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What to Look for in an Assignment

Lesson 4 from: FAST CLASS: Working Successfully with Clients: A Class for Illustrators and Designers

Lisa Congdon

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Lesson Info

4. What to Look for in an Assignment

Lesson Info

What to Look for in an Assignment

now we're gonna talk about a different example, but we're going to talk more about what to expect when a potential assignment or opportunity lands in your inbox. Um new example of an outreach email here, my name is Suzanne jones, I'm the creative director. And oh, that should say at abc dishware, see there's a typo And and that's also true. The client emails will, will realistically have typos. We are we are all human. We are interested in having you create a collection of dishware for our fall 2019 line. If you aren't already familiar Abc dishware is a nationally recognized, affordable brand available in stores like Target and Nordstrom and an independent gift shops around the country. We think your aesthetic and quirky sense of design will be the perfect fit. If you are interested in this project, which would need to begin in about three weeks and take about six weeks to complete, please let me know by friday and we can discuss fees and terms in the meantime, also please let me know ...

if you have any questions best regards Suzanne. Okay, so you actually have a bit of information here, don't you? But there's still not enough to say yes. So generally at a minimum, you'll get you know, the person introducing themselves and the company a general sense of the project, a collaboration that they're interested in working with you on And a request for you to respond about your interest sometimes that's all you get. So you'll have to 95% of the time, ask a few questions. Okay, so now we're gonna talk about how to respond to an initial inquiry. First of all. Going back to our rule of thumb, you always want to respond within 24 hours unless it's the weekend. Okay? So before you respond, you want to read the email carefully and gather the information they offer. And sometimes that email is going to be long, like longer than the one we just read from Suzanne. Sometimes it's literally like shorter than the one from Dante. And sometimes it's so long that you have to read it four times because they literally have given you the creative brief in the initial email. So, a non disclosure agreement means that before you sign a contract and you take the job, they'll share the creative brief with you, which is all of the creative direction for the launch of the campaign or whatever the product. But they want you to sign that you're not gonna say a word about it to anybody. So you're sworn to secrecy basically. And that's partly to protect them. So if you decline the job and you don't take it or even if you do, you actually can't talk about the product or your illustrations until the thing is released out into the world. So, I've had to sign, see, I've been at this career for 11 or 12 years, I've had to sign probably five N. D. A. S over the last 10 years, 11 years. It's not super common, but when you're working with a bigger company or a company that wants to keep the project secret you often have to sign them especially before they'll reveal the creative brief to you. So that's completely normal thing and don't feel freaked out about signing them. Okay. You also want to know about phases and deadlines what are all the various phases of the assignment and the associated deadlines and you know this is something we're gonna also dive into a little bit more later but making sure you have time to complete the assignment is incredibly important. So understanding when things are due how many things are do when they're do is super important because you have to have enough time in your schedule to do a good job and complete the assignment. See what's the fee for the job. And again I asked in one of my examples earlier I asked that straight up it's okay to ask straight up if they don't sometimes they'll come right out and tell you and we'll talk more about fees in a minute. Sometimes they want you to quote a fee which is always the most stressful situation which we'll talk about shortly regardless. You want to get clear on the fee and the fee needs to feel fair to you before you accept a job. You don't have to cover all of these questions in your initial response. But as I said within the first before you accept a job you need to think through all of these things. Too many questions. Ask the client if they want to get on the phone? Again, always a great option. Okay if you do email a response, always begin your email with a thank you before you launch into your list of questions. Thank you for thinking of me or I'm very honored you reached out to me questions to ask yourself skill. Do I feel prepared to take on this job? Am I interested in doing this job? Do I have a bottom line for a fee? Are they paying me what I think my time is worth. Do I have time to complete the assignment? And lastly, are there any weird or unsettling issues and we're gonna get into red flags in a moment. So skill, let's talk about skill first. Do I have the technical skills to complete the job? So this is basically what I was just talking about like you know, is it an animation? Is it a style of illustration that I've never done before? Is it a file format that I'm not familiar application? I'm not familiar working with? Um you want to make sure you have the technical skills. So super important to do that here. I'm not talking about creative skill, they've reached out to you because they think you can do the job always remember that. Okay, so in this case we're just talking about like whether you can complete the assignment with your technical skill most of the time the answer is going to be yes. But it's an important question to ask. Interest. Does the assignment sound interesting to me? That matters If the assignment isn't interesting to you, especially if it's something that's gonna last you know 4-6 weeks, what could happen? You're gonna get completely bored and I'm more motivated if it's not it doesn't sound interesting to you can never predict whether a job is really going to be interesting to you. Sometimes they sound really exciting and they end up being horrible and sometimes you think it's going to be boring and it ends up being really fun. Is this an idea? I can get behind a concept? I can get behind. Am I excited about working with this client? Is this something that I'm gonna want to put in my portfolio? Does it align with my values? Am I going to be embarrassed that I worked for this client when I'm ready to show it? You know is this work I want to do? Is this interesting to me that matters and that should influence your decision money. Do I feel good about the fee they're offering time. Do I have time to complete the assignment by the deadline? Okay. You have to have time in your schedule to do the work or you're not being fair to the client

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