Outsourcing

Outsourcing an artist can sometimes be the better option for your project for example you can have a musician work on several pieces of music rather than to hire a musician for the entire length of the project. This can be a convenient, flexible and economically friendly thing to do for the project. Another option you have is to agree a split between a revenue shares so agree that the musician will get a percentage of the total revenue once the game has been released. This might work particularly well for those indie studios that may be limited in cash and need to pay the musician after the game has been released. For this to be effective though you will have to show a solid game proposal and give a time frame and a marketing plan to support your game otherwise the musician may feel it might not sell.

You will need to create an outsourcing agreement in which you will state what you need from the individual who you are outsourcing e.g. you need the musician to create two tracks which are 3 minutes long for an intro and an outro for your game. You will state payment terms for example you will state the percentage to be paid after the game has been published and you will state other smaller details for example deliverable dates. The most important thing to state within this document is the copyright assignment (this is where a copyright holder transfers ownership of copyright to another individual) if this is not done then it could be likely that the musician can sell the track on to another individual and there would be nothing you could do about it.

You would include any timeframes you need to have the work created by, and you will need to note any penalty clauses if the deadline is important for example if you get fined for not having the project completed within a particular time period due to the musician not having a piece on time this would be to make sure the fee would be placed to him due to it being his mistake. You will also note what format or language you need the work to be in. You must be specific otherwise it is posing as a risk. You will need to include a note about how the contract can be terminated because not all projects end on a good note. For example, if the individual doesn’t produce work up to a particular standard then the contract can be cancelled without further obligation. You will finally need to have a NDA within this document so that sensitive information is not shared when you do not wish for the information to be disclosed.

I would also set milestones for the artist to produce by for example first sketches by one date, first final polished sketches by another date. This is so the artist can see the task at hand and will take this into account before taking on additional work elsewhere. If the job is too big for the freelancer then you are able to look elsewhere rather than take on a freelancer and not having something produced by the time you need it. I would also recommend good communication so having the freelancer respond frequently to any queries that you may have or that they are able to communicate with you if needs be. If good relations are maintained then there may be possibilities to work together in the future.

DO NOT:

  • Work on a project which has poor planning because you may never see a pay check.
  • Do not work for free unless you are wanting to build a portfolio, don’t sell yourself short. If a company asks you to work for free to improve your portfolio I would ignore this because they wouldn’t have contacted you if they didn’t feel you could do the job.
  • Don’t work on a game which does not have a game design document, if its not on paper then its likely the entire team isn’t on the same page and the vision of the project is unclear.

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