Hiatus, Problems with “Samples”

It’s quite evident that I have not been posting for several months. My excuse this time is major video projects and because I got upgraded into a French writing course, which meant I had some 2-7 hours of writing homework. I just couldn’t get myself to sit down, think about this blog, and write in English. When studying a language intensively, it sometimes becomes hard to think, write, read, or speak in your primary language. Usually, it’s the opposite, where I just can’t formulate anything in French out of sheer mental exhaustion in that part of my brain. Anyways, I am lucky I can spend most of my days right now learning. I really don’t look forward to taking that day job to pay the bills and being back in that monotony. It depends on the job, of course.

I want to let everyone know that whoever finds us a returning client for video gets a percentage kicked their way for a year on projects. We’re not really decided on the percentage, but it’ll be something we’ll deem worth your time. So, if you know someone who needs video work, motion design, colour grading done and has money to pay for it, send them our way: stereokroma.com

Since this has been an issue for us lately, we don’t do spec. work. Here’s some informative links my partner found on this subject. Link 1, link 2, link 3.

There’s very few projects we’d genuinely say we’d work for free, and there’s very few excuses you can give us for why we should work for free. It most often comes up that a “sample” is requested. In the most recent and serious case, it was during a second job interview, where all portfolios and demoreels had already been reviewed, so there would be no other reason for this other than to collect free ideas. It was not a 30-90 minute test either, it was something that would’ve required several hours of work. Let me be clear: this is incredibly unprofessional and insulting.

I believe I talked about this before, but it’s so obvious someone is trying to shop around and clearly has no idea what the job entitles or what they want if they need to ask for a sample. There are cases where a sample is asked for as a proposal, which in my books is fine because it is usually a write up or a simple sketch and it’s for a several thousand dollar large project that requires a lot of commitment from both parties. Most of the time, when I am personally asked for a sample, it’s for a client that is not going to pay more than $500, $200, or even $100, so it is a pure waste of my time to do a sample. Often, they also want a sample that’s going to look like the finished product. What? So you basically want me to do the whole project, call it a “sample”, then decide whether or not you want to pay for it? That’s shady and shitty of you. I pretty much always say no and let them roll off my back, unless the person agrees to pay for the sample itself. In my experience (ohh some 10 years or more of freelancing), the clients who waffle and who ask for ridiculous things like this cause the most problems. They’re the ones who want the most changes, who ask for impossible changes too late in the process, who just can’t make up their mind or don’t pay in a timely fashion. Everyone I ever worked with who looked at my portfolio and hired me on the spot was always great to work with: they understood the process, they understood why it costs why it costs, they didn’t try get me to give them discounts or held out my payments for months; they were just timely, understanding, and a pleasure to work with.

I think in the future, I will write several articles talking about different things like the process of creative work so everyone understands why we do things the way we do them. I know I ramble in here about it, but I really need something I can point people to.

Anyway, I have several art events I want to post about and tonnes of updates, so stay tuned. I will slowly start rolling things out and catching up. You can always keep track on my website or one of my many other social media pages that are unfortunately easier to update (I really prefer having a blog). I’ll also be posting some of my French writing, if it’s of interest to anyone.