Search form

My first freelance job...

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
My first freelance job...

I'm an undergraduate student who has been studying animation and making personal films for a few years now. I have a friend who works on staff for a major political campaign and he called me this morning to tell me that they are looking for a series of web animations and he recommended that they look at my reel. I know that despite the millions of dollars they raise in campaign contributions they are trying to find someone to do this work as cheap as possible, which is the only reason why they are even considering a student. I want this commission badly and I'm willing to work for less than I ever would in the future, but I also want to get as much cash as I can. So I'm wondering if their are any experienced free lancers out there who can tell me what their usual rate of pay is, how that rate is determined, and how it compares to contracting a studio. If they like my reel and want to hire me I'd like to be prepared to present myself as a bargain, but not a total sucker. Any input would be great. Cheers.

If you are expected to deliver the whole thing, ready to broadcast, then you need to have the equipment, time ( and talent/expertise, of course).
You'll need to design the characters, storyboard it and cut an animatic for their approval. Then you'll have record any voice tracks, or set up any music to be cued to, prep your own exposure sheets, lay out the scenes, animate them, inbetween--shoot a rough cut at pencil test. The colour, edit, sequence up sounds and/or music. You'll have to do all this with whatever software you can get, with the equipment you have or can rent, or get time on.
Figure out what that will cost you and you have the starting point--then add in $$ for your time.

The rule of thumb for the cost of a 1 minute of professional animation is $10,000. To do this thing domestically, its simply going to cost.
That amount covers all of the above with contingencies to farm out sections such as editing to other local services that have the gear and the expertise.

Now, seriously........this is the cost of it. There are people and studios that say they can deliver for less, but really......what is one getting? If you are supplying service for a political agency, you will likely need to do it all above board ( no use of pirated software etc) because stuff like that can come back to haunt you both.

Software depends upon what the end results need--FLASH is common for the web, not not exclusive to it. You can expedite some of the above steps using software, but you also want to define each step so that you can budget for them--and the client knows what they are getting at each step.

If they want a series of these things, and you have to knock out, say.....a 1/2 dozen ( a month or so each one).......and you lowball budget of say........$5000 each, and it costs you $4000 grand to cover the materials and such for each --can you live on $1000 a month. That's $250 a week for 6 months.
Yea, it could take you a month or more to turn one of them out, more than likely--even if its a 30 second spot, and you'd need to cover your bills and such over that time.
You might need, say.......$5000 to start up the first one, and then turn out the remainder for $500 each.

You really need to gauge if you have the capacity to do this work, at present, or not.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

thanks a lot

This was very helpful.

To add to Kens advise...

Who's going to concept and write the scripts?:confused:

Oh sure, everyones a writer now, aren't they?;)
Odds are, they'll simply come up with some hideous copy all on their own.

So there you'll be with a bad concept and writing (with multiple changes ta boot) and expected to created something for the web, that they can't seem to find any money for...maybe they're saving the big bucks for the TV spots.:rolleyes:

Sorry to sound so jaded, but they may not value your time and effort...hence the "Get a student" to do it line.

They have the cash. They may have budgeted too little for what they want. With Kens help, you can educate them. Or, scale back what they can get for the money they're offering.

Good luck!