Last month I stopped waiting for phone calls. Instead, I approached a potential client from New Zealand with a concept for their publishing project. I presented images from my personal work (a good reason for throwing toys into water) along with a smartly written creative brief that clearly identified my approach. If I won this job it would be a labor of love: 19 photographs as chapter dividers for a series of 4 creative business books. Not a big fee, but a big return: A complete portfolio of interesting work that would be produced in about a week and paid for by the client.
Negotiation took a few days; there’s a 16-hour time-forward difference between NYC and New Zealand. And like moose and mice, the client responded to my emails while I slept. We negotiated a fee and copyrights and the job was on.
I had initiated an assignment.
This job was no walk in the park. Propping and modelmaking took five days and the two scheduled shoot days ended up being 16 hours long (plus another 26.5 hours of retouching). At 2PM, when we (we = me and my intern, Steve Warren, from the School of Visual Arts) had already been shooting for 5 hours, the client was just waking up, putting on his robe and slippers to view the work we posted for his approval while he ate his morning porridge. It was all done via email, and he was online as promised and giving feedback to move the job along. By the time we wrapped up each shoot day, it was 1AM, 5PM in NZ. Hard work, but a pleasure.
And here’s the best part. The client gave me full creative license, which could have been a disaster, but this client was a prince. He gave clear responses and never waffled. He knew exactly what he wanted and that was for me to do my best work.
Who could ask for anything more?
Did I make a profit? A little.
Did I have fun? Oh, yes.
And that portfolio? Just as soon as the books are printed, it goes up on my dawagner.com web site.