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Skills you need as a freelance designer, editor or animator

Success as a freelance creative requires a wide set of skills. You need to be able to produce both exciting concepts and stunning finished products, you've got to be able to work effectively with clients -- and you've got to have experience in multiple tools.

We spoke to Eddie Ware, senior design consultant at freelance representation agency The Crewing Company to find what they are looking for in the freelancers they have on their books -- which is all based on what their clients want. So over to Eddie

The 5 key skills of freelancers

Creativity and dynamism

Having designers who can be both creative and dynamic is crucial for our clients. Being able to go into a company and start a project with just a brief or concept is a real talent. If a project is at pitching stage, it's really valuable to have a designer who is not just a button pusher -- but someone who can bring fresh ideas to the table. It also helps if the designers try and look at projects in a different way and have the confidence to put their ideas forward, trying things that aren't the norm. Of course, you need a proven success rate to try this.

A varied knowledge of kit

It's obviously great if we find designers that are 100 per cent knowledgeable on specific pieces of kit. However it seems to be the trend now that clients would rather have someone who's 85% experienced in a variety of programs. Daily requests that are received from clients in the post-production industry include asking for those that can also edit and have knowledge of three or four systems: for example Nuke, Cinema 4D, After Effects and FCP.

Attention to detail

The cornerstone to success in this industry is attention to detail. It's vital that freelancer show reels and portfolios reflect this. Everybody only gets one chance to make a first impression -- and so receiving any below-par work makes me wonder if this will be carried on through to the client projects. When you're at a job, be methodical, focussed and make sure that everything has been checked is crucial.

A problem solver with good technical knowledge

Naturally, having a problem free project is ideal -- but that isn't necessarily reality. On occasions, problems do occur and having a designer that can deal with them in a number of ways is paramount. You need to have an unflappable nature that doesn't crumble under pressure. Staying calm and working through the problems in a constructive manner is the right response, and having the technical knowledge to back this up is often very helpful -- especially if the problem is to do with the system.

Knowing keyboard shortcuts and the your tools inside and out is a real advantage when the pressure is to do with time constraints such as client deadlines.

Excellent client skills & enthusiasm

This is a no brainer really, but having people skills is an absolute must for most roles in the creative industry. It takes a lot of discussions, proofing, changing and one to ones -- and could even involve presenting the final project. In this industry we constantly have to adapt not only to different personalities but also different cultures, behaviours and company procedures.

With regards to enthusiasm, bringing a designer into the team that oozes willingness and passion for their work and the task in hand is crucial, especially as a freelancer. We find by providing someone who can bring real energy, appetite and a 'can do' attitude to the project will often go down well & get the designer a call back.


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