discuss what it is that they are trying to achieve with their graphics package. Ask abut the target audience and any other styles that they have liked seeing.

 

The second is to prepare a Mood Board. Basically a series of screen grabs and other inspiring work (vids) that you are confident reproducing in a similar style. So many clients are visual people and alot of things can get messed up in translation. So its always a good start to show them some nice work and see what they are leaning towards. Don't over promise!! Dont show them highly polished 3d examples if the budget is small or you arent capable of that work. ( Im not saying that you arent capable) But set yourself some limits. It takes alot of thought and effort to create a brodcast package from scratch, especially if you have no design to work from.

 

Once these steps are taken, you can produce thumb nails, style boards and a schedule for the deliverables.

 

Make sure to take a cut up front. You always have to protect yourself. I totally agree with edrhine. Everything in writing and contracts contracts contracts. Ive personally had a few bad experiences from not getting the proper papers signed.

 

I hope your package works out great. Good luck!

 

Great. This information helped a lot. Thanks

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Before every job, You want to write a project proposal or Scope of Work document (sometimes lovingly abbreviated as a SOW).

 

This allows you and the client to agree on what you are producing, and what the milestones are, how much it will cost, and how long it will take.

 

Here's a sample proposal format.

 

Disclaimer:

I've culled this from resources across the web, my own creative process, analyzing proposal documents from various agencies, and the legal guide for the visual artist - http://www.amazon.com/Legal-Guide-Visual-Artist-Crawford/dp/1581150032

It will absolutely vary based on services rendered, job scope, budget, and etc. Take it with the grain of salt as all free information posted on online forums.

 

 

OVERVIEW

 

1.Overview of Project “Project Name”

Viralstuff, a multimedia and viral marketing agency, proposes to create a rich web destina-

tion designed to market to target 18-24 year old males. “Project Name” will be a

riotous and interactive video/web hybrid experience in which the users shall interact

with a host in a mock game show setting, and be required to race virtual "avatars"

ViralStuff will require the services of a "motion graphics company" to produce the graphics that will

accompany the custom video that is to be

produced for the site. A total of 24 episodes shall be created, with the first 12, “canned” or

pre-produced, and the last 12 based upon user submissions. As such, the nature of the

graphics created need to be scalable and template based without any sacrifice what-

soever to the quality and creativity.

 

"Viralstuff" is placeholder for your client. "Project Name" is kinda self explanatory. "Motion graphics company" should be whatever you go by.

 

DELIVERABLES

 

2. List of deliverables

a. Introductory Video/ 60 Second “Sizzle Video”

A storyboarded and concepted animation utilizing the assets of the identity system

shall be created for the introduction of the video segments on the site. The Introduc-

tory Video segment will be folded into a promotional video that will be created with

clips of the completed segments to promote the concept of “Project Name”.

b. Identity System

The mark that will always be used to identify “Project Name” and the graphics associ-

ated with it.

c. Titling System

Utilizing the branding and concepting of the identity package, a template based titling

system shall be created, and titling assets produced for weekly episodes.

d. Transitional graphics

Custom transitions shall be developed to further enhance the identity of the videos.

Also, these assets need to be developed with interactivity in mind, as the video will

be controlled in a flash interface, and the transitions need to be developed as con-

trollable movie clips.

e. Custom Graphics

Up to 6 custom short animations shall be created for each of the pre-planned seg-

ments.

f .Outro Animations

A “wrap up” movie created within the specs of the identity package which will end

each segment and will mesh well with all video editing needed.

 

CREATIVE PROCESS

 

3. Recommended Creative Process

 

Identity Package

 

Phase 1

As most concepting has already been completed on the "Project Name" Identity, this

phase will move directly into production.

Phase 3. Production

This phase ends in the final deliverables:

a. An overall mark or logo that encapsulates the look of the show.

b. Treatments for the “lower thirds” titling and graphic treatments.

c. Specific fonts chosen and modified if necessary that enhance the mark.

d. Specific pieces of artwork created that will be animated. (3d models pertaining to

identity or other designed elements )

e. A color palette guide that the look of the show will match, whether inside the

flash interface or the color correction of the video.

 

Introductory Video

 

Phase 1 Pre-Concepting

This includes research and development, exploring existing animated content and

how this can be utilized to the creation of "Project Name's" experience.

Phase 2 Concepting

Utilizing the created identity package, 3 rounds of storyboards and planning shall be

created for the animation.

Round 1 consists of 3 separate concepts

Round 2 consists of 2 concepts developed

Round 3 consists of the final concept

Round 4 consists of a the final concept in a polished state, ready for production

Phase 3 Production

Animating assets based upon the final concept from round 4. This includes creating

the necessary animation, simulations, 3-d models, and video assets.

This stage consists of 3 milestones, a “rough” milestone, a “50%” deliverable, and a

”polish” round.

 

Titling System and Transitional Graphics

 

Phase 1 Concepting

2 options shall be created and presented for these components, both of which will

work within the established identity system

Phase 2 production

The Final option shall be spun out into animation and production.

Outro Animation

Phase 1 Concepting

2 options shall be created and presented for these components, both of which will

work within the established identity system.

Phase 2 production

The Final option shall be spun out into animation and production.

 

Custom Graphics

 

While working with the video editor and art director, custom graphics may be cre-

ated on a by case basis for the individual webisodes. These will be quick and require

little revisions, and will be created for added shine and polish to the experience. No

more then 6 custom animations shall be created.

 

TIMEFRAME

 

4. Timeframe, Fees, and Expenses

 

Two deadlines are essential to this project.

1. The creation of a “sizzle”, a 30-60 second teaser video that will be delivered show-

casing the essential ideas and format of the site and show. This delivery needs to be

ready by *Date*.

2. The site going live by *date*, with 12 videos edited and ready for public con-

sumption.

 

Flesh this out based on your particular needs and based on the Creative Process breakdown. Map your milestones to specific dates on a calendar, and then allow for turnaround time of feedback.

 

Additionally, pickup graphics may be needed for the user submitted content.

Estimated cost breakdown-

Standard Studio Rate of $x/hr

Identity System- 20 hours low estimate, 30 hours high estimate.

Animation Production- 40 hours low estimate, 70 hours high estimate.

Titling System and Transitional Graphics- 20 hours low estimate, 25 hours high esti-

mate.

 

Custom Graphics at standard rate of x/hr. Additional graphics not included in pack-

age at standard rate of x/hr.

 

Insure you have a clause that requires a new contract when you run over time estimates. This is called a Change Order.

 

TOTAL ESTIMATES:

Production Services:

Low- $x

High- $x

Other Costs:

Based upon concept approval, Client will be responsible for incurred expenses relat-

ing to general production. Stock footage as needed shall be acquired from istockpho-

to and billed to the client. Stock from other sources requires approval.

 

CREATIVE TREATMENTS

Concept 1

Concept 2

Concept 3

 

etc...

 

Put your styleframes and concept summaries here if you are proposing Creative. You may wish to change the order and do your creative treatments after the overview to get the client jazzed about the concepts/ideas depending on the job

 

CONTRACT

 

Here you need to draw up a contract. I used the template at AIGA. Obviously the more money you spend on this, hire a lawyer, etc, the better.

 

http://www.aiga.org/resources/content/3/5/9/7/documents/aiga_9standard_agreement_07.pdf

 

Hopefully that is helpful. Although it sucks to spend time on this (Typically there is an AD or producer at agencies that do this as their whole job) however for a one-man-band, this can help you avoid litigation and prove to be useful when scoping out how much something costs and how much work it will be to produce.

 

Colin

Edited by Colin@movecraft

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Wow, thanks for commenting Cosmo. Otherwise I would have missed this thread. Great information Colin! I actually could have used it back around February. It's going in my bookmarks for next time.

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I'd also like to say Big thanks Colin. After reading this post I started using that scope of work document as a template for all my detailed quotes and gotta say both me and my clients love it. Lays out what everyone should expect really clearly and helps everyone at the start of a project.

 

On the other hand I am curious how many of you actually use the standard AIGA contract. I tried using it and was told too full of legalese to sign without having a lawyer go over it and they wanted to just have a contract written in clearer english so we didn't need to get tied up with lawyers, so I have gone back to just writing contracts up myself, was curious how many of you just write up your own contracts, versus use a lawyer, or use the AIGA or some other form?

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