I bet when I came into a studio as a freelancer when I first started in the industry, I was pretty slow. Sure, I knew what I was doing but I had no idea how much that studio thought I was going to get done. I hope in retrospect that it was enough but you never know how people feel once you leave and your part of the job is finished. I will say I learned a lot from those first jobs I was given, they took a risk on me and I even got paid to learn. It felt pretty cool because I was just coming out of school where it was the total opposite; there you pay to learn.
What a crazy and wonderful thing when you think about it, being paid to learn…
I would never knowingly hire a new or inexperienced plumber to come in and fix my toilet. But I do it all the time when I hire a freelancer to work with LooseKeys. I’m typically hiring them either based off previous work they’ve done with people I know or off a few projects I saw in their portfolio. They aren’t necessarily inexperienced but I’m often aware of just a small portion of their work and can only guess on their skill level.
When you bring someone new in for the first time they probably aren’t going to be able to sit down on day one and knock out an animation like you would, unless it’s something simple like rotoscoping or logging footage… they better be up to speed on that.
When you hire a freelancer you want people who know what they are doing. Depending on the project, as a freelancer when you first step into a new studio you don’t know how that team handles projects or the way they work unless you’ve worked with them before. So it can take a couple days for a freelancer to get up to speed. However, when you’re on a deadline you often can’t waste those couple days training freelancers, especially when you’re working with a tight budget too. That’s one reason I think the same people end up freelancing at the same studios over and over again. That studio and in-house team trusts them and knows that they will get the work done without having to worry too much. That’s one reason I often work with the same people, I know what they can do and how quickly they can get it done.
Still, there are many times when I bring in someone new, either because other people are busy or I want to try someone else out. And sometimes these freelancers are new to the industry and still learning. I was given that chance to learn years ago and I know a lot of people were given that same chance too which is why I feel it’s important to try to do the same. They don’t always get done what I need them to get done and sometimes it might feel like I’ve wasted money even having them. It can be difficult in certain situations when you have tight deadlines and if you have an inexperienced freelancer working with you it can add more stress than help on the project. However in the end, I was able to introduce them to LooseKeys and the type of work we do. Hopefully, I was able to help them get a little better by either giving some advice on their animation or workflow. By no means do I know everything, every day I’m learning. That’s just part of the industry we are in; you’re always having to learn new software or techniques just to keep up. Now that they’ve worked with LooseKeys, hopefully next time I work with them they might be that much better.
The best way to improve is by working with people who have been doing design and animation for years, you often pick up a lot just by listening and watching.