If freelancing for a studio – 1. Get a contract 2. Read the contract. It sounds really obvious, but it’s helpful on so many levels. One of the main reasons is it’s really good to know how long a studio wants you for so you can plan around it. Otherwise, the studio has every right to notify you at the last minute that they don’t need you anymore, which is really hard financially and leaves you potentially without pay until you find something else. It’s also good to spot any clauses you’re not sure about so you can clarify it with them and double-check that you’re ok to talk about your involvement with a project. If there’s a clause saying you can’t share your involvement, you probably should get back to them and charge more, as this is a really important part of the exchange between freelancers and studios in most instances. Also, if nothing else, the contract and this negotiation can be really helpful for your integration into the role, getting a feel for how they treat freelancers and what the studio culture is like.
If you’re working for your own clients – Make a contract. It doesn’t need to be a massive one, but you’ll want to lay out some ground rules ahead of starting. This might include things like the terms for the rights to your work, how quickly feedback should be given in order to work to your timelines, what the agreed design stages are, what the agreed deliverables are, and also making it clear who pays for any production costs. Making sure your client understands these terms, and smoothing out any uncertainties early on (much like with design studios) just helps things get off on the right foot, so you don’t hit any misalignments later down the line.
This is tricky for me as I would very much consider myself still in the process of figuring out my own. But I guess in that sense, to be open to yourself and the waves that life will take you through. To understand that evolution is inevitable, and more so than that – essential. Accept where you are right now with curiosity and understand that perfection will never really exist. Everyone sees things in different ways, and as long as you are gaining even a microscopic insight into yourself through your work, nothing is wrong, bad or wasted.