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Thread: How did you get your start?

  1. #1

    How did you get your start?

    Maybe this should be in the Tips & Tricks <g>...

    Anyway, I'm wondering how those of you making a living as a freelance artist got your start. I'm not so much looking to land a job somewhere, nor get rich. Rather, I'd like to offer my services as a freelance artist and earn a decent living doing something I truly enjoy. I'm just not much of a sales guy, so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Did you beat the street and knock on doors? Did you advertise locally, on the web, etc? How did you get your first customers?

    Thanks!

    Jason
    Check out the free computer arts forums at
    http://www.akota.com

  2. #2
    Super Duper Member! :)
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    Well,

    I am not really making tons of money, BUT I have made a few bucks via http://www.turbosquid.com and just got my first sale at http://www.cafeshops.com/mastermesh a few days ago... Markets like these and http://www.renderosity.com have tons of potential in the right artist's hands.
    If you want a REAL DEAL go to http://www.cafeshops.com/mastermesh where you can get over 4000 jpg files on cd for $18.99

  3. #3
    50% More Teflon than Maya kmscottmoore's Avatar
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    Jason,

    Freelancing is a tough gig no matter what anybody else tells you. There will be times when you are pulling your hair out, wondering if you can pay the rent this month. As far as marketing goes, the old standbys work best: Phone calls, direct mail, and personal contacts. A website is nice to have as an easily accesible portfolio, but I have never gotten any work from the web alone. My first freelance gig was for a company that I used to work for full-time. It never hurts to know someone on the inside.

    Also, consider the type of work that you want to do. Very few people make a living doing monsters, robots, space ships, and babes in metal bikinis. Plus, every sci-fi geek in the world is dying to do that type of stuff, and the line for those jobs is pretty long. If you like doing that sort of thing, do it for yourself, in your spare time, but I wouldn't pin my hopes on making a living from it.

    There are other uses for 3D in other industries, although they may seem to be less glamourous than big movie productions or video games. Architechture, advertising, industrial design; they all use 3D in one form or another.
    KM Scott Moore

  4. #4
    Hi,

    Yeah, fortunately I'm not into the sci-fi/babes/etc. I like more technical things, with room for creativity. I'd like to do medical visualization, technical sims, etc. I actually originally set out hoping to do logo work for advertising. I just don't know where to start.

    I'm working on a demo to showcase the areas I'd like to work in. I agree that the sci-fi arena has too many chefs in the kitchen. Which is actually nice, because it seems like the type of work I am interested in has more opportunity, less competition.

    Thanks for the responses!

    Jason
    Check out the free computer arts forums at
    http://www.akota.com

  5. #5
    MeshMaster,

    I like the Turbosquid idea. I created an account on there awhile back because I wanted to buy some stuff, but I didn't realize you could sell stuff there too!

    Way cool!

    Jason

    BTW, Like your stuff!
    Check out the free computer arts forums at
    http://www.akota.com

  6. #6
    akota,

    Have you ever worked anywhere doing 3D or graphics before?
    I suggest you work at a job for a couple of years to get some experience with real production before trying to go freelance.
    I worked for a video company for 5 years before I went freelance.
    You need to build up a portfolio and make a web site to show prespective customers what you can do. Once you get known in your area you can get customer referals from other customers and start to build a client list. You need to have at least 5 ongoing repeat business clients to really support yourself. It is unlikely that one client will always keep you busy but if you spread it out over 3 to 5 you can usually always get some work.
    Also you can check out your local chamber of commerce and get in professional association directories. I live in Texas and there is a TAFTP (Texas Association of Film and Tape Professionals) directory that you can list yourself in.

    Cheers,
    JS

  7. #7
    Hi JS,

    I currently work as the IT admin for a machine shop. It's a small shop so people wear many hats. One of my duties is managing CAD files from customers, ie: translation, modification. In this regard I have some experience with Solidworks over the past few years, even a quick week long course. That's the extent of my experience in the workplace. The rest has been personal endeavors. I have done a few small jobs for local businesses, print work, I even produced a complete commercial for broadcast television (which came out quite well!). I know I need some seasoning, but I think I've got a good start. Most of all, I've got ambition. I've been interested in computer graphics since I was in Jr High on my old Atari 800XL, woo-hoo! My biggest hurdle at this point is time. I need more hours in the day! How does that tie back to my original post? Well, I'd like to know what worked for those who have been successful, since I don't have time for trial and error :-) I work full time, I have a full (15 credit quarterly) class load, lovely wife and 3 kids with a 4'th on the way. All this while trying to get my freelance career off the ground!

    Thanks for the input!

    Jason
    Check out the free computer arts forums at
    http://www.akota.com

  8. #8
    Originally posted by akota
    I work full time, I have a full (15 credit quarterly) class load, lovely wife and 3 kids with a 4'th on the way. All this while trying to get my freelance career off the ground!
    Wow..

    I’m not trying to dissuade you, but I admire your ambition. Most of the freelancers I know (who rely on freelancing as their only source of income) are very high strung people. Living from one project to another..

    I don’t think its something I could do..
    Although I do dream about it often

  9. #9
    That seems to be to my benefit. I am "assuming" (and we know that can get me in to trouble) that if I can handle what I handle now that I should be able to tackle freelance work once school and (hopefully) my full time job are out of the picture.
    Check out the free computer arts forums at
    http://www.akota.com

  10. #10
    There's something I should add. Along with not looking to get rich, I'm also not trying to slingshot my venture into orbit. I have a couple years of school left, so I don't mind taking my time to build up my business. I just want to get started in the right direction and not waste time, money, or effort chasing the wrong paths
    Check out the free computer arts forums at
    http://www.akota.com

  11. #11
    Registered User ballew's Avatar
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    Originally posted by akota
    Hi,

    Yeah, fortunately I'm not into the sci-fi/babes/etc. I like more technical things, with room for creativity. I'd like to do medical visualization, technical sims, etc.

    You might want to consider doing forensic animations for lawyers. Their requirements range from simple animations illustrating normal witness's testimony to complex visuallization of an expert witness's testimony. Pay scales will vary according to the case and the ability of their clients to pay.

    Craig

  12. #12
    Originally posted by ballew
    You might want to consider doing forensic animations for lawyers. Their requirements range from simple animations illustrating normal witness's testimony to complex visuallization of an expert witness's testimony. Pay scales will vary according to the case and the ability of their clients to pay.

    Craig
    A most excellent suggestion!

    Thanks!
    Check out the free computer arts forums at
    http://www.akota.com

  13. #13
    Registered User Hervé's Avatar
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    I watched your demo. Nice. no more no less.

    my advice

    - change that hard rock music in the reel
    (that music looks like pre-mature teen..., dont misunderstand, I like the Stooges...)

    - dont put back stuff twice (at the end)
    (coz it looks U have just that, even if it's true, don show it...)

    - the (just) sky tracer part has no interest.
    (at least if you like time lapse sky, go for OGO stuff... $30...)

    Well I hope you're in the US, Coz in Europe I would have say.... woaw Good Luck !

    For instance, forensic stuff "almost " never exists in Europe... well I might be wrong, but at least in France...

    Last, I hope Your Wife's working....

    That's it, maybe a bit hard to hear, but I always say what I think, unlike many others...

    (that's why I have no friends...


    Anyway, as French people say.... "merde"

    (means luck in this case, but dont say luck, or yo'll be UN-lucky...)

    Ciao

  14. #14
    you are sooo mean! sniff...

    Just Kidding!

    Actually, I apprecitate the input!
    Check out the free computer arts forums at
    http://www.akota.com

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