Sometimes a project just goes poorly.
Either the final result didn’t come out right. Deadlines were missed and the client is pissed.
Whatever the specifics of the situation, the problem is usually the same; Poor communication.
Projects break down when certain things are not made clear, either in early discovery or within the terms of the project.
What should I be looking out for?
When it comes to maintaining a smooth project all the way through, there are some usual suspects that you need to be vigilant about.
1. Project terms (payment, delivery, contingency plan)
This is one of the most common issues.
People want to gloss over project terms and just work in good faith.
While this sentiment is nice, it can lead to problems and strained relationships.
Make sure that you cover your bases up front, so that if problems do arise, there are clear steps for how the relationship and project can be saved.
Some things to consider :
- Payment terms
- Delivery dates
- Contingency (is there a buy out fee if the project fails?)
2. Making your skills clear
This is another classic land mine that can explode relationships and ruin projects.
I’ve made this mistake and it blew up in my face, and ruined a great client relationship.
Over estimating your skill set, or even worse, over selling it, can lead to problems.
Make sure you are very clear about where the limits of your ability are.
If you get into project, and you can’t deliver what you promised, kiss that client good bye forever.
3. Poor discovery & pre-production
This is another aspect of poor communication.
The client says, “We’re looking for something kind of like this.”
If you don’t press deeper and get more specifics on the front end, then you could be in for a shock when they hate your final product.
Sometimes clients don’t know what they want. If that’s the case, you need to have a very detailed and strong discovery and pre-production phase.
4. Keeping clients in the dark during production
This is another classic rookie mistake.
Getting initial briefs from a client and then reaching out with a finished animation is a terrible idea.
Make them sign off on story-boards. Make them sign off again with the Art Direction. Make the sign-off again with an Animatic.
If you keep them in the loop, you eliminate the chance that your big reveal moment, won’t blow up in your face.
It might work with some clients, but it’s a dangerous game to play.
Working with clients can be challenging at times.
Some projects might even be complete failures. These are opportunities to learn and grow.
Just know that the problem 99% of the time, is poor communication in one form or another.
What do you think?
Let me know about the particulars of some of your worst project experiences.
What did you learn, how did you grow from those?