teach your client well
In my career as a CD, I’ve (finally) learned that the number one issue threatening the success of a deadline-driven motion graphics project is the last minute client “request” that is impossible to implement … but you agree to it anyway.
We’ve all been there. The client relationship has been going great. They love the work, approvals are coming fast and furious, and even that weekend getaway with the fruity drink and the umbrella is looking more and more like a possibility.
Then … thud. It all goes horribly pear-shaped as the last minute “tweak” from the VP comes through. Tempers flare, nerves are frayed and worst of all, no poolside cocktails this weekend. You get through the deliveries, but it’s not as cool as you wanted it to be and the client love affair has cooled considerably due to some late night slip of the tongue. It sucks.
Well guess what? 90 percent of the time, it’s your fault.
Why? You didn’t teach them anything. You chose to be Picasso, the magic, elusive artist when you should have been more like Lynda.com.
Educating the client is the secret sauce for success and for some odd reason NOBODY teaches you this. Artists and even CD’s guard their process like a distrustful Gollum, petting it, whispering to it, convinced that sharing it will strip them of the mystique that landed them the gig in the first place.
This is a really bad idea.
What you want to do is teach your client how it’s done. Not every little keyboard shortcut and render trick needs to be discussed. But the 101 stuff. 3D vs 2D. Global illumination vs some cheat. How shine affects design and render time. How long it actually takes to redo a move. These basic big buckets should be discussed early and often as you work.
Soon you’ll find they are understanding the process and in the course of that wonderful free education they are receiving, you’ll start to notice them becoming … reasonable! They will start to ask smart questions, often starting with “if I wanted to see 3 second test of that idea, how long would that take?”
Now that’s the kind of question an educated client asks!
There is really no excuse for not taking them along for the ride. Because what it ultimately does is make them true collaborators. Most clients get cranky not because they are unreasonable but because nobody has explained anything to them. They will always ask for a Frank Loyd Wright home if nobody, calmly and with the heart of a teacher, explains they paid for a duplex. Who wouldn’t?
Guess what, Picasso? That’s your job.