Hopefully, we’ve all skilled the delight of actually good service—the sort that leaves a smile in your face and story to be instructed. Equally, the possibilities are excessive that we’ve skilled the sort of service that leaves a bitter style in your mouth and an indignant tweet drafted—typically posted—on social media.
Each could have a long-lasting affect.
For those who’re a freelancer, the service you present builds your status, which may make the distinction between working and never working. However it cuts each methods.
For those who’re a consumer, the best way you deal with your freelancers—deliberately or not—can dramatically have an effect on the extent of creativity, high quality, and success you see delivered in consequence.
So, to assist shoppers get the perfect outcomes from their freelance inventive groups, and to help fellow freelancers of their inventive careers, I assumed I’d share ten ideas for easy methods to be a greater consumer from the attitude of an skilled freelancer and consumer who’s seen the great, the dangerous, and the ugly from each side.
Right here’s the shortlist of what’s forward
Of all of the steps within the inventive course of, the temporary is arguably crucial. It’s additionally essentially the most ignored or underbaked.
Perhaps everybody’s simply so wanting to get began that we make the idea that all of us have the identical concept of what we’re making, however assumptions are harmful.
The purpose of the briefing stage is to result in as a lot readability as potential. It usually takes loads of questions, requests for additional explanations, and circling across the similar matters a couple of occasions to actually grasp a typical understanding of what everyone seems to be speaking about.
The purpose of the briefing stage is to result in as a lot readability as potential.
A scenario I’ve typically seen is that the important thing stakeholder—the boss who has final log off—has already given some imprecise suggestion of what they need and that internal-mini-brief is then being interpreted and expanded on by the consumer (you) that the freelance staff (me) is working for.
However now we’re already one layer faraway from the unique supply and makes it seemingly that you just’ll hit a “This isn’t what I requested for!” declare down the road.
This may be demanding for all events, inflicting increasing budgets and tightening deadlines as everybody tries to shoe-horn the venture into one thing that matches the boss’ intent.
So rule #1—if the individual with the final word log off isn’t within the room, proceed with warning. And ask a bunch of questions.
Inquiries to ask in a briefing session
- Who’re we attempting to speak to?
- What are we attempting to say?
- Why are we saying it?
- What do we would like them to assume/really feel/do in consequence?
- What would success appear to be?
- How will we measure that?
- How will the ultimate product be used/distributed/watched/skilled?
- How will it slot in (with the model/web site/world/and many others.)?
- What’s the single most essential factor that is all about?
You’ll hardly ever remorse spending ‘an excessive amount of time’ on the inventive temporary, and it’s time value spending. Many of the issues you’ll face down the road will seemingly outcome from spending too little time ensuring that you just and your creatives are all on the identical web page.
I like to complete briefing periods by asking ‘Let me see if I’ve acquired this proper…’ after which clarify what I feel they imply again to them. This shortly exposes any gaps in our shared understanding and permits them to be stuffed in by means of additional dialogue.
Go Inside a Artistic Temporary
“The problem within the discovery session is to actually perceive what the consumer is speaking about and utilizing phrases to explain photographs is usually difficult.
So after we transfer into the inventive temporary now we have to take the message from the consumer and the concept they’ve of their heads after which be sure that we’re speaking that to the designers in the best way that they perceive.
Now we work with a design staff that has many various individuals from many various backgrounds and so communication is only a large problem on this section.”
This documentary sequence from The Futur, takes you contained in the nitty gritty element of a inventive rebrand for a beer firm, but in addition helps to put out, step-by-step, what a professionally directed inventive course of can appear to be. Within the episode beneath, they particularly cowl the briefing course of.
Prep the small print
The subsequent obstacle to a easy begin is an absence of consideration to the small print early on. As a freelancer, slightly prep work from my shoppers will help to optimize my time and scale back the variety of emails you’ll get from me asking ‘for yet another factor.’
Particularly, I’m speaking about placing a ‘brand-pack’ collectively and handing it to each freelancer you rent. It’ll save everybody effort and time in the long term.
This model pack ought to a minimum of embody:
- A full set of brand-approved logos. Ideally as an RGB vector file, with black or white variations if obtainable. (For those who solely have raster information, be sure that they’re in a lossless format with transparency.)
- Model fonts and steerage on how they’re used.
- Model colours as swatches with RGB shade values.
- Model tips for sizing, look, really feel and many others.
- Mock ups of brand name in varied contexts.
Invariably new graphics, titles and movement graphics will probably be created for the venture and having the ability to create these with a minimum of the essential parameters being appropriate, can save loads of time afterward reworking non permanent titles into the true deal.
As a really fast apart, please by no means ship a tough drive with the cable nonetheless hooked up! As an editor I see this on a regular basis and it might probably result in issues accessing the information on the drive if the cable or the connector will get broken in transit.
Do embody the cable with drive, pay for a courier to ship it or a minimum of observe the supply and ensure you have a backup copy of every little thing earlier than you ship something out.
For those who’re supplying a ‘paper edit’—a listing of timecodes or choices for the way the venture may be structured—please additionally embody the next particulars per part.
- Begin timecode.
- Begin line of dialogue/motion.
- Finish timecode.
- Ultimate line of dialogue/motion.
- File identify you’re referencing.
In case your editor has already prepped footage to be reviewed and burned in some timecode onto the display, please reference this in your paper edit, slightly than your present period into the file.
Sharing references together with your creatives may be an extremely useful factor to do; The identical phrases imply various things to totally different individuals. Due to this fact sharing references, examples of the sorts of present work you wish to draw inspiration from, will help put one thing in entrance of everybody which you can level at and say, that is what I imply!
This launch video for Inside The Edit in 2014, clearly references the Apple keynote animation from 2013 (beneath). They’ve an identical really feel, look, design aesthetic and sonic palette.
However what for those who had been solely attempting to level at one facet of that. Perhaps the sonic palette, or the mild feeling, or the sense of constantly evolving motion.
For those who share a reference that you must be particular in regards to the elements you’d wish to emulate or incorporate. It isn’t sufficient to ship a bunch of hyperlinks and say ‘this type of factor’, as this can depart an excessive amount of room for gaps to emerge within the interpretation.
Speaking About Shade is Like Dancing About Structure
Colorist and shade scientist Cullen Kelly has additionally written a wonderful article for colorists (and shoppers) on how to talk about color, which can as soon as once more offer you tactical assets for taking advantage of working with an skilled inventive.
As Cullen factors out “Receiving and speaking visible concepts by means of phrases is never straightforward, and it’s all of the harder with remote color workflows devoid of physique language, facial cues, and typically even tone of voice.”
Cullen’s methods for understanding what everybody means when wanting on the similar photographs, can readily be utilized to leveraging visible references at the beginning of the inventive course of.
I’ll comprehend it after I see it
For all this discuss of the significance of taking the time to completely discover the inventive temporary, planning forward for as many particulars as potential and utilizing visible references as a shortcut to inventive readability, typically you possibly can solely comprehend it once you see it.
Creativity is an iterative strategy of discount and refinement. So each creatives and shoppers have to be snug with trusting within the course of, and understanding that the primary reduce isn’t the ultimate product.
One of many pitfalls of this requirement is when each shoppers and creatives are uncomfortable with sharing unfinished work. We wish to impress with our inventive aptitude and get forward of any potential consumer issues by ironing out all of the bumps earlier than we present it.
Shoppers typically have a consumer of their very own (their boss) to whom they normally don’t wish to present unfinished work for the exact same causes.
These issues can simply be addressed by exhibiting a less than excellent model first.
However this may trigger issues when time, effort and assets are needlessly spent refining one thing that will later be completely superfluous. These issues can simply be addressed by exhibiting a less than excellent model first, the place the main focus is on structural modifications over ultimate sharpening.
Displaying a piece in progress model is a bit like heading to the tailors and seeing a go well with or a costume on the model with pins protruding of it and chalk throughout it.
You need to strive it on and that received’t be as snug or satisfying as the ultimate match but when we don’t get the measurements appropriate at the beginning, it’ll by no means match correctly on the finish.
Suggestions: mo’ rounds, mo’ cash
Getting suggestions issues, and one of many issues I like about utilizing Body.io is that I can set it up so that everybody can see everybody else’s feedback.
Which means I don’t get caught in the course of conflicting requests for modifications as my shoppers can work out any inventive disagreements amongst themselves within the feedback. I can anticipate the ultimate conclusion to emerge earlier than I roll out the subsequent set of modifications.
Bringing everybody collectively directly saves you loads of time, effort and finally cash, as you condense the necessity for a number of rounds of modifications because the venture passes by means of successive layers of authority.
That is why it’s particularly essential to usher in anybody with ‘final log off’ as early as potential, if their opinion carries the best clout.
It really works nicely both with everybody in the identical room to observe and overview collectively—the physicality of which actually helps with tone of voice, gesticulation and jokes—or asynchronously with a service like Body.io, with everybody responding at their very own tempo but nonetheless sustaining that collaborative connection.
In fact, you possibly can nonetheless select to depart the most important resolution maker out of the ultimate course of till the very finish. However when the boss axes the complete factor and questions the validity of creating it within the first place, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Belief is prime to any profitable relationship. That is additionally true of the connection between consumer and inventive.
Hopefully you’ve employed somebody who has the expertise, competence and character to have received your belief within the first place, so please belief that they know what they’re doing.
Everybody on the desk must put the ego to at least one facet and give attention to the essential decisions.
In case your freelancer mentions that one thing won’t be a good suggestion, it may be value listening to them out. However it’s your venture, so keep in mind that they’ll really feel obliged to ship precisely what you ask for. Simply be ready to listen to some counterpoint and inventive concepts, and keep in mind that they’re all finally within the service of assembly your targets for the venture.
This additionally signifies that everybody on the desk must put the ego to at least one facet and give attention to the essential decisions that greatest serve the stakeholder’s said goals, even when which means chopping out our favourite contribution.
It’s notably difficult once you’ve invested a lot within the venture, however in the long run, it’s not about us.
Plan for the long run
Most of the time the shelf lifetime of a video is longer than anticipated. This creates an issue and a chance. The issue is that featured workers will depart, statistics will change, and particulars will have to be amended.
The chance of extending the helpful shelf lifetime of your video with a couple of incremental updates is that it considerably will increase the return on the preliminary funding. For those who plan for it.
As a consumer, it’s useful to request a grasp copy of the ultimate video that has no graphics and no music on it. Which means will probably be extra simply updatable sooner or later as these parts received’t have been baked in.
As a freelancer, it helps to construct a long term relationship together with your shoppers as a way to shortly add worth to present tasks by having the ability to make easy updates at an inexpensive worth.
However which means that somebody must…
Make a copy of every little thing
The simplest approach to have the ability to guarantee the long run viability of your venture is to make a copy of every little thing—all the footage, venture information, graphics, music, subtitles and different assorted property that kind the ultimate deliverables.
What’s essential is to agree, upfront, who’s going to be liable for sustaining and securing this archive.
My private desire is at hand over a replica of every little thing to my shoppers in order that they’ve entry to and are liable for protecting a replica of every little thing. Or, if they like, I’ll cost my shoppers an inexpensive charge for adequately backing it up someplace securely. (That mentioned, I work with so most of the similar shoppers repeatedly, who typically need entry to older tasks, that I find yourself protecting a de facto archive anyway.)
As a counterpoint to this, I do know that some skilled colorists, editors and movement graphics artists, desire to not hand over their venture information to shoppers for worry of others making modifications to, or reusing, their work additional down the road with out their consent.
That is the place having an preliminary dialogue at the beginning of the venture, about what the ultimate deliverables will probably be and who will retailer them in perpetuity, is so essential for avoiding a final minute conflict of assumptions.
Assuming all goes nicely
Shock and delight your freelancers by paying early.
I’ve one (magical) consumer who pays the minute they obtain my bill. Now, I do know this isn’t at all times potential, the truth is, it’s a large outlier and I’ve additionally suffered by the hands of 90-day fee phrases.
However the essential lesson right here is, for shoppers and freelancers to have an upfront dialogue about fee phrases, timelines and paperwork.
If your organization operates to a prescribed and unwavering set of inflexible fee phrases, please talk this to your freelancers up entrance in order that they’ll plan for this in their very own money stream processes.
In my expertise, most of my shoppers are in salaried positions the place they’ll depend on their month-to-month pay cheque arriving on time and don’t know what it’s wish to function as a freelancer, the place every bill could make an enormous distinction to their financial institution stability.
That is one space which is usually left to the very finish of a venture and infrequently requires fulfilling the paperwork necessities of the finance and accounting division. I’ve at all times vastly appreciated any shoppers who will champion, chase and talk with these colleagues on my behalf.
This preliminary dialogue also can assist to align each side in case your phrases and your freelancers fee phrases are totally different, the place typically the paying shoppers phrases are longer than the freelancers invoicing request.
It’s a big assist when shoppers attempt to accommodate for this distinction in a roundabout way. For instance, if the ultimate fee will probably be greater than 30 days in coming, agreeing to pay 50% up entrance will help to maintain freelancers afloat whereas they wait and preserve the venture working easily within the meantime.
Lastly on the subject of fee, if there are ever any delays in having the ability to make that fee, at all times talk this as early as potential together with your freelancers (and perhaps clarify what may be executed to resolve it). They’ll then be able to plan accordingly, slightly than having to ship chasing emails to seek out out why a fee is late.
Whereas most individuals don’t like to speak about cash all that a lot, how this a part of the method is dealt with typically frames the working expertise for the freelancer. Everyone seems to be blissful to work for a consumer who pays on time, and even early!
Lastly, assuming all goes nicely, take into account sending a word to say thanks. A brief appreciative e-mail or a quote they’ll use as an affidavit on their website is gold mud to onerous working freelancers, but prices shoppers nothing however a couple of minutes of thought.
Rent them once more
When the time comes for the subsequent venture, assuming all went nicely with the primary one, you may have the ability to go searching and discover somebody cheaper when evaluating day-rates or venture proposals. Simply keep in mind that there are an entire vary of priceless intangibles that you’ll lose out on for those who don’t rent the identical freelancers once more.
What are these priceless intangibles? Nice query.
You’ll lose the construct up of institutional reminiscence that the freelancer could have constructed up about your model. Figuring out what your targets and preferences are, who totally different members of employees are, how your model or enterprise operates, the sorts of aesthetic type and approaches that succeed with you.
You need to rebuild the working relationship and set up belief between your self and your inventive staff and take one other gamble on the identical stage of inventive expectations being met as soon as once more.
Belief, confidence, and power of relationship are priceless commodities that don’t seem as line objects.
You’ll additionally lose entry to that shared widespread language and understanding that underpins an environment friendly inventive course of and which removes a few of the setup prices (briefing, references and many others.) that you just (hopefully) invested in early on the primary time round.
Belief, confidence, and power of relationship are priceless commodities that don’t seem as line objects in a spreadsheet when evaluating quotes, however can materially remodel the standard of the tip outcome, and guarantee a much more pleasurable expertise.
Till the subsequent time, once you construct on it another time.