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,