My friend Dana Boadway has written an awesome article on freelancing for Animation Mentor's newsletter. I worked with Dana at Framestore when she was in New York, she is one of the many people I've worked with in this city who I really learned a lot from. I think I'd been in New York for maybe a year at the time, so I was even greener than I am now, heh. During my first jobs, I was fortunate to work with some people who were more experienced than me, and who approached working in animation from a much more mature, life-oriented standpoint. Your perspective changes and matures after working a few jobs, but it really helps to have a few people around who've already made that transition to learn from. They are the people who know that life is more than work, and have made it through a lot of the headaches and challenges of working in this industry. I will be forever grateful that I learned some of those important lessons early on, and that I learned them before working in the very challenging realm of feature animation.
Lately Dana has found success working remote freelance jobs from home, so it's really great to hear her perspective on it in this article. I've been pretty comfortable with freelancing, but when it came to remote freelance jobs I've been a little more timid. Part of the reason I love working in animation is the people that I work with, and learn from on the job. But having already gotten past the fears of working freelance in general, if I ever need to take the next step to working remotely I think I could do it. It would be a challenge, but one I feel like I could take if the work has dried up and the opportunity arises. I think she makes a good point in the article--studios who do remote freelancing on a larger scale need to have someone in charge that is very organized about it.
Here's the reason to stay open to remote freelancing. If you're still a student or are just starting out, you may feel like working in features is what you want to do the rest of your life. Here's the thing though--you haven't done it yet, haha. It may be, you may love it and do it for years as some people do. But I think even the ones that do have found some way to draw their personal line that balances work and life, and maybe have found the right studio for themselves to be comfortable in. It's harder than it sounds. If working remote freelance helps you to find your balanced life, then I think it is well worth your time to pursue it. You won't know what works for you until you gather many more experiences at many places. Right now you may only want to work on something that's on the big screen, no matter how many hours you have to work and how many months you have to work them. For now, that might work for you, but eventually you might want sleep too.
Another person I've been fortunate to work with, Jason Taylor, has found his own success working remotely from home, and occasionally working on site somewhere. I have a lot of respect for both Dana and Jason...for knowing what they want in their life, and blazing their own career path into the unknown.