Hey everyone. I just finished watching Noah Bradley’s five hour video on the business of freelancing and I enjoyed it a lot, so figured I’d write a review and talk a bit about my thoughts on it. If you haven’t checked out the 30 minute version on YouTube already, definitely go do that first. With that being said, let’s get to the content of the full version.
The video is really nicely structured and it’s pretty clear what was being said was planned very well (without being monotonous or boring to listen to). While there was a tiny bit of repetition in some sections, it really didn't waste a lot of time and surprisingly all five hours felt packed with content, simply because Noah gets straight to the point all the way through. Now there are plenty of books and online resources on freelancing and networking, but if you’re anything like me and prefer listening over reading and want a "package solution", this is a great option, and in the end you’re always paying for presentation and structure in any kind of educational video anyways, because odds are all the information is out there somewhere. It’s just unlikely that it’ll be presented this nicely, especially coming from a concept art and illustration background.
Most of the content is centered around dealing with clients, what to include and not to include in your portfolio, getting jobs and how to go about promoting yourself, the lifestyle of a freelancer and all the pros and cons of it, as well as more general tips on networking, contracts etc.. All of it will be easy to understand for everyone and there really weren’t any segments that I felt were wasteful or irrelevant. It’s not five hours of mindless rambling just to pass it off as “a lot of content”, which is kind of what I expected (the money-back guarantee made me go for it anyways, I'm the curios type). I won't go into great detail about the content and there's far too much there to sum it all up anyways, but I'll leave you with some comments on what I got out of it and who I think would benefit.
Personally, I am so far from any kind of art-related career skill-wise, it’s not even funny. I wanted to check out the video anyways, and it was definitely worth it to me. I think a lot of the fears people have about art careers stem from a combination of putting the technical aspects on an unreachable pedestal (not what this video is about), and not knowing anything about the industry they’re trying to get into (exactly what is covered in The Art of Freelancing). Not enough emphasis is put on breaking the industry itself down into something more tangible, and that’s a shame because most people don’t know what to expect. For anyone like me, who has wanted to be a concept artist for a long time just because it seems like a cool job, I can’t recommend this enough. If you understand what you’re getting into and what the reality of your goal is, you’ll be so much better off no matter what you decide to do and regardless of what your current idea of the job is, idealized or not.
This isn’t a five-hour motivational speech or a promise of “you too can make it!”, but that’s exactly what I wanted. Not everyone will make it and not everyone is willing or capable of working hard enough. I don’t think anyone will deny that it’s a very competitive field, but if you have your expectations in check and understand what it takes, that’ll pay off in spades as you won’t end up wasting your time staring into the wall, wondering about what it really takes and if you can live up to that. I find that that’s the sad reality for a lot of aspiring artists, I can say that it certainly has been the case for me. Who knows, you might decide this industry isn’t for you based on what you hear. You’re much better off making that move now than after your discover it on your own. Self-help books and motivational chants can’t take away that fear if it arises from a lack of understanding of your goals to begin with, and while it’s unlikely that all your concerns will be addressed, I definitely found this far more useful than any of the inspirational speeches, which is ironic because it’s clearly not what the content is about.
In conclusion, who do I think should look into this? Personally, I think anyone who…
really wants to work as a creative professional, but don’t know exactly what that entails
is curios about the reality of the life of a freelancer
fears the industry without knowing much about how it functions
has the skills to work professionally, but not the tools to make it happen
has the drive to attain the skills to work professionally, but wastes time wondering what it’ll be like or worrying they can’t make it
wants a more structured approach to the industry from someone who put effort into the business side of art, even with an existing work history
…will benefit from The Art of Freelancing. I’m not promising it’ll be worth it to you, but if you’re unhappy with it, there’s a money-back guarantee anyways, so in the absolute worst-case horrific scenario, you lend Noah $57 for five hours. I honestly think this stuff will help a lot of people and I completely agree with him that professionalism alone, and not exclusively in art careers, can go a very long way. This is probably tied with Scott Robertson’s perspective stuff for best value-for-money I have seen from an art-related video (and it didn’t even teach me anything about how to draw)!
I hope this review will be helpful to others. There were definitely a lot of things I'd love to see covered more in-depth in the video, but the content already there justified the price to me, and there's no way to put every question and concern to rest for everyone in five hours. It helped me put things in perspective though, and I have a much better idea of what it's actually like to work as a freelance artist, which is the whole point of the video to begin with. It definitely lives up to that.
And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
Listened to this today and I definitely agree with the positive review. For starters I had no trouble listening straight through for 5 hours. It's very easy to listen to and everything is clearly explained and organized so that I could easily follow it while I was working on some drawings. 90% of this stuff was not covered in school (as I listened to this I felt more and more upset that this information isn't being taught to most students), and it's all directly applicable to anyone who wants to freelance in the future, is currently starting off, and I would bet even to some who have been at it for a few years. I'll definitely be listening to this again, taking notes so I can gleam every little bit of info.
Listened to it while drawing just now. Really useful material. I have listened and read things about freelancing from different artists and I can say that it is worth skipping the big research and listening to this video instead. It covers the topic in depth and will help avoid newbie mistakes and misconceptions about the career in art, such as "the only important thing is a good portfolio". The video is suitable for people who need in-depth advice on how to connect to people and present themselves, avoid mistakes which happen from stress and lack of experience.
Great review, Yochanan! It's good to see your perspective on Noah's workshop and giving us an idea of what to expect. I'm familiar with most of what he's discussed even though I've not bought it and may do that someday. Although some books I've read that have tread on familiar ground based on his viewpoints which pertain to the reality of how things are within the industry. I think it's important to remember that it's not an "Us vs Them" mentality when it comes to us trying to break into the field or have exposure dealing with Art Directors or the people in charge of such projects. And they have a job to do and that is to manage projects in their businesses while bringing in freelancers, when and if needed. What they are looking for is a "voice" that fits the persona of their project(s). And if there is'nt a match, then it's not a knock on your personality or skill. And I think the trick is to get to know the right people who can point the way and trying to take the bull by the horns without losing control of your creative career, but some times things happen out of circumstances that one has to deal with by bouncing back.
Is it a challenging field? Absolutely. Impossible? No. To get to that point, I quote Pink Floyd, one must "tear down The Wall".
I would also think that being proactive is key. For me, I've gotten a bit lost in the process and figuring out my direction but lately I've gotten some ideas of how to go about things in a different manner. But I have to start small and build up from that point. And it's not unheard of when certain talented people make a big jump from art school straight to concept art studios or design firms, or anywhere else for that matter in high profile gigs. I can name one person who pulled that off from art school in the Cleveland Institute of Art and his name's Wes Burt. I remember seeing that kid in the nightly pay as you go life drawing sessions years ago. I knew when I saw his stuff hung up in the display windows, he had the "fire" to go the distance.