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  1. #1
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    Starting a Company... Need your input on contracting artists.

    I recently switched schools to switch my major from Fine Arts / Illustration, to Business Management and Administration. The reason I made this switch (and extended my years in college) is due to my disgust with the people I did work for as an artist paying my way through art school.

    While in school, I studied CG art at home, ranging from 3D to 2D to video editing, but I ultimately decided I was unwilling to work any of these jobs under management I didn't respect. After about 3 years of learning, and following the industry through forums like CGTalk and Conceptart, I decided I wanted to start my own CG company.

    Now, I am semi-professional in all the fields I studied, but there are tons of gaps in my knowledge. At this point, I am pursuing CG as a pastime hobby doing 2D painting for fun, and studying business heavily.
    After college I want to start a company, and I understand how difficult it is. From the business aspect, I am learning this all in school. So, as enthusiastic as I am, I am very well aware I have a lot to learn.

    But my question has more to do with the initial problem I had when I was freelancing in my last school, then with the business aspects.



    What do you expect from a company to best accommodate your needs as a professional, while taking into account there is a limited budget to pay you? From negotiation to project completion and payment, what is the most desirable situation for you? Or even; what would you tell a person getting into this line of work to prevent them from doing things which you have grown to hate?

    Anyhow, i have a lot of research, classes, and work to do before I am there, but opinions from people in the industry is something they won't be teaching me in class.

    Last edited by Blue; August 19th, 2005 at 09:28 PM.
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  3. #2
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    I think having efficient ways to hadle the contractual paperwork and the approval process is important to make sure the artist spends more time on art and less on bickering. If the artist can get down to business quicker, she can turn out more art, same if useless rework can be avoided by significant approvals (and getting the customer to actually approve in a reasonnable time.)

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  4. #3
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    Mm, good points qitsune!

    I'll have to keep them in mind. One of the things i hated was doing major revisions near the end of the project. I will definitely try to give the artist everything they need early on, so they can get it right 1st try. I hated redoing the job.. can't let my contractors suffer that!

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  5. #4
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    I'd personally recommend you work in managerial positions in the types of companies you want to rival before starting your own. As you say, you have lots of knowledge gaps, and these will only be filled by facing them - facing them on your own without prior experience could easily be catastrophic and could easily shut down your business.

    I understand about idiotic management, but learning to deal with people like that is an invaluable lesson in itself.

    I graduated with two degrees, one in Management - operations management and huma resources, and one in Computer Science, minoring in Artificial intelligence. When I graduated I immediately sought out not only managerial positions, but ground up positions as well.

    My first job out of university was as a Jr executive with a large corporate training firm, starting at $50g first year but I was aware early on that this only taught me a very segmented part of what I needed to know. It let me deal with a lot of big wigs and learning workplace culture and conduct as well as office politics and how to move people and manipulate things well to achieve good outcomes.

    After a few months, I decided I was learning jack all about administration so I skipped to another company a smaller one that was an assistant managerial position at a logistics company - I thank that company for having some of the most interesting and inspirational sales and personal achievement mentoring I've ever been subject to as well as getting a firm grounding in regular day-to-day office operaton. But the industry was boring as shit, to I changed again to another managerial position in the health industry as an operations manager as well as the media publication and advertising guy.

    This job was pretty cool, but the directors were fucking hopeless, but I stuck it out there for a year because I had a set agenda I needed to learn. 3 months before I resigned there, i started up my entertainment design studio mainly as a storyboarder and advertising, made sure I was able to get some decently regular work before I threw in the towel.

    A bit of luck came along about a month or so before I resigned, I came in contact with a start up video game developer and with my back ground I picked up the contract to be the art director and to set up the concept design and art asset pipeline development at the company as well as be head concept artist and was given % share in the company as well. I'm being paid enough for that, that i only need to work 3 days a week if I feel, but I generally use the rest of the week to either do freelance commissions or my own art studies.

    I still have my agendas and goals, but everything is moving in the direction I want and i am happy as shit, but I wouldn't be going where I want to without first working for people and learning the ropes - I know it sounds shit, but I you cannot fake experience.

    Also, remember that starting your own company has its own set of hassle, sure you are your own boss, but remember that you have to take care of taxes, see yor accountant, do your reconcilliations, end of months, chase customers to pay, look for new business, do the basic day-to-day accounting, budgeting, etc etc. Not to mention taking out loans, repayments, etc.

    My advice would really be to learn the ropes on someone else's money and time first - oh btw, all this learning does not have to take a long time, I'm 23 now and it only took me a couple of years from graduation to now to learn most of the things I need to know to swim.

    Hope this helps you out a little.

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    Thanks for the advice magic man! I'm 22 atm, so you are also making me feel a bit behind.

    But yea, i definitely see what you mean with learning the job first hand. I know there is work out there that i can make a decent living on while learning the ropes. My hope is to have this business up and running by the time i am nearing 28 or so; 30 if i go for my masters. Earlier if i come up with a brilliant strategy, but we'll see.

    Anyhow, its good to see that my ideas are the same you had, and are working out well for you. Makes this a lot easier, if nothing else.

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    My input on this... Happy Birthday Lord Blue
    ~Lover~

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  8. #7
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    hehe, thanks Lover!

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  9. #8
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    If your looking for a head for your Conceptual Stick Figure Design Department...I'm your man.

    -Call me Semaj for short.
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  10. #9
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    work in the industry first. youll need the experience. companies hiring companies require experience too. with large funding, you will be required to have company info, company resumes, and the like just as if you were applying for a job yourself. plus, you'll be going head to head with massive black, blur, giant killer robots, the orphanage, tippett studios, and a host of other cg houses with resumes ten miles longer than yours. without the experience you will need a rich group of connections who will support your company. if you can secure outside the industry funding...great...if you can secure funding at all...great. but know this. it will not be easy.


    my advice is to work in the industry with a large publisher or film studio. then go to a smaller company and learn the ropes from the outside. keep all great connections, and build the team.

    a biz degree wont get you a cg company. you can hire a lawyer to set all that stuff up for less than 3k. you can hire an acct to tell you everything you need to know for about the same. when securing funding you will be asked about your experience doing biz in the industry..not your degree. I run both MB and CA without any degrees in biz. That has never been a prob with me being able to secure funding with my company. In the end, I just have to be able to swim with the sharks. Without working in the industry, those who are atop it would not give the time of day. nor would they respect me as someone who knows what the hell Im talking about when it comes to the work I am negotiating for.

    but..to each their own. if you really want it, you will find your way. i had people tell me that mb and ca would never amount to anything. i also had people tell me i was crazy. i enjoy proving to people that they should never underestimate.



    jason

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Blue
    I recently switched schools to switch my major from Fine Arts / Illustration, to Business Management and Administration. The reason I made this switch (and extended my years in college) is due to my disgust with the people I did work for as an artist paying my way through art school.
    First of all, I commend you for the knowledge that a business education is as important as developing your craft as an artist. The real shame is that you had to leave your original school since most art schools (at least in the U.S.) do not offer any business curriculum that would teach their students any business basics: how to market our product & skills, how to calculate a value for your work and your time and how to negotiate a fair price for your work.
    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Man
    I'd personally recommend you work in managerial positions in the types of companies you want to rival before starting your own.

    ...My first job out of university was as a Jr executive with a large corporate training firm...
    ...After a few months, I decided I was learning jack all about administration so I skipped to another company a smaller one that was an assistant managerial position at a logistics company - I thank that company for having some of the most interesting and inspirational sales and personal achievement mentoring I've ever been subject to as well as getting a firm grounding in regular day-to-day office operaton.
    Excellent advice. Larger companies are structured so all their employees are given a narrow set of tasks so each person becomes very efficient at their particular segment of the whole. Smaller companies by contrast can't afford to do this so everyone is expected to be able to jump in and help out in aspects of the business that may be outside of their original job description. You will certainly learn more about the overall day-to-day running of a business in a small company.

    Be wary of startup companies unless you have solid knowledge that the company in question has a good business plan.
    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Man
    Also, remember that starting your own company has its own set of hassle, sure you are your own boss, but remember that you have to take care of taxes, see yor accountant, do your reconcilliations, end of months, chase customers to pay, look for new business, do the basic day-to-day accounting, budgeting, etc etc. Not to mention taking out loans, repayments, etc.
    Also very solid advice. You should be aware that the pressures of running a business will steal most or all of your time from creating your artwork. I know personally that this would make me very unhappy but you have to ask yourself if it would be worth it in the end.

    Good luck with this phase of your career.

    Mark Hannon
    Art Direction & Design
    Online Portfolio
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  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Manley
    but..to each their own. if you really want it, you will find your way.
    yeah.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Manley
    i had people tell me that mb and ca would never amount to anything. i also had people tell me i was crazy. i enjoy proving to people that they should never underestimate.
    right on.



    P.S: I feel stupid not saying anything other than "yeah" or "right on" or contributing in any way, but I really mean them and agree as much as possible. Learn as much as you can, you will ultimately find your own way and your own solutions to some of the problems a lot of people share, but each resolve in their own way.

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  13. #12
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    Thanks for the advice guys! I think this will help me a lot in the long run. There is still so much to learn, but i am excited to learn it, and excited to get into this industry.

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