Freelancer's Manifesto - A Collection of advices by Anselm v. Seherr - Thoß, Germany

Get the best or find yourself a niche!

Never stand still concerning the learning progress. Always try to be even more comprehensive. Grow with your tasks. Your goal should be to get one of the best, nothing less! Only this way of thinking never lets you stand still because there´s always someone better, some new tool, some new workaround of doing stuff. If you follow part one above you should know who and what is state of the art at the moment so you always know where to aim at. Not every project will go smooth that´s for sure but failing is okay as long if you learn from it and improve. Putting it in a nutshell you always gotta have the ambition to improve.

Another way to keep alive in the “game“ is to niche thyself. If you are the only one doing it or doing it in an outstanding way you will survive at least until another one improves and get´s to your level of expertise. But then you´ll still have your good name you can rely on. Try to fill an insuperable gap in a company. By the way that doesn´t mean you should hide your sources! This doesn’t stand diametrical to topic 3! No way!

Create yourself a surrounding as comfy as you can!

Trust me on that if your desk doesn´t represent your style, behavior and preferences it´s not yours. We are NERDs ;) ! If you are at a company for one month only for freelance don´t take this too serious but then it isn´t your desk anyways! But if you get hired fulltime or for more than a month bring your gadgets along onsite! At a few companies there are chill rooms with a huge TV set and a gaming consoles for at least two players to give the chance to relax for a few minutes. Because the story goes if an artist’s feels “domestic” he will do good work. You will work over time, nightshifts, on weekends, at your birthday, at mother´s day, on 4th of July and during “Oktoberfest”. Sometimes the only way to ease that pain is to create yourself a surrounding as comfy as you can get it at least. I literally have seen desks of artists with more than 150 Star Warsâ action figures and vehicles on it and posters on the wall near the desk! If are affiliated to those who are called “early adopters” bring your technical toys along be it your 3Dconnexionâ Space Pilot, a glow in the dark keyboard or your “12keys High Performance Wireless Laser Mouse for Gamers”. Your desk is a place where you will spend more than half of the day if not the entire day plus the night so why shouldn´t you arrange it like your room at home if the company allows you to (and if they aren´t dumb and you don´t want to install an entire desert oasis they will…) just don’t overdo it.

When I go on an onsite I bring my notebook along with at least two mobile USB-HDs with me providing music and movies as well as all tutorials I have because you can´t know what you will run into. Further on, I have DJ headphones created for clubs which kill 120dB surround influence meaning I can literally bomb myself into “musical coma” but the artist near me can hear a needle´s drop. I need that from time to time to create a kinda “tunnel” where I can focus on my task only. I beam myself into another sphere of consciousness if you will. That´s my way of creating myself a comfy surrounding…

That´s me(left) in munich at the gallery of media( together with Jensen(middle) and Thorsten(right)

Notice the Star Wars action figures on the right, the skateboard, really comfy chairs, a couch to chill out, books, the fancy StarTrekâ kinda look of the wall painting.

The Nine Biggest Myths of the Workplace

Final Thoughts

Liking back at the last 2,5 years I guess it was the right decision to become a freelancer. This text reflects on what I didn´t do but should have done, what I did actually and what I should/gonna do in the near or far future (finding my niche for example J ). Either you think this is total crap or you think it´s great I don´t care much. I think it was simply time to reflect on certain topics.

If you want to comment on that text feel free to send me an email at I´ll try to answer asap depending on how much I´m buried under current productions.

Appendix section

Appendix 1) Useful Freelancer Links to read in addition:

Mind Your Business: The Sport of Negotiating

Mind Your Business: Handyman Contracts

Mind Your Business: Tell Me Something Short

Mind Your Business: F.A. — Freelancers Anonymous

Don’t Budget Yourself Out of Business… Or Budget Blues

The Career Coach: Unemployment Insurance

The Career Coach: Jobs In A Visual Effects House -- Defined #1

The Career Coach: Jobs In A Visual Effects House -- Defined #2

20 freelance problems and how to solve them

The Unofficial Truth about The Industry


Figuring Out the Recruiting Game for Gaming

Representation 24/7

Animation Portfolio and Interview Questions

How to Work Like the Masters

Staying Inspired

Should You Start Your Own Work at Home Business?

Effects Corner - Visual Effects Career

Audio Blog of Visual Effect Career

Appendix 2) Useful demo reel links to read in addition:

Building Your Demo Reel With Sony's Vegas 6.0 and DVD Architect 3.0

Demo Reels, Portfolios and Interviewing

Demo Reels are Key to Opening Doors to Employment

The Career Coach: Demo Reel DOs and DON'Ts

The demo reel 101

Tips for a demo reel that works

Demo reel music: copyright issues

What is Bad Demo Reel Etiquette?

Useful books to read in addition:

The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

Rules For Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services

How to Get a Job in Computer Animation

Getting a Job in CG: Real Advice from Reel People

Your Career in Animation: How to Survive and Thrive

Careers in Computer Graphics & Animation (Gardner's Guide Series)

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