HOW TO RUN AN IHA WITHOUT LOSING YOURSELF
By Robb Wagner
For an in-house agency, sourcing and managing talent is increasingly inefficient, costly and exhausting.
- Chasing freelancers
- Checking availabilities
- Negotiating rates
- Explaining the job
All before even starting to do the actual work.
Multiply that times all of your projects. You become a human resources machine, project manager and freelancer-whisperer. That was me in 2008.
I was the creative studio head who missed my kids’ games, graduations, and family dinners.
My clients were Disney and Michael Jackson.
Above all, I needed a constant stream of talent with huge creative chops. But the time to source and manage them consumed my work and my life.
In the years that followed it got even worse until finally, there was no time left to give.
Then I decided to outsource the work we couldn’t get done in-house.
Immediately, my team learned a hard lesson.
We quickly discovered that writing a creative brief for remote artists was something new that we’d have to learn.
The creative brief was already something that had to get done. But creative briefs often fell short of being inspirational enough to inspire remote artists, let alone being detailed enough to tell them everything they need to know. That is to say, we were used to telling people what to do in-person, on phone, or now on zoom. On the other hand, we were not trained to inspire people and tell them everything they need to know without ever talking. To sum it up, if you don’t cover every detail in your brief, the process breaks down.
15 critical areas of a remote design & animation brief:
1. The Job Title – Start by introducing the job to the artist’s imagination.
2. The Long Description – Describe your vision like an excerpt from a novel.
3. The Beats – Describe your timeline in bite-sized bits.
4. The Still Image References – Create a mosaic that elicits an emotion.
5. The Video References – Make the right first impression of your desired movement.
6. The Animatic – Create a roadmap that eliminates timeline guesswork.
7. The Budget – Be fair and take a favored nation’s approach. In other words, what’s good for one is good for all.
8. The Due Date – Do not try to equate time with money.
9. The Technical Info – Don’t spare a detail.
10. The Naming Instructions – Don’t give an inch.
11. The Download Instructions – Separate project and job assets to stay streamlined.
12. The WIP (work in progress) Upload Instructions – Give artists one-click access without needing third party accounts.
13. The Final Upload Instructions – Choose a system that is best suited for each project and let artists access it in a click.
14. The Communication Instructions – Consolidate your communication to one platform.
15. The Deal Memo – Seal the deal with the job terms and the legalese e-signed.
Exclusive to IHAF members: Best Practices Guide.
In this guide, I share detailed information about each of these areas, including real-world examples of successful briefs. Previously available to consulting clientele, the guide is free for IHAF members.
I quickly found that generating all this information over and over was inefficient, costly, and exhausting, just like sourcing and managing talent.
Moreover, organizing everything in one place, with assets, links and communication was impossible.
Subsequently, I looked for a turnkey system but didn’t find one. I found that all of the solutions that claimed to help usually did one thing well. So we ended up using and paying for a lot of them.
That’s when I decided it was time to invent the system to automate outsourcing.
Firstly, it let the best designers and animators we could find, anywhere in the world, bid to be part of our project. Secondly, it automated the process from start to finish. As a result, this changed my work and life forever.
My studio’s capabilities skyrocketed.
We moved into new markets creating cutting-edge immersive projects for some of the world’s most innovative brands. We still maintained our in-house team of designers and animators, but we outsourced all the work that was outside of their capabilities. Previously, we would waste time and money trying to bend our in-house artists into pretzels, which never worked anyway.
The more our work became automated, the more time I got back.
I wasn’t the only one who found this to be a better way.
Along the way, one of our best and highest-paid animators left our in-house team to join our remote workforce. He made more money bidding and doing work remotely for us than he ever could have by driving into work every day. And he got to pick and choose his jobs.
In the same vein, the more I increased outsourcing, the more my work and life improved.
Firstly, I found more time to be creative at work. Secondly, I found more time to spend with my family. Most importantly, I found the work/life balance.
To sum up, I run my entire studio from a laptop.
Our studio’s complex networks of creatives collaborate through my platform, Biddable. And I’m sharing it with creative agencies like yours because the future will involve more and more remote work.
Without a system to automate outsourcing, you could easily lose yourself.
Watch the one minute video.
In addition to the best practices guide, I’m offering to share all that I’ve learned with IHAF members one-on-one. Let’s compare notes and see how we can help each other.
Robb Wagner is an experiential artist, whose creative breakthroughs have raised the bar on big and small screens. Robb’s aim is to create a bridge between imagination and reality and collaborate on partnerships where the ask is simple: How can we do something that’s never been done before?