Update - Week 52 - 2021
End of the year! Ramp up to vacation time and quick push to finish NDA work for the year. Audit coming soon!
January 31, 2022
Weekly Sprint Stats:
Points Velocity per day
This is a short 2 day week to make progress of a client that I was hoping to finish this month, but I put the last two weeks of my work there. Unfortunately, this project is mostly NDA, meaning I can only talk a bit about my freelance experience and general tasks, but not show any work. This particular is a soup of bad decisions.
So basically my focus this week, right after Christmas, was to finish making some rocks and review some foliage to try push out some dead weight - a commitment I made a long time ago that was mis-managed. This project has been a long lasting one, probably my second biggest mistake of my career - where I have had to make a game asset pack for nearly nothing at a loss. I took the client on at a very low price during a high season end of 2020. I thought it would be possible to do it by delegating the artwork to other artists. I hired about 5 different artists to work on the project, each doing small tasks to test the waters with micro-contracts. They did the work, but for the price and artistic expectation, none managed to push the project forward even to the halfway point of delivering the final product. Eventually I burnt the client budget in the effort - which made the project underbid to begin with - and had to work on the rest myself, on top of spending a lot of work time time micro-managing artists. To push this project forward, I had half a dozen high priority clients to finish before getting free time to finish this one. This would take me nearly a year and a half to finish this project ultimately, a really bad name for myself. This client has been very patient, mainly because the quality is very high an the price extremely low - but now I'm working my free time to get out of the work my hired artists could not finish within budget. It was a chain of unfortunate decisions, I probably should not have taken on the client in the first place.
- - If you are to delegate a project to other artists, make sure you have a budget only for specific tasks, or have the management to micro-manage artists full time. You can't delegate an entire creative project to many other artists, unless they have a tonne of experience or excellent direction and training.
- - If you are to take on a client in a high season, charge a lot more than you usually would - because ultimately you are hired for your work, not other peoples work and you have to pay for your effort somehow.
- - If you can't take on a client in a high season, then kindly decline if possible and explain you're in a high season. "Maybe later".
- - Game asset packs are more expensive concerning labour than you think, so charge accordingly. Not only are you modeling, but you are also baking, making textures and doing creative blockout decisions and design - it's not simply "making some assets".
- - If I am going to make game asset packs, best do it with my own investment and sell it to the marketplace somewhere.
My plan for early next year, hopefully during January, is to finish this project once and for all - then focus on my love project with the good client - only take on one other if I am in capacity. As you have known, my performance is still x3-x4 times less than I should be to be on time, so I have to minimize my productive and creative focus. I also need to strategize how to onboard new talent and how to work new talent later on in life. One thing I noticed is that making artistic renditions of anything is not just a factory line, and it takes time, experience, skill and also hard work - this means I need talent that can do everything I want them to do and do it well, creatively but also productively. It's hard to find talent who are balanced in all those things, especially with local talent. Experience in the industry here is still very young, and with that... though it may be financially "cheap"... it comes out more expensive when it comes to deadlines and delegation. I think if I am to grow in this country, I either need talented experienced artists from around the world with projects and financing that can support that kind of talent - or work a local educational program to train and prepare the talent to work in the necessary pipeline to produce what I would like to produce. I have to think about this one long and hard... The other is, give up running projects with teamwork and work as an experienced talent overseas employed somewhere else, do outsourcing or be a freelancer solo forever. I am not sure which is worse - my vision is by far not down this lane. I do want to work with people and others, but it seems I have to be a lot more prepared and also... brutally honestwhen it comes to knowing how much I can delegate and how to delegate. I cannot delegate entire projects at a time.
So here I am, finishing up the year trying to bake out some topology of some procedural rocks based on some basic base meshes. I then will pack my bags, prepare for a 10 day holiday, first I've had in nearly 2 and a half years - and get some R&R to recover from all the screen time. This will also lead up to my performance audit - which I haven't done in nearly 2 years also. A lot needs to be mapped concerning production costs, rates, quoting systems, task bottlenecks and more - but after some time at the beach. This might make my vision and tasks for the next year clearer.