I’m an animator with… lots of student debt (learning to animate is hard!) I graduated with distinction and am starting my career.
A childhood friend asked if she could hire me to create a character design for her upcoming kids brand last year… To me the project sounded exciting as it was for kids, it offered an open canvas to create, I got to design a character and I was going to collaborate with a long time good friend on something.
I worked with this person for nine continuous months, making changes, meeting, having lots of chats, designing, brainstorming, etc. It was great, except I realized that in all this time, I hadn’t seen a penny.
So I sent an invoice. Suddenly, the tone changed.
Client: I’m not paying that.
In the same message, she sent revisions.
Me: Look, this is great, but I’m spending all my time on it and I’m carrying a load of debt… not just for my training, but for all the equipment that’s necessary for me to help you. It’s been long enough, I need to be paid. I won’t charge you full rate because you’re a friend, but come on.
Client: Well, you can keep your “friendly discounts” to yourself. You’re off the project. I’m sorry, but this is to save our friendship.
Later, my “friend” announced the launch of anew property which… looks very familiar, except with a new artist.
I don’t know whether or not to call them out online, honestly. They’ve got a strong following but I feel like I should share the lesson I learned.