what was your worst commission you had to do?

halfprism

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thought it would be interesting to see what messed up stuff people went through when doing commissions. maybe learn a thing or 2 about how to avoid more complications in freelancing.

obviously dont share anything youre not comfortable sharing!
anyways, ill start:

i remember being commissioned for 5-6 logos for what i assumed to be a vrc project, well thats what i was told anyway. they gave me the impression of being fairly professional. we didnt discuss the project much in dms and instead exchanged discord usernames and went straight into a voice call. theres nothing wrong with that and i didnt think much of it at the time, but looking back on it i find it very shady how little was said via text.

the client tells me about said "vrc project", art direction, yadda yadda. i get sent half of the money upfront and go to bed happy that i secured another job. i had a lot on my plate at the time and i was new to freelancing not to mention balancing that with my university studies. client was noticably losing patience with me at times which i understand but i did my best. we went through lots of sketches and revisions and sometimes they got their business partner to touch up my work, which i found kinda insulting but hey less work for me in difficult times ig.

working for them was pretty stressful and unpleasant at times with all the revisions and cold attitude going on but eventually we were done. it took them ages to give me the rest of my payment because in their words they were justified in paying me so late because of "production difficulties that were my fault". but in the end i got the money and i could breathe a sigh of relief.

some time after that a friend of mine who was deep in the vrc scene hits me up and shows me what my work went towards, it was this weird gimmicky nft project which i knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT! luckily they only used one of my logos (all that work really went to good use) so i was left out of it for the most part. but still, i wouldve never agreed to do this job had i known thats what it would be used for.

i didnt have receipts on what i was dragged into because as i said, all the briefing was done via a discord voice call and so i had to stay quiet and wait for the whole thing to blow over.

moral of this story is:
*make sure to have a record of the briefing in case of any scummy shit like this
*its good practice to have some sort of contract or invoice for freelance work
 
working for them was pretty stressful and unpleasant at times with all the revisions and cold attitude going on but eventually we were done. it took them ages to give me the rest of my payment because in their words they were justified in paying me so late because of "production difficulties that were my fault". but in the end i got the money and i could breathe a sigh of relief.
Man, if I knew this when I went after them I would have gone even harder. I think I'm blacklisted from like 5 different groups for how viciously I swung at 'em lol. The good ol' days, when I'd pour a double of Jäger and send the proverbial horse's head... I regret nothing but never want to get that angry at someone ever again.
 
Man, if I knew this when I went after them I would have gone even harder. I think I'm blacklisted from like 5 different groups for how viciously I swung at 'em lol. The good ol' days, when I'd pour a double of Jäger and send the proverbial horse's head... I regret nothing but never want to get that angry at someone ever again.
yea it aint worth it, im not mad nowadays and i wasnt mad back then. just a shitty thing that happened once and never again. come to think of it this might be the only bad client ive had so i must be lucky
 
Had a client who was very slow to respond (a week+ at times) and every time they came back they'd ask for either a revision or ask me to modify the design for another format. It was originally just an album cover, and then a vinyl cover, and then a cassette cover, and then the cassette tape itself, and then oh can you change this part of the design on all formats? I eventually had to say "Look, this many revisions? I'm gonna need to be paid more or I'm not sending these files." They worked me down to half my original asking price, but I was so stressed by the project I just took it and sent them the finals.

Lesson learnt about revisions and extra designs because no, turning a album cover into a different format is not as easy as it sounds lol
 
Had a client who was very slow to respond (a week+ at times) and every time they came back they'd ask for either a revision or ask me to modify the design for another format. It was originally just an album cover, and then a vinyl cover, and then a cassette cover, and then the cassette tape itself, and then oh can you change this part of the design on all formats? I eventually had to say "Look, this many revisions? I'm gonna need to be paid more or I'm not sending these files." They worked me down to half my original asking price, but I was so stressed by the project I just took it and sent them the finals.

Lesson learnt about revisions and extra designs because no, turning a album cover into a different format is not as easy as it sounds lol
yea absolutely, people dont realize how much work goes into doing multiple formats let alone tweaking something after the fact when you were just planning to do one format. it sounds simple on paper which is why i guess the client didnt think it was a big deal

i should definitely start charging for revisions cause thus far ive been very forgiving lol
 
Had a group of regular clients for a while who were fine about the commissions themselves but had a habit of being overly familiar despite the fact we Did Not Know Each Other. Eventually I stopped responding to them entirely when they sent me a meme directly implying that commissioning people was a financial domination-esque fetish for them.
 
Had a group of regular clients for a while who were fine about the commissions themselves but had a habit of being overly familiar despite the fact we Did Not Know Each Other. Eventually I stopped responding to them entirely when they sent me a meme directly implying that commissioning people was a financial domination-esque fetish for them.
jfc hahahaha ive had clients trying to be buddies with me but nothing like THAT
 
Sorry for the long post, but I would like to chime in with mine as well! I will be first to admit that a lot of my bad experiences came upon me because I was just new and naive to this.

Short Term:

- In 2022, successful musician hit me up for visuals for her concert. She had a 3-minute song and wanted a unique video, completely animated. A lot of work, but nothing I couldn't do. The video idea seemed interesting, and I liked her music. Then I was hit with the timeframe: she needed it in 3 days, during a weekend where I had some other HUGE client projects due. And the budget? 200$. And I took it, under the condition that instead of a 3 minute video, it was a looping visual that was 25 seconds. I thought at the very least, the exposure would be great for me at the time. WRONG! I don't think I got paid, either.

And the exposure is never worth it, guys. That weekend gave me some of the worst health problems I had that year.

- At the beginning of 2023, I was presented with a social media rollout for an artist's new album. It would be done months in advance, and it was work I was very familiar with doing. The budget would have been life-changing for me (still would). I even talked to the musician over the phone, and her team. At the very last moment, after about a month of negotiating, her team ghosted me, and she let me know that they decided to go with someone else at the last minute. Their reason was that I hadn't done a FULL music video, just snippets. What I was planning on doing for them wasn't even that, though-- We were just going to make several short 30second videos with snippets of her song. Which was what I was doing full-time on my own page! Even though it's fortunate that this happened before I did the work, I was destroyed. This would have really set my year up perfectly.

- Late 2023, I did a full music video. 3+ minutes, solo. For so, so little money. I figured I needed a full video on my portfolio so I never lose an opportunity like the former again. I spent about 2-3 months nonstop on it. I conceptualized the idea, boarded it, modeled, animated, edited, etc. the entire thing. I figured I needed to, to prevent the former from happening again. You'll notice a theme of "overworking" in my ethic. Their team never paid up, either. No beef with the musician though, she is a lovely person and since most of the brainstorming was done with her and not her team at un*versal, that part of the process went great!. It was the solo grind to actually bring it to fruition that was the problem. Anyways, this thing destroyed me so badly that I was grateful to be free.

Long Term:

- My 2022 year at h*ground. The highest of highs, the lowest of lows. I had been there since the beginning of their social media presence, I had adjusted to their breakneck posting schedule. But this was the first year under *00th*eves. So, now they were collaborating with gigantic brands, making multiple new types of products, etc. But, I was still the only person making their 3D/2D posts. Usually 5 or more videos a month, fully animated. Hyper realistic keyboard disassemblies, styilized low-poly, everything in between. Renders and gifs required for the website. And, my guys to get me the files were busy with so much other stuff, usually leaving me out to dry when trying to get the resources-- causing me to crunch until every deadline. I would say from 2020 - 2022, I did 90% of their social posts. Combine this with my own posts, merch, and other comms..

I was working 6-7 days a week, from 9am until 4-5am. I stopped eating to create more time. I developed many stress related health issues: heart palpations, malnourishment (I lost about 40lbs that year), insomnia, excessive sweating when doing nothing (still dealing with this), lightheadedness when staring at a screen, not being able to focus my eyes, etc. I was 23 y/o! Way too young to be dealing with health issues like that. I took a break from h*ground in 2023, but that entire year I was still dealing with the repercussions of my 2022 actions. And this is just the summary! The detailed events are even more eyerolling hahaha. Even though the pay was "good enough", and I got to work with so many IPs and brands I never thought I would, it was not worth everything that came after.

Last year was hard, and this year, I still am fighting off the burnout, two whole years later. I am learning to say "No", I am speaking up for myself now. Its okay to not take every comm that comes your way.

At the time though, I still couldn't believe anyone would pay me money for my work; And a full-time job? I felt bad even thinking about complaining, "I was lucky!", I thought.

But that is no excuse to undervalue yourself. I was afraid to say something. Don't be. You need to protect yourself. No one else will. The money is not worth it, there will always be other work. Once the money is made, and subsequently spent, you'll be stuck with so many more issues than finances.
 
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looking at the experience mentioned in this thread and holy shit i am kinda scared LMAO

im very close to graduating from uni now (around a month before officially graduated) and i was thinking of doing freelancing as a sort of side gig (to work on more interesting projects that would be satisfying to do and feel fulfilling) while having a more "boring", clock-in-and-do-2-hours-of-work-then-vibe type of job to have a stable income

i know there have been quite a few advice mentioned above already, and i personally have worked freelance (not too deep, around 2-3 comms max per month) for the past few months, but are there any genuine advice y'all would give to someone who is planning on widening his freelancing opportunities and are relatively fresh to it?
 
- At the beginning of 2023, I was presented with a social media rollout for an artist's new album. It would be done months in advance, and it was work I was very familiar with doing. The budget would have been life-changing for me (still would). I even talked to the musician over the phone, and her team. At the very last moment, after about a month of negotiating, her team ghosted me, and she let me know that they decided to go with someone else at the last minute. Their reason was that I hadn't done a FULL music video, just snippets. What I was planning on doing for them wasn't even that, though-- We were just going to make several short 30second videos with snippets of her song. Which was what I was doing full-time on my own page! Even though it's fortunate that this happened before I did the work, I was destroyed. This would have really set my year up perfectly.
its always the successful people pulling this shit for some reason, really disappointing. sorry you went through that
 
- My 2022 year at h*ground. The highest of highs, the lowest of lows. I had been there since the beginning of their social media presence, I had adjusted to their breakneck posting schedule. But this was the first year under *00th*eves. So, now they were collaborating with gigantic brands, making multiple new types of products, etc. But, I was still the only person making their 3D/2D posts. Usually 5 or more videos a month, fully animated. Hyper realistic keyboard disassemblies, styilized low-poly, everything in between. Renders and gifs required for the website. And, my guys to get me the files were busy with so much other stuff, usually leaving me out to dry when trying to get the resources-- causing me to crunch until every deadline. I would say from 2020 - 2022, I did 90% of their social posts. Combine this with my own posts, merch, and other comms..
oh damn i almost had an opportunity to work with them, dodged a bullet i guess

i hope you recover from all of this! such a shame to go through this stuff at a young age. have you thought about taking some time off to get rejuvenated?
 
oh damn i almost had an opportunity to work with them, dodged a bullet i guess

i hope you recover from all of this! such a shame to go through this stuff at a young age. have you thought about taking some time off to get rejuvenated?
thanks! fortunately, starting 2023, they changed their format-- they were able to hire a team and divide the workload; the team there is fantastic, it was just that time period where everything had changed for everyone, and we couldn't adjust fast enough. i foolishly put myself up for the task of bearing the load.

i took a little bit, but of course.. i need money. hahah. i think im a bit addicted to work. i plan on taking a vacation later this year, but for now, i just have to keep my head down and continue with the motions.
 
looking at the experience mentioned in this thread and holy shit i am kinda scared LMAO

im very close to graduating from uni now (around a month before officially graduated) and i was thinking of doing freelancing as a sort of side gig (to work on more interesting projects that would be satisfying to do and feel fulfilling) while having a more "boring", clock-in-and-do-2-hours-of-work-then-vibe type of job to have a stable income

i know there have been quite a few advice mentioned above already, and i personally have worked freelance (not too deep, around 2-3 comms max per month) for the past few months, but are there any genuine advice y'all would give to someone who is planning on widening his freelancing opportunities and are relatively fresh to it?
dont stress over it! like brawler said, take things slow if need be and dont undercharge(!!!) ever since i upped my rates not only have the clients been better, but i got more money and wasnt overworking myself.

good design takes time, you cant just jump headfirst into it imo
 
im very close to graduating from uni now (around a month before officially graduated) and i was thinking of doing freelancing as a sort of side gig (to work on more interesting projects that would be satisfying to do and feel fulfilling) while having a more "boring", clock-in-and-do-2-hours-of-work-then-vibe type of job to have a stable income
currently working part-time and slowly getting back into doing art and commissions. maybe a bit too early to tell how its gonna work out but im really happy with how its going so far. so yea, good path. definitely try it
 
currently working part-time and slowly getting back into doing art and commissions. maybe a bit too early to tell how its gonna work out but im really happy with how its going so far. so yea, good path. definitely try it
Currently doing this same thing, recently discounted my commissions and now have A LOT of work to go through (many of which paid up front! So that's been super helpful)

Trying to pick up one extra shift a week at my main job, just so it's more sustainable. From experience, this flood of commissions will have a long drought to follow, so I really wanna build my savings up now.
 
Currently doing this same thing, recently discounted my commissions and now have A LOT of work to go through (many of which paid up front! So that's been super helpful)

Trying to pick up one extra shift a week at my main job, just so it's more sustainable. From experience, this flood of commissions will have a long drought to follow, so I really wanna build my savings up now.
i saw your new prices and personally, i would definitely raise them at least just a bit. but if it works for you, sure! from my experience theres just a lot of really, really tedious and annoying work when you charge so little
 
i saw your new prices and personally, i would definitely raise them at least just a bit. but if it works for you, sure! from my experience theres just a lot of really, really tedious and annoying work when you charge so little
Oh trust me this is deffo only temporary, I just REALLY need some extra money, and I hadn't gotten any commissions in months
 
Definitely for a certain graphics programming youtuber that didn't know what he wanted. I'm not gonna name names or be too bad he was a very nice guy who compensated me for his time but he didn't seem to understand what he was looking for. I personally feel bad for overcharging him for the mostly nothing i ended up doing.
 
Definitely for a certain graphics programming youtuber that didn't know what he wanted. I'm not gonna name names or be too bad he was a very nice guy who compensated me for his time but he didn't seem to understand what he was looking for. I personally feel bad for overcharging him for the mostly nothing i ended up doing.
i think we as freelancers are justified for charging more for doing more work than necessary (in this case im guessing doing lots of revisions?) so youre good!
 
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