Believing that cutting scenes after they’re fully produced will cut costs. We charge for producing animated video. If a client decides to cut some of it later, that’s fine, but we’ve still created it so it will still be charged for. It’s a bit like a meal. If you order a roast chicken dinner and you choose to leave your peas and carrots, you wouldn’t expect to receive a discount on the fee because you didn’t eat them. It’s the same kind of deal with animated video projects.
Asking for destructive feedback. Feedback is an essential part of an animated video project, but it can be as harmful as it is helpful. The problems seem to arise from the way in which people are asked to give feedback. If a client asks their colleagues to find fault or to figure out what’s wrong with the video, that becomes their job. All too often, this leads to individuals spending hours trying their hardest to find something, anything, so that they can accomplish their task – feeling that, if they can’t find fault, they’ve failed. This usually results in feedback that is random and inconsequential. The best way to gain constructive feedback is to ask people to watch it and then ask them what was good and bad about it. A good follow-up is to have the viewer explain the video back to you to make sure it’s communicating what you want it to. Then you can internally rake through it for any typos, grammatical errors, inconsistencies etc.
Withholding information. I’ll be wrapping up a long project, the fully produced and rendered file has been sent for review and then I’ll receive an email from the client that says something along the lines of ‘Now that you’ve finished, here’s some information that is absolutely vital and changes everything. I’ve secretly held on to this since the beginning of the project so that you had less to deal with‘. As a rule, we need to know everything relevant to the project before we begin work.
Not reading contracts or looking at the proposed project structure. This happens too often. I provide a full rundown of how we work before a project starts and try to keep clients up to speed on progress by including occasional bullet-point lists that show where we are and what’s next. Some clients ignore these updates which result in lost time and occasionally, an additional expense. It’s always a good idea for clients to take a few minutes to familiarise themselves with the way things work before we start the project.
Ignoring the groundwork is the most common mistake made by clients and perhaps the most damaging. As with a house, you can’t build the foundation last. Sometimes, a client doesn’t wish to bother their boss with the job of reviewing the script and storyboards and so decides not to bring them into the feedback loop until the video is in its final review stages. Then, as you might expect, their boss asks for core changes to the script, voice-over and overall look – all things that were signed off long before. Going back to my example of building the foundations; waiting until the video is completed before sharing it with those in charge would be like reviewing the foundations when the house is already built on top of them, the plumbing and electrics have been installed and every room has been decorated.