10 Nov 15
(Rant post alert)
The first time I applied for a freelance position was when I was 18. I knew I could write reasonably well and I loved video games so after a lot of research, I figured I could make it work. I’ll be forever indebted to the webzine (and later print magazine) that took me in with paid work. I’ll remember too the peripheral incidents thereafter which set the tone for how freelance work is really like.
My aim then was to pay off my university tuition. I found another startup magazine looking for game reviewers so I sent in an inquiry (at that time, these were done through an online forum). Days later after starting a flame war centering around the topic of why I’m such a big shot I deserve to actually be paid rather than be grateful for my name in the credits, I quit the forum. The magazine is still available today and the editorial standards are completely embarrassing to say the least.
At some point in university, one of my friends had a one-off task for magazine layout. I did it at some rate I can’t recall and was told later that that client bailed out on payment and they’re sorting it out with them. I bailed out on dates and spent a couple of weekends on campus to get that done and this. It’s a friend and I was young so I let things slip. I’d never be that dumb again.
While in university and early in my working life where money was a scarcity, I was a freelance entertainer too. I’d juggle or unicycle and freelancer rates were good. I maintain that I’ve never worked a day in my life where I felt my job was a pain and I still believe so. That said, the only pain that existed was where money was concerned. You’ve never heard the most ridiculous excuses and unreasonable requests from actual people until you’re in a position where your employers think you’re their well, clown.
I’ve had a large corporation bring midgets to me for unicycling lessons; I’ve had another large corporation ask me why I’m charging money when I should be working for “pocket-money”; I’ve had clients delay payment because they’re caught up with the paperwork (for months); I’ve had clients tell me that since they’re paying me, I should be on my unicycle, screw gravity, even if the crowd is practically manhandling me because of lack of space. From all of this, you’ll pick up skills like how to tell when a client is unpleasant or has a chance of not paying up and you’ll put in effort accordingly.
Fast forward to today and I’m a game designer for hire. I started taking up offers about 3 months ago and boy, has it been fun. My first client wanted to make money. MONEY! MONEY! GIMME MONEY! I explained that well, let’s start a process and we can get there because that’s more polite than, uhm, if I can tell you how to be rich without your effort at no risk, it would definitely not be anything involving game development.
I cut my hours in half even to cater to their budget. After an initial consultation, I followed up, no reply. I sent a courtesy email. No reply. Nothing thereafter. Well, at least they paid me so it’s good.
Then my next clients. I don’t even know what their deal is but a week into it, I supposedly don’t meet their standards because I wasn’t able to write up a document that I was given a 2 week deadline on, in 4 days.
I hope I get paid.
Everyone who’s ever freelanced has their stories from hell. It makes me want to hire people on a freelance basis too because it sounds almost too easy to be a complete asshole and get work done for a pittance. Maybe I should do that.
09 Oct 15
I finally lost my mind and quit my job so I can backpack for the next few months. Ok, not really, I didn’t lose my mind but the rest are true. I’ve also decided I should remain an indie developer when I’m back so yes, maybe I did lose some of my mind.
Since some of my mind has been lost, I’ve rebooted (again) this blog and pushed some content out to Medium to give it a try. Anything games-related from now will be on Medium (I’ll link it up later) and since I really like my domain name, I’ll keep all the irreverent content here. Like this video about pooping rainbows.