Friday, June 27, 2008

taking on crap jobs

This week I took on a job I knew I shouldn’t have. In fact, there were a couple of them.

The main one is a short film someone’s making for a competition. He had a grand idea involving multiple CGI characters in a hand drawn animation style running around in a real filmed environment.

However, it quickly became clear that the script involved a lot of CGI work and that the money and timescales weren’t nearly sufficient to do the job.

I took it on on the basis that I’d do the work in a day, but of course the director added shots and didn’t really know what he needed and it grew and grew.

Even on the basis I accepted the work, I knew it was going to be a struggle. It’s now taken 2 and a half days, and been very stressful. I’ve had to delay going away for the weekend and I feel as though the job was a bodge.

I really owe it to myself not to take on projects where the budget and deadlines aren’t sufficient for the work being asked for. I’m getting enough work now and I really am having to delay real properly paid work to do this.

The film will end up being a lot better than the producer thought it was going to be and I’m sure he’ll be happy in the end, but I’ve had a rotten couple of days doing something that was far too ambitious and getting paid the kind of rate I’d have been on 15 years ago.

It’s so easy when you’re freelance to just take on whatever is handed to you, but it’s not always worth it, and you really have to see beyond “I could do this” to “why should I?”

All I’ve really done, actually is convinced a young director that if he demands the impossible, he can get it. And that does nobody any favours.

I’m a professional and I need to treat myself as one.

On the plus side, I’ve already used the money I did get for the project to buy a new widescreen monitor and a proper graphics tablet – two things I’ve been meaning to get myself for ages. It’s so good to be able to see High definition work in High definition as I’m working with it, and it’s also useful to be able to edit pictures and do 3d sculpting with a more responsive tool than a mouse!

We went out with Raoul last night to say goodbye to him - he's off to dig up prehistoric fish in South Africa. I met Raoul last year while I was making the shark documentary - he was one of the interviewees and is now just leaving his job at the Natural History Museum (which is a shame, because it was good to have a contact there!).

anyway - a night out with Raoul is always a drunken one, I'm afraid, so we all started this morning a little under the weather.

not so good for my rubbish day at work - but worse for Raoul who has to pack his library and papers...

Anyway, due to the overrun on this film project, I've now missed the chance to go down to Worthing tonight with Lisa and George and I'm going to have to stay here alone and meet them in Southampton tomorrow morning.

It's a packed weekend coming up with Gareth's birthday at a campsite in the New Forest on Saturday and Sunday at the last ever Police concert in Hyde park.

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