View Full Version : The Thin End of the Wedge.

08-25-2003, 04:32 PM
I'm gonna say a whole bunch of potentially irritating and annoying things here, so please direct invective, bile and outright flamage to the eddress in my profile, or via PM.

Anyway. Meat of the matter.

I've been a professional graphic artist for about a decade now. I've done 2D, 3D, still and animated. I've composited, I've edited, I've mocapped, I've done medical imaging, science fiction animation, character work, sci fi novel covers, I've blown stuff up and I've modelled, textured, lit, animated and rendered my little heart out.

I've scrounged together 20GHz of render power from all my friends to hit deadlines. I've bent over backwards, worked my mandatory 72 hours at the desk, and even moved a sleeping bag into the studio for the occasional under-the-desk catnap.

I've trashed relationships. I've been hospitalised and spent the night on a ventilator. I've been sued. I've lost assets. I've run the freaking gamut. And you know what?

I'm still worrying about where my next month's rent is coming from. And I personally know of three people who're driving Porsches and Ferraris and the like because they got rich selling on my efforts to an end client.

And I'm sick of it!

So where do I go from here? I've pretty much capped out what a 3D freelancer can make in the UK... I don't here of many people anywhere else doing any better, and I'm fundamentally still getting the thin end of the wedge. What am I doing wrong? Someone? Please tell me?

If other people are getting rich off the projects I'm on, and I'm still counting beans and going "Hooplaaah!" 'cause I can afford my LW[8] upgrade, I'm doing something badly wrong.

Can anyone - please! tell me how to get the thick end of the wedge? I know a lot of guys have struggled longer, and harder, and have seen less, and I'm not impugning you in the least. But I just am not willing to get burnt out and sick getting other people rich anymore! And I'm not happy making just enough money to drink away my woes between gigs - but not enough to go on a proper holiday.

I spend wisely. I upgrade where I have to, in order to stay competative. The majority of my pre-tax profits gets ploughed right back into current-kit to keep my times down, my image quality up and my work environment as nice as I can.

And yet... I'm sick of this. I'm worse than the wageslave with a mortgage, because at least he has a stable-ish home to go to, with a wife, and possibly even a family. All I have is a pile of tech and a rent cheque - and do you know something? After so long, with so little real return, I'm starting to feel like a sap for loving my art.

So if anyone knows an answer, for gh0d's sake - let me know.

08-25-2003, 04:58 PM
I feel for you fella! This industry's been kicking me squarely in the nuts for the last decade - guess I must be gettin' to like the pain...

08-26-2003, 06:32 AM
Stop doing other peoples projects, take control of your own talents and do it for yourself. Unfortunately the industry is about riding on someone elses talent and hard work, if you avoid that then you will not only feel better you will also do better.

08-26-2003, 10:23 AM
Yes...Start your own buisness, you'll be on the very fatest part of the wedge.

08-26-2003, 11:47 AM
I just go shook of an employer that paid me less than half what I'm worth for 10 years and have a new working relationship with a successful professional MARKETER.

The arrangement is that I do the art and he does the SALES.

I can't tell you how much more smoothly things started going when I finally accepted the simple fact that I CAN'T SELL.

I was working in Austin, Texas at SheaXnough studios with Mike Priest, Danny Garrett and Guy Juke, and starving in the tradition of most creative-centric artists.

One of the girls that took studio space with us above an old commercial laundry complex, was a so-so artist but she was CHARMING beyond words. I was doing a very occasional job but thrilled clients once they'd seen my finished pieces. She on the other hanc had more work than she could handle, but had LOTS of semi-satisfied clients who were always demanding revisions and needed to change this or that, all the time.

In a casual conversation one night over some long-necks, I just blurted out that what we needed to do was put me behind a canvas and her in the client's office. I should be doing ALL her jobs and she could sell even more than she was. She had enough skill and talent to present herself as a (charming) artist and was completely conversant with the client and me, so I always had a clear idea what the client wanted and could produce results without confusion.

Your agent should be YOUR employee (working maybe on commission -- the more they sell the more they make) or partner, NOT your employer. :D

08-26-2003, 01:40 PM
That?s such a great story sbrandt. I do wonder though weather women always do better in that role in the creative fields, something to do with creativity being female in nature, maybe. Do women prefer liaising with women and men prefer contact with women, a kind of win win.

08-26-2003, 02:08 PM
I have NO idea what the ethological and psycho-social mumbo-jumbo implications are...

I was working with someone who people engaged with easily and was talented in her own right. The point is, I had an agent/partner who 1. knew the bussiness, and 2. could make sales. It could have been a guy...

The guy I'm working with right now has like qualities. ...don't see what difference that makes. :confused:

08-27-2003, 02:38 AM
Tip, make sure you also get to know the clients well, when things go wrong agents tend to walk off taking all the clients with them. Some strange things can sometimes happen, sometimes the clients have more faith in the agent than the people doing the great work.

08-27-2003, 03:06 AM
That's a great point.

That's why your agent should be an agent/employee or agent/partner. And... make sure you copyright your goodies as you go.

I've always had partners that never let me down and always made it clear that I was doing the ''magic'' (that was part of the sales pitch), so I've never really had to figure out a good technique for protecting clients from being snatched.

That's a real important issue that's certainly worth discussing.