A big part of being a freelance creative (and a stop motion animator) is being able to sell an idea to a potential client. Having good ideas and an ability to pitch them will keep you in work (hopefully). It's certainly not easy... but it is possible. So where do you start?
There are plenty of places on the internet with creative opportunities up for grabs. I use several different global platforms to find briefs with brands and pitch my ideas. Of course you can also land work by commission through your own social media or a website too... but until you have built up a strong portfolio you may find that sort of work is harder to secure.
So, I can get stop motion work without a huge portfolio? Yes, it is possible! Especially possible if you have been making animations for yourself - you will need something to share to prove your capabilities and competency at your craft.
So where are these magic platforms that can connect you with big brands and earn you money making stuff you love? Well there are many of them out there if you look hard enough. I have previously had success with a few of them. Not all platforms however are made equal and so I want share with you the ones I think are best and the ones that feel are a little bit less good.
From least rewarding to most rewarding (in my opinion, I'll explain why too):
4) Talenthouse - This site seems like fun, there are new briefs often and the opportunities are super creative. So, why is this sitting last place in my list of platforms? Well there are some downsides to the format which I will explain below.
How does Talenthouse work? The format of the site is essentially a creative competition platform. There are lots of juicy briefs ready and waiting most of the time. A lot of the briefs require you to produce the work before knowing if you will get anything in return. This might be okay if you are just starting out and trying to build a portfolio... but for a seasoned professional it is quite a commitment with no guarantee of return. They host stop motion briefs, graphic design briefs and even opportunities to go to events and interview people - the range of opportunities on offer is HUGE.
Why I like Talenthouse? It has some big opportunities for creators with little experience, there is no barrier to entry. If you are good at what you do then you can potentially get a big brand on your client list and have your work seen worldwide.
Why I don't like Talenthouse? You have to create the finished work before you know you will get paid, free labour is never a good thing. To make things worse, some briefs say that even if you are not selected the brand can still use your work without you getting any compensation - that totally sucks!! Further to this I have heard from other creators that you have to wait six-months plus to get paid (if you are lucky enough to get selected). I feel this is unnecessary when other platforms can pay you in as little as two-weeks. Oh and if that wasn't enough they are also terrible at communication, ignoring emails, which I think is super bad practice.
3) Vidsy.co - This site used to be great for stop motion. I won many brand collaborations with them in the mid-2010's. They have since changed their direction and now focus more on motion graphics and live action briefs... but it's still worth a look if either of those are of interest to you.
How does Vidsy work? You create a profile. Add a link to your website or somewhere with your work so that they can see that you have the skills. Click on briefs you like and see if you get selected. You don't need to write a pitch or proposal. Once selected you create the work, deliver the assets and then you are paid (usually in 30-days). The money is fair too, it's a decent amount for your creative efforts.
Why I like Vidsy? You aren't asked to do anything for nothing. You only create work if you are selected which means you will always get paid for your craft. There is no long pitching process before selections. You click, link to your work and if you are selected create something awesome for a monetary reward. Payment is prompt.
Why I don't like Vidsy? They no longer offer stop motion briefs. I have occasionally clicked on a few motion graphics/live action opportunities, and have been selected for some too... but well stop motion is what I prefer (as I am sure you do too).
2) TheSmalls - this site has a mix of large and small scale briefs, as well as portfolio call-outs. You can browse currents and past projects easily. I've not pitched for anything on this site for a few years, but I have had successes in the past and was always suitably impressed with their process.
How does The Smalls work? Sometimes there is a brief with a creative ask. You write a treatment or pitch and see if you are selected. Often links to previous work are required here too. Once selected you will be emailed with further details. During my projects with them I was regularly kept in the loop by Producers through email and on the phone too. With portfolio call-outs you simply fill in a few fields about yourself and share a link to your work.
Why I like The Smalls? There are opportunities to make potential clients aware of you, when sharing your portfolio you have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain. The briefs occasionally are specifically for stop motion too! In fact one time YouTuber Dan Mace was seeking a stop motion artist. I almost got the gig, but not quite. It's an easy to navigate platform and all the people I dealt with were nice too. Global also.
Why I don't like The Smalls? The new briefs seem to be fairly infrequent, I check there every week and haven't found anything recently suitable for myself or stop motion.
1) Tongal - A global community of creators, I've been a member of this site since 2014. Tongal always have a whole host of briefs for stop motion: from SYFY channel idents to animated series with Nickelodeon - they are never short of fantastic opportunities for us animators to get paid for our creativity and animation talents.
How does Tongal work? This is a platform where you pitch, ideate or produce (dependant on the project). Everything is always explained and well laid out. You are also always able to communicate with the team associated with your project and they reply to you in good time too. I've previously won a pitch with a 5-minute sketch and some text... this platform is about having good ideas and talent to back them up. You don't need to be a great artist with immaculate storyboard. You just need to be able to explain your vision. It is pure goodness and always has the creator at the heart of every project.
Why I like Tongal? Can I say everything? They have fantastic briefs. They pay creators quickly, with a twice-monthly payment schedule. They communicate and are always there for you to help you and to make your work the best it can be. The platform is very well designed and you get feedback for revisions in your account, everything is easy to follow and straightforward. You get to focus on the creation while Tongal handle the rest. So, what are you waiting for - make an account and get pitching!
Why I don't like Tongal? I don't have a bad thing to say about this site, they are awesome!
So, now you know where you might want to pitch... but how do you actually win a creative brief? I think that's probably a topic for the next blog post - I'll do my best to outline my Top Tips soon.
In the meantime give these sites a look and decide for yourself if you like any of them and want to give your creative juices a shot on one of their briefs.