Hi everybody! Long time no chat. I did a 15-minute-long stream of consciousness braindump of artist advice on my Twitter account (@jonjones) and I’m reposting it here — RAW AND UNCUT!
ARTISTS! Going through a lot of portfolios this week and have a few general RT’able notes and gripes following this tweet. :)
ARTISTS! Unless you’re selling your services as a Flash artist, please don’t make your website in Flash. It’s slow and lacks deep linking.
ARTISTS! If you have an embedded reel on your website, please have Play\Pause\Volume controls! Especially if it’s not downloadable.
ARTISTS! If you’re on LinkedIn, GOOD. Keep that updated quarterly. But don’t forget your portfolio website link! This happens a lot.
ARTISTS! Portfolios sorted by the projects you worked on are great. This is a recent example that I like: http://www.videogamma.net/
ARTISTS! Keep your skills and software package proficiencies updated in LinkedIn. You can search for that, and it makes you easier to find.
ARTISTS! If you’re trying to add someone you don’t know on LinkedIn, when it asks you how you know them, don’t select “Friend.” It’s tacky.
ARTISTS! Instead of applying for a job through the website, try to find their recruiter or HR manager on LinkedIn. Path less traveled!
ARTISTS! Take advantage of LinkedIn Groups. You can meet cool people and learn. Check your friends’ Groups on their profile and join them.
ARTISTS! If you’re prepping to change jobs and want to stay secret, you can turn off LinkedIn’s profile update notifications first… shh.
ARTISTS! Take advantage of Facebook’s Friends Lists to filter your posts. I put clients\bosses\directors on a list to limit what they see.
ARTISTS! Take time once a week to check People You May Know in LinkedIn. Better to connect for its own sake than only when you need them.
ARTISTS! When scheduling interview, ask for interviewers’ names. Check LinkedIn, Mobygames, and FB for mutual friends. Make notes. Ask Q’s.
ARTISTS! Keep resumes down to 1 page. If >8yrs in games, 2 is okay. Anything more than 2 is fluff, and is judged.
ARTISTS! Good technical artists and VFX artists are *very* hard to find, and almost always in demand. It’s not a bad specialty to have…
Oh, by the way, I recently moved to New York City and I’m an Outsourcing Art Manager at Avalanche Studios. w00t! Oh, while I’ve got everyone’s attention, Avalanche NYC is hiring for several positions. :) Avalanche NYC jobs page. … Tell em Jon Jones sent ya!
Hi all! I just discovered an awesome tool called Attachments.me that indexes ALL the attached files you’ve ever had in Gmail, and organizes them into a nifty thumbnail view with incredibly fast indexed search. It tells you who sent you the attachment, when it came, what email thread it’s in, and lets you either View, Download, Share or Archive it.
Cooler still, you can set up special rules within your Gmail inbox to process attachments. For example, you can create a rule that automatically saves all images from a certain sender into a special folder in Dropbox. I’m going pretty nuts setting up special case rules like that. :)
It’s fantastic, it’s free, and I highly recommend it if you ever have issues tracking down attachments across hundreds of emails.
One of the most important concepts I’ve learned as an art producer\manager is this: If you want to get a specific answer from someone, make your best guess — ANY guess — and invite their feedback on it. It’s 10x faster than asking them to start from nothing, even if your guess is horrible. It’s a starting point *you* create, and it works because it’s easier to critique an existing idea than conceive and commit to a new one.
Hi all! With the spate of layoffs recently, I’ve been thinking of how to assess a studio’s health so you can predict whether or not doom will come, and when. These are various ways I usually assess a studio’s health, and it’s upon that basis that I make the stay\go\”sorry, I’m booked out for months and regrettably unavailable for contract work” decision. This article applies mainly to full-time employees, but it could also be useful for contractors wanting to know if their clients will continue to have money to pay them.
I’m still new to the stock market side of things, but I’ve been trying my ass off to pay more attention to this ever since I worked at a THQ studio that was recently hit with massive layoffs. Following that rollercoaster has been instructive.
So, these are my questions\critera in no particular order:
Track publisher stock movements and events. Sign up for Google Finance, add the big pubs (ATVI, EA, TTWO, THQI, ZNGA, UBSFF, KNM, NTDOY, CCOEF). How was their last quarter? Year? 5 years? How close are their sales projections to the actual reality when they release quarterly reports and how do they spin it? What obvious lies can you identify over time and what’s the common thread between them? What time of year have they historically performed “restructuring” and layoffs? (usually financial quarters\beginning of FY, but still.)
Subscribe to the news.GamaSutra Newswire and Gameindustry.biz to get a decent spread of up-to-date information on the industry. I subscribe to their RSS feeds in Google Reader so I only have to go one place to check. I also check GameTab occasionally, but I’ve had connectivity errors with the site recently. Beware of rumors and fearmongering, but still pay attention.
Track patterns in press releases. Are there patterns between sequences of press releases like “This game will sell 5m!” – > “We have faith in the product.” – > “The product’s sales fell short of our expectations.” – > “In order to cut costs after disappointing sales, we’re restructuring our organization and have reduced [studio]‘s headcount by 75.” How cyclical is this? Is there a predictable sequence of announcements that could give you an indication of what’s next?
Know your publisher’s product catalog. Find out their fiscal year dates, and other games’ ship dates. What has happened to them when they miss a date? What is the organizational health and reputation of other owned and non-owned companies under your publisher’s umbrella? If you had to guess and be realistic, if shit hits fan which studio *should* be shut down first?
Know your company’s track record. When did your company ship its last title? How did it sell? How did it rate on average? How about the one before that? Do they have a track record of missing ship dates?
Know your genre. What genre is your game? Does that genre tend to sell well? Who are the biggest players in that space and are you competing directly with them, or trying to find a new take or angle or iteration upon the genre? Do you think your game compares favorably? And is its release date close to the release of another juggernaught in the same genre?
Know your studio’s employee retention rate. How many people there tend to stay for the long haul versus staying only a year or less before moving on? “How long has the average employee at your company worked there?” is a question I have ALWAYS asked in an interview and it often makes people uncomfortable. :)
Know who runs your company. Who are the principals of the company and what’s their history? What’s their relative rate of success with regards to companies run\managed previously, success of previously shipped titles, how long they’ve lead\managed? How long have they worked at the same company both currently and in the past? Mainly, find out if they hop around or commit for the long haul.
Know your team’s history. Has this team worked together before, either as a whole or in small groups\cliques? Check previous companies. Look up all the leads up on LinkedIn and Mobygames and map out concurrent employment and previous working relationships for future reference. Write it down.
That’s all I’ve got off the top of my head for basic high-level stuff. I could dig deeper into tech and so on, but this is a lot of data already. Still, these are all considerations I consider important and I’ve always dug into companies in this way and add to the list of criteria over time.
I’m curious what people think, and I welcome comments and feedback! If I’m completely full of crap, please let me know because I want this to be better. :) Thanks guys!
[update] Thanks to Dave Shramek and Matthew Weigel for informing me that EA’s stock symbol is now EA (not ERTS) and to include Zynga (ZNGA)! [/update]
Nothing exists unless it’s written down, in one place. I prefer email, or a web-based forum system inside which all art feedback exists.
When I start on a project, I find out or choose the one single form of official, recorded communication, and hold people to using it. It’s fine in IM for quick back-and-forth, but that information gets summarized and send out via email, recorded in documentation\wiki\Basecamp where necessary, or put on a collaborative forum. If not, it’s not real. If it’s official and it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen and be recorded in only one place.
For face-to-face meetings, I’m always working as a go-between for design and art, and often programming as well. I take copious notes, work down my list of questions, then make peoples’ ideas fight if necessary. Once that’s done, I have a full written summary that everyone verbally signs off on before they leave the room, then that list gets emailed\integrated into the project plan and documentation with full details on what was discussed, next steps, and who was in the room. Paper trail, accountability, and it’s another way to make sure everyone’s on the same page since (if they read it) they’ll have processed that information both aurally and visually, and those run through different filters.
All information only exists in one place. And unless it’s in front of or accessible to everybody (as far as day-to-day development goes across disciplines), it’s not official. And sometimes I’ve had to be a dick about it, but the time it saves is simply unreal. :)
Art manager tip: When writing feedback, never use a hyperlink to an image. Links die. Also, many art studios’ work PCs don’t have internet access. Save and send the image instead. If your text-based feedback refers to that file, include the complete filename every time you mention it instead of saying “that image.” Don’t make them guess which. :)
Hi, everybody! I’ve been using a system of directory naming for years for tracking all incoming\outgoing files with outsourcers I use, and I’m tweaking it and trying to standardize it. The goal is to be easy to understand and simple to sort. I’d love to get input and feedback on this. Here’s the way I do it now:
/(2012-03-22) INCOMING – SUBMISSION – STUDIONAME (character art for milestone 002)/
/(2012-03-22) OUTGOING – FEEDBACK – STUDIONAME (feedback on characters)/
The syntax is [date] [droptype] [studio] [description]
Date always comes first for easier sorting. The date is written year-month-day to adhere to the ISO 8601 information interchange standard. It sorts perfectly alphabetically so months don’t get mixed up between years. For example, you could write March 22, 2012 two different ways:
What if, a year from now, I make another directory with the date?
The more directories get dumped in there, the more confusing it’ll be trying to sort out which year which drop came from since it’s not sorted well.
Droptype comes second so I can easily sort out what kind of drop it is. Is it something I sent to the contractor? Is it something they sent me? Or is it a reference or information drop of some kind that doesn’t really count as incoming\outgoing?
There are the different droptypes and subtypes I’ve set up so far:
RFP means “Request for Proposal,” by the way. This means I’ve sent the studio a batch of work, reference and tech docs so I can get the work priced and scheduled out so we can decide whether or not to sign a contract.
I have everything capitalized for easier readability. I don’t like lower-case or mixed-case for important information. And I think all of these droptypes and subtypes encompass pretty much every type of standard communication I have with outsourcers. It’s a short list.
After that I include the studio name, which helps a lot with filtering alphabetically if I’m working with a lot of art studios or artists for a single client. I used to include the studio name in the description, but I prefer this for sorting, especially as projects scale.
From there, I include a short written description of what’s in the drop. It’s a lot more casual than the rest of the naming conventions. I don’t care about capitalization as much and I don’t have a very standard syntax for it. It’s just a brief description of what’s in the directory and why it exists.
That’s the best system I have so far. I’d love for people to pick it apart, though, to see if there’s anything I could be overlooking or doing better. I’ve gone back and forth before on whether or not to put STUDIONAME before DROPTYPE as a means of sorting more easily. It came down to being purely a matter of preference, as I’m personally more focused on seeing at a glance the actual inflow and outflow of information on a daily basis, and the ratio of in vs out. That’s more important to me than sorting first by how many times I interacted with an individual studio on a certain day.
Because of this, I’m better able to assess how productive my artists are and how productive I am, and helps me see relationships with regards to the amount of time I’ve invested on art drops and feedback and how quickly it comes back and from which studios. Again, that’s just a matter of preference.
Seriously though, any and all feedback is appreciated! :)
Everyone’s favorite game dev podcast is back! This week I join Chris Holden, Jesse Sosa and Lee Amarakoon to discuss the business of VFX and the world of interview etiquette. Check it out below, and tell your friends!
Hi all! Back in December I gave a speech at the IGDA MicroTalks on the subject of transitioning from full-time employment to freelance art. It’s an expanded version of an earlier article of mine. Here’s the video:
Hi everybody! I’m Jon Jones and I run smArtist, a contract art production agency. I’m a freelance art outsourcing manager, and I deal with art studios and freelance artists on a daily basis. I’m going to go into some detail on what you need to know if you’re transitioning from fulltime employment into a career as a freelance artist. There are a few things you need to know that I’ve learned over the years.
I’m going to be speaking primarily to people that are taking the leap into freelance art fulltime, and not people that moonlight or only want to contract until they find another job. Some of my advice will still apply to people in those situations, sure. But I prefer not working with moonlighters or people that only want to contract temporarily, because the second they enter crunch or get a job, I become the lowest priority, I miss deadlines, and it affects my clients’ projects.
Without further ado, here’s my background: I’ve been dealing with contract art for nearly fifteen years, and have been a full-time professional for over ten. I’ve been a freelance artist and worked at an art studio, worked inhouse at developers as an artist and as a manager, and now I manage art teams as a freelancer. I’ve been on all sides of the contract art game, and that’s where I’m coming from.
A quick but important note I’d like to make: Always keep your resume and portfolio up to date. Pay attention to what’s happening at your studio. If you’re getting close to shipping, get ALL of that up to date, because that’s prime time for layoffs. Do you think the game is going to succeed or suck? Is your team unreasonably large? Is your contract up for renewal? Prepare NOW. Starting a contract or a job will take at least a month and a half on average, and that’s optimistic. Be ready. If you get laid off, you have a resume and portfolio ready and they should already be in the hands of AT LEAST ten companies by the end of the day. Period.
THE ZEROTH COMMANDMENT
Set up your own dedicated workspace. Do nothing but work there. Fundamentally, just don’t work where you play. You’ll feel like you’re always at work and will begin to really resent it and feel trapped. Trust me, it sucks.
Also, don’t play where you work. Just don’t mix it. You’ll never get any work done when there’s chores around the house to do, a TV show to watch, more Skyrim, pets to play with, or the promise of Hot Local Teens In Your Area That Want To Chat. (not true.) Do that somewhere else, on your own time. Set aside your own sacred workspace and keep that discipline. It’ll keep you sane.
What I did was turn my only bedroom into my office and put my bed in my living room. I’ll admit that it’s extreme, but that’s my personality and this works well for me.
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
Thou shalt know the day and the hour.
Amateur: “I’ll have it done in two hours!” Delivers it in eight hours.
Professional: “I’ll have it done in eight hours.” Delivers it in six hours.
Manager Insight: If an artist blows his time estimates consistently, it erodes my trust in his ability to deliver at all. I always notice and remember. I don’t want to have to figure out “Amateur Artist Math” and do the conversions in my head: 2h = 8h, 4h = 12h, one day = two days. I am neither nanny nor mathematician. I have deadlines to hit!
I’ve been in a position where I’ve been stuck with an artist that won’t correct his behavior and that I can’t replace, so I actually have to lie about when it’s due just because I know he’ll be late if I give him the real due date. And obviously I can’t tell him I do that, because he’ll be onto me and will find another way to weasel out of it, once again leaving me in the dark on delivery dates. If you make me treat you like a child, no allowance for you. Sometimes that has been the only way to get the artist to deliver it on time, and this puts me in an odd and almost parental position. What does it say about him, his competence and his skills as an artist if he consistently fails to understand how long a task takes? Is that someone you’d work with again?
I understand that sometimes you run into problems. That’s fine. But if you’re going to be late,tell me. Trust me, I know how awkward it can be to approach someone pre-emptively and tell them something unpleasant. But I’d rather know so I can plan for it being late than simply not hear from the artist and get a late delivery. I have a boss, too. I report to my boss, and telling my boss it’ll be done on a certain day and getting it later makes me look like I can’t manage my artists or stick to a schedule. No one wants to feel that way, and that affects you directly, too!
I appreciate honesty and giving advance notice that you will be late. I do not like being surprised by a late delivery with no warning. In fact, that always irritates me. If you make me look like an idiot to my boss because I trusted you, do you think I would ever trust you or want to work with you again? Of course not. I’d cut you loose without a second thought because it is in my direct, immediate interest to replace you. No matter how cool a person you are, this is still business. Be a Professional.
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
Thou Shalt Heed the Words of the Technical Guidelines Tablet.
Amateur: “Here’s the delivery!” File’s a technical MESS I’ll spend hours fixing. Textures assigned wrong, files named wrong, directories assigned wrong, total chaos. Bonus points for weird or profane filenames. (note: Not actual bonus points.)
Professional: “Here’s the delivery!” Files are properly named, textures are properly assigned, technical guidelines were met and I don’t have to fix anything because he paid attention to my instructions.
Manager’s Insight: I don’t know if the Amateur just didn’t read the doc, or if he simply didn’t understand it. If I explained it badly, I’ll cop to it. But please, try your best and ask questions.
My three options in order from most desirable to least desirable are as follows:
a) Repeat myself. Tell him to reread the doc and hope he suddenly gets it. However, this could be another blown deliverable if he doesn’t. High risk, very little time spent.
b) Explain myself. Write up a detailed changelist and tell him exactly how to fix it. Medium risk, lots of time spent.
c) Do it myself. Low risk, excessive time spent.
Ideally, this will never happen. Practically speaking, it totally will.
Don’t make me do your job. I respect attention to detail and people that think of ways to do their job well, understand my bottom line, and try to save me time. It’s good customer service, good business and the Professional way to act. It’s the mint on the pillow.
Honestly, no one’s perfect. Sometimes I’ll have to rename a file here, tweak some verts there. That happens. If it’s just one or two issues small enough that it would be faster for me to fix them myself rather than telling you, I may just do that. It’s likely that a client may not even mention it. But if there are a lot of issues like this and it happens consistently, that’s more work for me, and it’s going to really irritate me over time. This is Amateur hour nonsense. It makes us both look bad, and will make me rethink working with you again. Your mom doesn’t work here. Clean up your own mess.
Be thorough, check your own work, pay attention to the directions I give you, and be a Professional. A manager may not mention this as being one of the reasons he continues to send you contract work, but trust me, it is a major factor.
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
Thou shalt heed thy client’s word to the letter.
Amateur: “Sure, I’ll incorporate that feedback!” Misses half of what I asked for and acts like nothing’s wrong. Did he not read it, not understand it or just ignore it?
Professional: “Sure, I’ll incorporate that feedback!” Nails every single point spot-on and (as a bonus!) verifies point-by-point what was fixed.
Manager’s Insight: This comes down to two points: 1) The Professional is showing me he pays attention to what I say, and 2) he’s focused on details and doing a good job.
Plan for this. I need time to review the assets and generate feedback. If my workday ends at 7pm and I get it long after I’ve gone home, that doesn’t do me a lot of good, does it? Especially if I have an imminent deadline.
This all comes down to this timeless adage: Under-promise and over-deliver. The earlier in the day I get a delivery you’ve promised, the happier I am. But if you dramatically overestimate when I’ll get the asset and I get it uselessly late, what good is that to me? I can either stay late at work — guess how much I like that? — or put it off until tomorrow morning.
Remember: You are not the end of the pipeline. You’re an important part of the process, yes. However, other people are lined up after you take your finished product to the next stage of production and finalize it. This takes time, and issues like this pile up and affect a lot of other people down the chain. Do not be the cholesterol in the artery of my project.
It’s easy for an Amateur to slack off, misread something, not double-check, or just let things slide and hope he’s not called on it because he doesn’t want to do the extra work. Maybe he doesn’t get called on it and it’s handled in-house. But just because a client may not bring it up doesn’t mean it wasn’t noticed and remembered. It absolutely should be brought up, but they may not have the time or desire to confront you.
Personally, I have no problem with confrontation, and I will be a jerk if I have to because I have a job to do. I don’t like doing that, and you don’t like being on the receiving end. Save us both the time and drama. Strive to be the Professional that makes a client think “Wow, he nailed it!” instead of the Amateur that makes the client think “Well, he completed items A, C and E but forgot B and D. Again. And now I have to either write it up or fix it myself when I have a mountain of other work to do. Splendid!”
One important point, however, that you may not realize: Sometimes — emphasis on sometimes — the sign of a job well done is the quiet, peaceful absence of problems. Everything flows smoothly, is exactly as expected, people are happy and there is no cause for complaint. Doing the job right simply may not bring open acknowledgement or kudos, but doing the job wrong is going to set off alarms that everyone notices. It took me many years to realize that, sometimes, lack of acknowledgement is something to take pride in. It’s not ideal and I try extremely hard to acknowledge and appreciate everything I can, but I have a lot to do and may not always be able to afford the time. Remembering this can keep you sane.
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
Thou Shalt Honor Thy Customer and Thy Reputation.
Amateur: “I’m just this guy that makes art. What’s customer service? If I make good art, that’s all that matters because that’s all they really want.”
Professional: “I’m a service provider and I take customer service seriously. I am an artist, but my success in that depends on creating art to my client’s exact specifications.”
Manager’s Insight: You are in the customer service business. Be responsive and make the client happy and maintain it.
A lot of artists coming from a studio environment don’t really have to worry about doing much else besides showing up and doing what’s asked of them. It’s usually hard for people to get fired for unsatisfactory performance, so a lot of annoying little habits and behaviors can get glossed over. (note: Everyone notices even if they don’t bring it up.)
It’s a lot like dating. You work out, dress well and try to get in “dating shape” so you can look as attractive as possible for potential mates. [Insert charming romantic comedy “how they met” story here, possibly starring Gerard Butler and Jennifer Lopez.] Then when you’re in a relationship, you let a few things slide because you’re safe. Contractors do this. Contractors should not do this.
This is the difference between being a contractor versus being employed full-time at a studio. As a contractor, you are ALWAYS dating. You are ALWAYS selling. You ALWAYS have to keep that standard of careful attention to detail, composure, and will to go the extra mile to make your client happy so you’ll keep working with them long-term. And even clients like flowers from time to time. (note: Please do not actually send clients flowers.)
THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT.
Thou Shalt Not Mock the Client with Feeble Protestations.
Amateur: “My dog ate my stylus!”
Professional: “I dropped the ball on this, and I will do my best to correct it.”
Manager’s Insight: I don’t want excuses, I want results. If you screwed up, be honest and let me know so I can plan for that. I’ve heard EVERY excuse. I know the difference between a reason and an excuse.
I’ve seen weird technical issues that are magically resolved when I try to step in to help.
Oh, you never got that email you had actually already replied to?
Wow, your wife\girlfriend DEMANDED that you nap through this deadline (true story!)
The list goes on. For my part, when I make a mistake, I own up to it. It sucks, it’s awkward, and I feel bad. But making lame excuses makes me look irresponsible, sloppy, and insults my client’s intelligence.
There is definitely a difference between an excuse and a valid reason. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference. But if enough of those stack up, that’s a red flag. It’s easy to think to yourself “These are all perfectly valid reasons! If they’re reasonable, they’ll totally understand and forgive me.” Sure, but the more mistakes there are the less I’ll ultimately trust you, valid or not. If I hear one more “It was an Act of God!” story…
Don’t be a mistake factory. But if you make one, just fix it. I don’t always really need to know the details of why, just that a mistake was made and that you’re on top of it now. Honestly, I just want results and honesty so I can understand the situation, troubleshoot as needed, adjust the schedule and allocate resources to keep production moving.
THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT.
Thou Shalt Start a Website and Find a Good Domain.
firstname.lastname@example.org email is professional. If you use webmail, Gmail only. Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, etc look amateur.
Get a dot com. Second best is dot net.
Avoid weird TLDs (top level domains) if you can. Also avoid subdomains.
Bad example: “ieatpaper.iamaprofessionalartist.co.xxx.nz.abc.123.omg”
If you don’t use your real name, be simple. If you say the name aloud, can people find it on the first try?
Bad example: “Superdeliciousartistboythatmakesart.com/portfolio/lookatmeIamcreative!!11/”
Avoid internet slang.
Bad example: “lolwutplsbesrs.net”
Avoid bad spelling.
Bad example: “imaektehthreedeemodelz.net”
If you must hyphenate, use only one.
Bad example: “c-o-n-c-e-p-t-artist.com”
Avoid complicated words.
Bad example: “www.archaeologicalartisan.com”
Avoid unintentional words.
Bad example: www.FerrethAndJobs.com (yes, this is real, it’s a law firm)
If it takes longer than three seconds to speak aloud or explain, it’s too long.
Bad example: “It’s incompatenceingameduhvelopment.com, but ‘incompetence’ is spelled ‘i-n-c-o-m-p-a to be funny blah blah blah”
Don’t pick something offensive. If it has to do with drugs, sex, poop, communicable diseases or Nickelback, reconsider your life.
Bad example: “snotinmyhair.com”
Short and simple is best.
Good examples: “chrisholden.net,” “autodestruct.com,” and “twotongraphics.com”
Man, I really suck at posting notices about events where I’m speaking. Last night there was an event called Infinite Resolution Zero LatencyI at the University of Texas in Austin. They had several game developers taking two minutes each to describe their vision of the future of video games. After that, they adjourned to check out video games on the world’s largest HD screen.
Well, I got a chance to speak there on my vision of the future of games, and I wanted to repost the text of it here. Here it is:
Hi, I’m Jon Jones and I run smArtist, an art production management agency where I specialize in art outsourcing.
“What do I see as the future for video games?”
I’ll take this in a different direction: From a production standpoint, I see the future bringing more freelancing, free agency and freedom. As long as expensive AAAA blockbusters exist, dumb money will follow. Mistakes will be made. Studios will crumble, and layoffs will abound. Behold the system.
I see the rise of contract studios, of mercenaries, hired out on a project-by-project basis. They move nimbly from one client to the next, work with several in parallel and stay afloat to grow and prosper. This, rather than bowing to one master and hoping to see forbearance and returned loyalty where, in fact, that is often a non-reciprocal transaction.
This is a tough industry. And I see a lot more boutique contract art, production, and perhaps design and engineering houses opening and prospering. It’s a safer way to hedge your bets against studio closures, cutbacks and layoffs outside of your control and to take care of yourself and exist outside the system. It’s not for everyone, but I see it coming and I believe it’s a truly viable option for more people than you’d think. Working with people in this capacity is absolutely energizing, and I think it’s the future.