Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
bzudo

Work from home/remotely

Recommended Posts

They do exist, however in my experience most places ask you to work in the office. Of course there are exceptions.

Some of my older/long time clients will allow me to work from home. I've worked with them before in the office and they know I can stuff done without being in the office. Rarely do I get offsite work from new clients unless I've gotten high praise and a recommendation from someone who has worked with that new client.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I work from home/remotely 90% of my jobs.

 

New clients, old clients.

 

Then again im more of an animator, than a motion graphics artist. I mostly help out motion graphics artists who work in actual studios. If they got too much work, or can't figure out how to do something.

 

But you're rarely going to find job postings on that, because the client has to really trust you, as he cant look over your shoulder. So you usually need to be recommended. Or they need to find you themselves and love your work.

 

Also people like that generally don't post job postings because they get flooded with talentless peoples reels who are full of tutorial stuff from india/asia. (not saying all of india/asia is talentless, but a very large amount of them, promise you the world with their limited english skills and then seriously under deliver)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I work from home/remotely 90% of my jobs.

Then again im more of an animator, than a motion graphics artist. I mostly help out motion graphics artists who work in actual studios. If they got too much work, or can't figure out how to do something.

On the flipside, I do mainly freelance storyboard and styleframe pitches for studios and a lot of that is from home. I've also done motion/animation from home. And it seems like the home vs office decision is not so much about what you're doing, but rather how your part fits into the whole and how well you do that part.

 

So basically, if you have a good reputation, either with your client or whoever referred you to them, off-site is an option. Then it comes down to how much you need to interact with other people to get the whole job done. Will you be part of a team bouncing stuff back and forth? Will you be art directing or leading the project? Some projects just need all of their component parts independently completed. Some need direct oversight or group cooperation.

 

Trawling through online job forums, you clearly are presenting no reputation whatsoever to these potential clients, because they don't know you, and you haven't been referred to them. So it's fairly unlikely to find offsite work that way unless you find a client who's super desperate or off their rocker. And either of those could be considered a red flag.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do mainly motion graphics and work almost exclusively from home. I do think that normally that can only happen once you're established in your market. I've not seen anyone able to work from home without an established client base and solid reputation.

 

For new clients afraid of allowing me to handle their project away from watchful eyes, I offer them referrals and case studies. I explain to them that I'm faster and more efficient from my studio. I tell them that I'll send status updates or samples often. They almost always agree. Then I have to make sure they hear from me OFTEN.

 

And almost inevitably, when that new client sees I've sent new samples or frames at 1:30am (because I can't sleep or just got home from a movie or something), they relax and realize I'm working hard for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

desperate client aren't always bad, a lot of my clients started out that way. They where in a tight spot, and I saved their ass, and now i get regular work from them.

 

And i started working online, was still in high school. had some studio gigs mid-career ( shit, i have a mid career, damn ive been doing this for a long time now), but wasnt a big fan of them. Mainly since I was in australia, and most of the guys i worked with constantly underpaid me and just tried to work me as hard as they could for as little money as possible. Especially when they found out how old I was, on the internet no one cares how old you are as long as you get the work done.

 

re: constant updates. YES. Very important! doesnt matter if they are just progress shots, just keep em coming. Drop box is the best option, but emails with screen shots/play blasts also work well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in the UK it is probably the case that big studios based in London are just set up to have a stream of freelancers working on site on a stream of projects, and off site is just another hassle they don't need. Small studios, without spare desks, or clients away from the centre of things, are more likely to be set up to hand jobs out to remote designers.

It definitely helps to be a generalist, so you can cover every aspect of a job - typically I handle art direction, editing, design, animation, vfx, sound design, whatever it takes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do 100% of my work remotely and have for many years now. Of course, there isn't much choice since I'm in Maine, but it certainly can be done. As others have said, you need to develop the client relationships first before this kind of a move. I paid my dues in the Atlanta market before moving back up here, and none of my established clients cared as long as I could get them what they needed. While I'm certain that there are many projects where companies need people in-house (especially in large work pipelines) I don't think it's necessary on a lot of projects. When working remotely you do have to bend over backwards sometimes to offset the impression that you are more "risky," but that's part of the deal.

 

Nobody seems to talk much about this, but there's some key advantages to using established, remote designers/ animators, in case you need to persuade a client with cold feet:

 

1) They don't need to provide you with space, a workstation, software, etc.

 

2) You are working on your own system that you set up yourself, so there is no learning curve working on a new system/ network etc.

 

3) If you're like me you have a million plugins and other pieces of software that you're probably not going to have access to on every in-house job.

 

4) You are (hopefully) in a comfortable, distraction free environment where you can be creative and efficient. This is huge for me; I am next to useless for days when planted into a new work environment with new people, equipment, etc, with someone looking over my shoulder.

 

5) When you work from home, you can often jump on emergencies immediately, and be around to monitor long renders, etc. Sure, you have to watch out that clients don't abuse this, but it's a big advantage being able to see a problem with a render and fix it on Friday night rather than discovering it on Monday morning at your client's office.

 

Anyway, I don't want to give the impression that I'm somehow down on in-house freelancing, but you can make things work remotely as long as you know what you're getting into.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I totally agree with you Scott. It's weird so many people have cold feet about the remote thing there's a lot of advantages for both sides. Especially with skype there isn't a ton of difference between being remote or in house unless it's you are really going to be part of a larger pipeline.

 

I think the biggest barrier to having people working remote that a lot of people won't own up to or say out loud is: For remote to be successful and cost effective on the client side they need to have a good idea/vision of what they want going in, and you need a minimum level of organization and grasp of deadlines going in to the project. I've found that a lot of times remote clients can be better clients because of these prerequisites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it seems to depend on the project and the role I'm filling. Whenever I do motion graphics work, I'm on site for the most part. Usually that means I'm working from my laptop, so if I get a spark of inspiration on the drive home or after dinner. I can hop on and make try out my idea at home. I actually prefer working on site for a few different reasons. The main reason, being that I have access to the editor, asst. editors, AD, CD and producers on the job. It's a more streamlined process and I enjoy the interaction. I can immediately see if things are working or not. I'm sometimes in the room working while conference calls are going on with the executives back at the agencies. I then hear the notes from the source, not 2 or 3 people down the line. It's all about efficiency. The other plus side is that after a long day, I get to go home. When I work at home, I often feel that I'm stuck in my house for days on end, by myself, staring at the computer until my girlfriend comes home. It tends to blend into one long day. Not to mention, if I'm waiting on notes for 3 hours, I feel like I'm wasting that time because I could be doing something else. If I'm on location, not only do notes tend to come in quicker, but I can use that time to explore new ideas with the creatives from the agency.

When I'm working as an editor, it seems to be about 50/50. It usually depends on the type of project, the client and how involved they are. Some times I must be on location due to the sheer volume of footage that has to be shared on a SAN (in the case of tv shows). Other times I pick up or get mailed a harddrive full of assets and work in my home office. At the end of the day, the quality of the work doesn't show whether I'm working from home or not, so I guess the only thing that matters is which is more efficient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I work remotely 100% of the time and it suits me, I phased out working on site years ago after experiences similar to Vozzz's. Scott's list a sums up the advantages, and the clients who find it difficult tend to be the ones who have in-house communication issues, most clients see the advantage.

 

Of course, being able to check on a render at 3.30am when you get up for a slash might not seem much of a selling point, but most clients can see the advantage of me being able to monitor renders etc at all hours; and as has been mentioned communication is key.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whenever I do motion graphics work, I'm on site for the most part. Usually that means I'm working from my laptop, so if I get a spark of inspiration on the drive home or after dinner. I can hop on and make try out my idea at home. I actually prefer working on site for a few different reasons. The main reason, being that I have access to the editor, asst. editors, AD, CD and producers on the job. It's a more streamlined process and I enjoy the interaction. I can immediately see if things are working or not. I'm sometimes in the room working while conference calls are going on with the executives back at the agencies. I then hear the notes from the source, not 2 or 3 people down the line. It's all about efficiency. The other plus side is that after a long day, I get to go home. When I work at home, I often feel that I'm stuck in my house for days on end, by myself, staring at the computer until my girlfriend comes home. It tends to blend into one long day. Not to mention, if I'm waiting on notes for 3 hours, I feel like I'm wasting that time because I could be doing something else. If I'm on location, not only do notes tend to come in quicker, but I can use that time to explore new ideas with the creatives from the agency.

You made some good points. Most of the times i prefer to work in a team with "real" people instead of sitting at home alone all day. Especially communication can be a big issue if there are too many re-tellers between you and a customer. Anybody remember the good old chinese whispers game? Customer talks to producer - producer talks to CD - CD talks to AD - AD talks to second producer - second producer phones you - green turns blue, frame-rates and formats get mixed up and "a slight touch of humor" eventually ends up as "cartoon style"... (I'm having exactly this situation at the moment, with me being the guy in the middle between the customer, an agency and a bunch of remote freelancers and some days i'm spending more time on the phone than designing / animating myself).

 

Projects that take less than two weeks and can be handled by just me are ok for remote work, for the rest - and thats the majority of my jobs - i'll prefer to work on site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Most of the times i prefer to work in a team with "real" people instead of sitting at home alone all day. Especially communication can be a big issue if there are too many re-tellers between you and a customer.

 

I completely agree with you about working with real people. But I kinda feel that better communication and less broken telephone in an in house environment is not always the case. Good communication is good communication whether in house or remote. I've had plenty of in house gigs where directors and producers were MIA (on location somewhere else, busy with pitches, other clients or whatever) and I still pretty much only communicated with them via email, or through a third party even though I was sitting at a desk in "their studio".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats one thing i love about remote clients. They are SO much better organised. Managing remote artists is by no means an easy feat. So it requires the guys to be very organized and know what they want. So less messing about.

 

re: chinese whispers. I dunno, but i hate getting feedback directly from the client. Because clients soooo often lack basic understanding of time vs speed. ( I cant make it go faster without the whole piece being shorter!!!, its maths!!!). And similar stuff. having multiple layers between me and the client means i get actual instructions rather than gut feelings.

 

re: sitting at home. Thats where having a smart phone with a data plan is super important. When im waiting for feedback or whatever. I can go out to the park, river, go to the gym, meet up with friends, go for a drink, and as soon as there is feedback just come back home.

 

If you have a laptop and live in a city with readily available wifi at bars. Befriending the bartenders means you can leave your laptop behind the bar, and if something comes up while you are out, you can quickly hop on, make adjustments and right back to drinking :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I completely agree with you about working with real people. But I kinda feel that better communication and less broken telephone in an in house environment is not always the case. Good communication is good communication whether in house or remote. I've had plenty of in house gigs where directors and producers were MIAbut i don't think (on location somewhere else, busy with pitches, other clients or whatever) and I still pretty much only communicated with them via email, or through a third party even though I was sitting at a desk in "their studio".

you're right, bad communication is often a problem in our industry - but i don't think it gets better by adding even more steps to the process. I just like to talk to customers directly because if i ask the right questions, i can get straight answers instead of just interpretations of assumptions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was freelancing I did most of my work from my home/studio. I totally agree it's about effective communication with the client. My clients were almost exclusively larger studios doing work for agencies.

 

The way I looked at it was that the art director and/or producer have a certain amount of stress about if the project is going to be both high quality and ready by the deadline. I'd always keep in contact by telephone and email (quicktime previews and full screen JPGs) to the point that the client always had the confidence that everything was tracking towards a favourable outcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slight thread hijack but related:

 

I am always trying to balance how much WIPSs/rough stuff I send to clients.

 

I'm curious for you guys who say you send stuff often, are those jpegs and .movs always for sign off, do you always have to stop working while you wait for client feedback?

 

I like the idea of really keeping that back and forth going but I've been in situations where you send rough work and then get caught in useless change spiral where people keep asking for modifications and direction changes because they can't see past the rough stage, and you have trouble getting some momentum going with the project. Or you send frequent updates and the delay in notes means you are always getting feedback 3 or 4 versions back and have to backtrack and throw out a lot of your progress.

 

I know some directors I have worked with who have a philosophy of just go away for a while then show the client something that's finished and great and maybe they'll ask you to change the blue to green and that's it. This is a pretty risky approach and not something I would do. I tend to be more milestone based like I'll show you boards, animatic, rough, polished not really in between stages, and when I show you something it's a definite press pause for notes and signoff situation.

 

I'd love to have a bit more back and forth if I could figure out ways to do it without stalling a project, and send frequent updates if it could reassure clients rather than panic them at seeing rough work, but I feel like most of the time I do this it bites me in the ass.

 

Anyhow just curious to hear how frequent you guys like to check in when working remote, and how you make sending in wips and the frequent check ins work?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Slight thread hijack but related:

 

I am always trying to balance how much WIPSs/rough stuff I send to clients.

 

I'd love to have a bit more back and forth if I could figure out ways to do it without stalling a project, and send frequent updates if it could reassure clients rather than panic them at seeing rough work

 

That's something I struggle with a lot too, clients seeing rough work. I prefer to map things out quickly in a very rough form and then when the idea is coming together start dedicating the time needed to make it look polished. Sometimes even doing a total rebuild because I built V1 so sloppy. I like to make sure eveyone is at least in agreement about the general direction something should go in before spending time on things like lighting and texturing.

 

Some things I've found that help are talking over the phone before I send something out that isn't final quality. I try to tell them what feedback i'm looking for and what to ignore. In an email no one actually reads your disclaimer before looking at the work. Also doing things like turning on AO for in progress renders and not adding any color until you have time to properly light and texture a scene can kill a lot of premature comments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm another remote worker and I feel you guys on the WIP situation. I think it depends a lot on who your client is, if your doing something directly for the end client that isn't used to dealing with the process or with a large agency where there's lots of people that will be looking at it I find having things a little further along and more polished is usually easier so people don't get as hung up on rough details. If your working more for a boutique motion shop/post house/director or having a closer collaboration with other artists rougher WIPS seem to be fine as they have a creative mind and get the gist of where your going. Usually if it's an agnecy/end client presentation I stop working on it till feedback comes in, if it's just between artists it's usually ok to keep going but I like having the email/phone conversation about what they're seeing before they see it, while they're looking at it, or very shortly after I've sent the samples.

 

I tend to go with milestones similar to anothername - lay out a road map of initial style direction, storyboards, animatic, and finals - but this really depends on the scope of the project. Some things are quick 1 offs where it's not entirely necessary to board everything out. Just making sure everyone is on the same page about when and what your showing them usually helps with the premature crits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Knowing when to send work in progress comps is an art, not a science, and it varies from client to client. I tend towards only showing things in as finished a state as possible but there's often times when you need approval on something early so you can move on to the next stage. The best you can do is to over communicate a bit on the fact that you're showing a rough, and you're looking for feedback on a specific thing. Most of the time clients get it, but often they don't and you have to walk them through it again. I have a couple of clients that are notorious for not reading the full text of my emails and will send a page of notes on a rough comp that is an exact replica of the things that I listed in the email that have not been addressed yet. Sometimes you even get a little tone from them, like you've ignored their crystal clear directions. It's frustrating but its part of the business.

 

As an aside, I think rough comps/ storyboards are a minefield with half of the clients out there. Some people just can't visualize things, and showing something representative of what you're going to be doing in the future just confuses the issue. There's no way around it with many projects, but I'm constantly amazed at how many people work in this industry that can't process representative imagery. Again, it's our job to walk them through it. Our ability to communicate and explain is as important as our design and animation chops in many cases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>Thanks for those replies guys. Good to know I'm not alone in struggling with this.

 

I like that idea of sending black and white renders until stuff is fully lit and textured. Sometimes I watermark my stuff with text like "temp mograph" although even that doesn't always sink in.

 

I'm constantly amazed at how many people work in this industry that can't process representative imagery.

 

I am trying to become as zen as I possibly can about this. My mantra is "they have no visual imagination, that's why they hired you, if they had visual imagination then they wouldn't need you."

 

Edited by anothername

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i work 100% remotely. paid my dues in the silicon valley and got a lot of recommendations that helped create trust for potential clients nationwide. what i did was got recommendations from old coworkers and clients via LinkedIn and used them as testimonials on my website. seemed to help, now most of the inquiries i get are people asking for work rather than trying to feel me out as a potential contractor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...