30 minutes VS 30 Days: Project Scopes
Virtual Reality and VFX are two very different niches that not a lot of people understand. If I had a dollar for the amount of times that I was asked, "How long will it take for you to do a project for me," then I wouldn't even need to be freelancing. Before I even begin to answer this rather ambiguous question, there are three things that every freelancer needs to know.
1. What is the scope of the work?
2. What is the budget on the project?
3. When does it need to be complete?
Now, I say freelancer very loosely here because this can be applied to just about any project that you work on. The budget is very rarely a limiting factor for digital artists, although some may disagree with price negotiations [which I will cover in a later blog, because there are plenty of fun stories that I have heard over the years]. However, scope and deadline can very easily intertwine to define how difficult a project truly is.
There are some moments that are very easy to define. Being a full time student, I can point out very easily which days I am available for work, and better estimate the time that it will take to have projects finished. If the project is well defined, this expedites the process even further. However, most prompts that digital creatives get are from non-digital creatives. Whether it is a business looking for motion graphics, a teacher looking for 360 video, or a car company looking for filming, most clients will assume that the work you will do is easy.
So, you have a vague idea of what you will be doing. The client says they will pay you to do that thing. Everything is fine right? No! Contracts need to be signed, statements of work drafted (and then revised and redrafted), and your client needs to be 100% certain of what they are getting into. But, how do you let the client know the quality of your work and the scope of what you can do to help with their project?
Thumbnail by ZHC:
DRAWING IRON MAN IN 3 HOURS, 30 MINUTES, 3 MINUTES, AND 30 SECONDS!
One method I have used is the 30 Minutes VS 30 Days example. I can confidently say that in 30 minutes I can create a decent gray-box of a VR level where you can pick things up and throw them. No assets, no effects, maybe a color or two, but very simple. However, given 30 days, this simple setup can evolve into a VR shooter, with movement and sounds and lights and maybe a few enemies depending on art direction.
Not only in this example does the client know what you are capable of, but they also know what the hours they pay you for is getting them. Say you charge $20/hr. For only $10 they have a very basic experience. And anything they pay above and beyond that is only bettering the basics they have been shown. This instills confidence and truly builds the partnership, and is something that I use often to illustrate what I can do for different clients.
In future blog posts I will definitely be going over another freelancing trust builder, the Design Challenge, and how I have used these to not only open the door to clients but build professional relationships along the way!