Fishy clients..warning.
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Thread: Fishy clients..warning.

  1. #1
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    Fishy clients..warning.

    Hello,

    I'd like to share with some of you who are aspiring and practicing illustrators/designers something about 'BS' clients. There is a website that deals with e-lancers or freelance projects and runs it like a mediator (exactly like E-bay's set up), and there's nothing wrong with it totally if you are looking for some additional work or experience, however sometimes one deals with shady clients. And some clients are usually cool about the agreements and honor it.

    I won a bid to do three illustrations for a certain online trading card game about three weeks ago. The AD (art director) whom I won't name not even the website (unless some of you would like to discreetly ask me, feel free to) created stipulations via the private message boards and email. And he included his promise to send a contract on PDF format for me to download, sign and then mail back (via post office).
    Sound fishy? It should since anyone should be able to digitally sign it via tablet or type it in and E-MAIL it back, OR print it, sign it, and scan the thing back to him.
    But post office? Sounds pretty redundant.
    And since he was on "in a hurry" (ie. tight turnaround job) to get it finished by last week on the 27th of May due, he did'nt send the PDF contract. I got suspicious and was advised to inform him that I'd turn over artwork IF I see the contract for real.
    Alarms were going off in my head.
    I then asked for a deadline extension and he gave me until June 2nd and claimed a woman he works with would do the 'legalese' part of creating the contract and send it to me within a few days. It was more than a week after I got the extension....no contract was emailed to me.
    I e-mailed her to get the contract info...no response.
    I then emailed the AD for her email address . . .no response.
    Getting fishier? It was..and from the sounds of it, the AD must've been, pardon the term, "shitting bricks" because I must've figured him out.

    On June 2nd, he, by initiative, terminated our agreement in the morning on email.

    And the contract was NEVER sent the whole time. How hard is it to create a contract and take 2-3 weeks to send? It takes seconds to email it if you already created one in PDF. But did he do that? No.

    The point is that it's very unprofessional for ADs to ask us artists to get involved with the project and then send us contracts during or after its completion. It's an easy way for them to get a legit excuse to "steal" our work and save them the money or re-word the stipulations at the projects' completion on contract..as in, for instance, "Oh by the way, on the contract..you're getting 3%..not 45% of the cut..yadda yadda yadda".

    If the client asks for your "time and talent" without pay, RUN. Report them to the site that does caters to freelance work..the same way you'd report a fraudulent E-Bay salesperson.
    If the client asks you to turn in artwork 'in a rush' without a PDF or faxed contract, do NOT do it unless you're desperate for credit or are an art student looking for experience--then maybe it's understandable on your part.

    I did the right thing in not lifting the drawing pencil for that trading card game because I knew he was dragging both of us along and wanted to see the contract first regardless of how many times he claimed I'm covered by the agreement on that particular 'job site'. It does'nt matter, he mentioned the word "contract" by paper..therefore it's his responsibility and credibility on the line.
    Now, he's being reported today and if they find he's more than trouble than it's worth, he's banned.

    To all of you creatives, please try and develop a lie detector in your head and do not fall for their games. Learn to read between the lines on what they say. If, using the upfront payment approach, they can't 'secure' the project by paying up front, say $50 to $100 bucks, they could be trouble.

    Warning to some of you who are AD's or starting up companies trying to get us to do artwork without any honoring the agreements with the promise of 'phantom' contracts or pay, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. Nor try it on conceptart.org on the jobs section. Don't even try the 'contest' scam or doing things 'on spec' which is unethical. Anything 'contest' or 'on spec' related just to trick us to do artwork should be banned and not posted in my opinion. Period. If you can't pay but only credit, post only on 'non-paying' jobs section.
    It's an insult to our integrity and dignity as creative professionals.


    Have a good day,

    -Adam

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    according to some state laws a hard copy with original signature may be required for a contract to be legally binding. Keep copies of original contracts with signature on hand to cover your butt as a freelancer before mailing the contract.
    -Mike V

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim1099
    .....................
    I did the right thing in not lifting the drawing pencil for that trading card game because I knew he was dragging both of us along..............
    In principal I agree with a lot of what you said in your post. But the truth of the matter, as I see it, is that sometimes things need to be taken on with a little faith. In the case you are describing, had it been me in the same position once we agreed rudimentarily on the terms, I would have at least provided him with some proofs as a show of good faith before I was too quick to condemn him for inaction. That would have put the ball squarely in his courst and probably would ahve prodded him into action. At this point, you really have no proof of anything, save a feeling, that this guy was going to screw you. You have to remember that publishers do get burned as well and that also, just like beginning freelancers, they to have to start out sometime as well. There's no reason to expect that everything will always go swimmingly.

    Heh, in fact, most of the big name card publishers are rife with mix ups, late contracts and very, very late payments :/

    It's a sad fact of life and something to consider for next time. Sometimes you have to just take a chance and wade in head first. Who knows where it will lead

    Grave Sight Graphics: The Art of Eric Lofgren.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Undertow
    according to some state laws a hard copy with original signature may be required for a contract to be legally binding. Keep copies of original contracts with signature on hand to cover your butt as a freelancer before mailing the contract.
    -Mike V
    Well, if a publisher is going to mail out a contract (which I think is the best most reliable course) they should always include two copies so you don't have to make a copy.

    And for what it's worth, from what I gather, e-mail agreements can be viewed as binding. But as in everything legal, always seek your own professional council beforing trusting someones opinion on the net

    Grave Sight Graphics: The Art of Eric Lofgren.
    elofgren@ telus.net (to use e-mail address please remove space between the '@' and 'telus')

    My Art Blog
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    ~NiNjA~^~mOuNtAiN~^~PoDcAsT~(Working illustrators talking illustration)
    Eric Lofgren's licensible rpg art resource
    Art Director for New Gods of Raanon
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    Well don't work on it before you have a decent contract signed by both persons.
    If he can't get it done before deadline that's his problem not yours.
    You don't want to waste time on dead-ends...

    It's different if you get rehired and you know your employer can be trusted.

    Someone should post an example of a contract in the job thread.
    Would be handy for unexperienced employers & artist

    Last edited by Uziel; June 2nd, 2005 at 02:20 PM.
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    yep..

    Quote Originally Posted by Undertow
    according to some state laws a hard copy with original signature may be required for a contract to be legally binding. Keep copies of original contracts with signature on hand to cover your butt as a freelancer before mailing the contract.
    -Mike V

    Yes, certain states require that. I'm not sure about Ohio but I believe we still have to use paper contracts on hard copy or PDF form. As for copies, I always scan in contracts .

    -Adam

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    im asking discreetly, what are some of these 'ebay' like sites?

    tensai

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    Of course..

    Of course I quite understand the publishers position on deadline requirements and the need to see the progress. I did show him the concept layouts of what the illustrations will become, but after that he went silent for a few days and then one day emailed me to say that a contract was en route. So, that behavior kind of got me thinking otherwise. He did'nt provide direction on the layouts and discuss the illustrative approaches in artist-speak. To me, he sounds more of a programmer (web coder) than an AD due to his "language".
    Then again, some play the role of an AD without that level of experience not knowing what to expect.
    Re: late payments..that's not surprising since I heard about the Conde Naste contractual situation a few years back and also heard over the grapevine that illustrators were upset with certain gaming (rpg) companies for late payments and unfair practices.
    I have taken chances with some clients locally and it turned out okay. But sometimes, they end up being uncool about things. I do hope things go smoothly, as long as I SEE the contract or some form of official agreement. We just have to be very careful who we're dealing with.

    -Adam

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Lofgren
    In principal I agree with a lot of what you said in your post. But the truth of the matter, as I see it, is that sometimes things need to be taken on with a little faith. In the case you are describing, had it been me in the same position once we agreed rudimentarily on the terms, I would have at least provided him with some proofs as a show of good faith before I was too quick to condemn him for inaction. That would have put the ball squarely in his courst and probably would ahve prodded him into action. At this point, you really have no proof of anything, save a feeling, that this guy was going to screw you. You have to remember that publishers do get burned as well and that also, just like beginning freelancers, they to have to start out sometime as well. There's no reason to expect that everything will always go swimmingly.

    Heh, in fact, most of the big name card publishers are rife with mix ups, late contracts and very, very late payments :/

    It's a sad fact of life and something to consider for next time. Sometimes you have to just take a chance and wade in head first. Who knows where it will lead


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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim1099
    Of course I quite understand the publishers position on deadline requirements and the need to see the progress. I did show him the concept layouts of what the illustrations will become, but after that he went silent for a few days
    That does change things a bit. I thought that you didn't even get to the proof stage.

    For me, I've always found that with untested clients it's great if you can get a deposit. I at least ask for one all the time. It's surprising just how many folks are prepared to give one when you do ask and it sure goes a long ways to instill confidence. Although I'm sure you know what I'm talking about

    Grave Sight Graphics: The Art of Eric Lofgren.
    elofgren@ telus.net (to use e-mail address please remove space between the '@' and 'telus')

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    ~NiNjA~^~mOuNtAiN~^~PoDcAsT~(Working illustrators talking illustration)
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    Art Director for New Gods of Raanon
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    Dude, what I do (i'm a web designer) is to ask for 50% of the total price before starting to work. The problem is that sometimes the projects tend to stall and usually the designer gets the losing part. Once the proyect ends I then bill changes by hour. All my samples contain a huge (sample only) watermark. You must be strict with your client.

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    True..

    Quote Originally Posted by mindfields
    Dude, what I do (i'm a web designer) is to ask for 50% of the total price before starting to work. The problem is that sometimes the projects tend to stall and usually the designer gets the losing part. Once the proyect ends I then bill changes by hour. All my samples contain a huge (sample only) watermark. You must be strict with your client.

    I think that works as well effectively if you're doing design-based projects or illustrations for a flat fee which is what I do. Hourly rates are the last thing I use unless special circumstances arise such as having to work 'in-house', etc.

    However, it depends on that "e-lancer" website I got the gig from. Usually it's a "Safe Pay" system, kind of like PayPal. That's why I wanted to let you guys know about it and be careful next time if you ever have to deal with sites like those.

    So, usually I ask for some percentage upfront in case of a large and complex project but usually I get the whole flat fee. Fortunately, some clients were cool enough (from that website) to pay me in installments (upfront and/or as per image).

    But sometimes I have to be extra careful that if people notice that I'm hard of hearing (or deaf, that is), it could be tempting to them to take advantage of that and I don't want to give them that edge. I try to be professional and flexible as I can with them and and in person (locally) there were a couple of people that tried to take advantage of me and I won't let that happen ever again.

    -Adam

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    :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Lofgren
    That does change things a bit. I thought that you didn't even get to the proof stage.

    For me, I've always found that with untested clients it's great if you can get a deposit. I at least ask for one all the time. It's surprising just how many folks are prepared to give one when you do ask and it sure goes a long ways to instill confidence. Although I'm sure you know what I'm talking about
    Re: proof..I got to the pre-prod stage of layouts to show some conceptuals of what the images were going to look and get feedback, etc..and get approval. After all, that's what I do..I always show layouts to clients before getting the "green light" so that we both like the direction it's going. To me, I act as a consultant of some sorts and treat it as a 'team effort' between me and the clientele. But sometimes, they trust me enough to let me 'go at it' anyway I see fit .

    Re: deposit..I agree.

    -Adam

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