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Daniel Gomes

Why it is so hard?

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I don't think that profit-share is a non-starter out-of-hand, but you'll need to manage your expectations. Imagine that roles are reversed -- you work as a professional programmer in your day job, and an artist approaches you to work on a project for profit-share. Their idea sounds somewhat interesting, but it isn't quite your cup of tea, and you've got a hundred ideas of your own that would probably be more fulfilling. What do you do?

 

This is why people already making money on their talents are hard--though not impossible--to secure on a profit-share basis. And you may not be competing only with their day jobs, but also other freelance or moonlighting work that might either be paying up front, or which simply might hold more appeal for them. A talented artist can literally pick any project of their choosing to become involved in.

 

Less experienced, qualified, or skilled artists are more available, but may not give the level of work you would prefer. If you're not willing to settle, a less-skilled artist might be willing to work for less, and perhaps their skill will grow, or they will at least be able to carry you to a point where you can recruit a more skilled artist to help polish things up. If you were to end up taking this route, you need to be clear and honest up front about what you're offering and what you expect, and you need to stick to it -- everyone needs to be on the same page, or that artist is going to feel used when someone better comes along. Even if their art never makes it to the final product, they should still be compensated in a measure equal to the time they put in and their skill level, and they should get a game credit or whatever other fringe benefits they have coming (The credit and fringe benefits are often what lesser-skilled artists are after, because they're trying to build up their portfolio and experience).

 

Money does two things for a part-time developer in securing an artist -- firstly, it guarantees the artist some compensation for his work, and secondly it says that you are serious about completing this project. A profit share of an unreleased project is exactly $0, regardless of how many hours of work everyone has put in. You need to trust that the other person is just as committed to you to delivering a product that's complete and suitable for sale. Its hard to trust a stranger, or even someone known to you when you're talking business, but being compensated or holding some kind of collateral can make that less of an issue.

 

Keep in mind, you don't have to do pure up-front payment or pure profit-share. You still need to offer enough up front to be taken seriously, but there's many more people willing to work for 25-50% up-front than there are for 0%. If you don't know what kind of offer to make, you can make a similar proposal to what they make in many creative industries where a producer or publisher is involved -- You define the pay-rate as a royalty or profit-share, but pay some figure $X up-front to secure the work; when the project is complete and earning money, you begin to tally their share, but you don't pay the first $X because its already been paid up front. They only get the profit-share they've earned above and beyond $X, and if their share of profit never grows beyond that, then $X is all they get.

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I don't think that profit-share is a non-starter out-of-hand, but you'll need to manage your expectations. Imagine that roles are reversed -- you work as a professional programmer in your day job, and an artist approaches you to work on a project for profit-share. Their idea sounds somewhat interesting, but it isn't quite your cup of tea, and you've got a hundred ideas of your own that would probably be more fulfilling. What do you do?

 

This is why people already making money on their talents are hard--though not impossible--to secure on a profit-share basis. And you may not be competing only with their day jobs, but also other freelance or moonlighting work that might either be paying up front, or which simply might hold more appeal for them. A talented artist can literally pick any project of their choosing to become involved in.

 

Less experienced, qualified, or skilled artists are more available, but may not give the level of work you would prefer. If you're not willing to settle, a less-skilled artist might be willing to work for less, and perhaps their skill will grow, or they will at least be able to carry you to a point where you can recruit a more skilled artist to help polish things up. If you were to end up taking this route, you need to be clear and honest up front about what you're offering and what you expect, and you need to stick to it -- everyone needs to be on the same page, or that artist is going to feel used when someone better comes along. Even if their art never makes it to the final product, they should still be compensated in a measure equal to the time they put in and their skill level, and they should get a game credit or whatever other fringe benefits they have coming (The credit and fringe benefits are often what lesser-skilled artists are after, because they're trying to build up their portfolio and experience).

 

Money does two things for a part-time developer in securing an artist -- firstly, it guarantees the artist some compensation for his work, and secondly it says that you are serious about completing this project. A profit share of an unreleased project is exactly $0, regardless of how many hours of work everyone has put in. You need to trust that the other person is just as committed to you to delivering a product that's complete and suitable for sale. Its hard to trust a stranger, or even someone known to you when you're talking business, but being compensated or holding some kind of collateral can make that less of an issue.

 

Keep in mind, you don't have to do pure up-front payment or pure profit-share. You still need to offer enough up front to be taken seriously, but there's many more people willing to work for 25-50% up-front than there are for 0%. If you don't know what kind of offer to make, you can make a similar proposal to what they make in many creative industries where a producer or publisher is involved -- You define the pay-rate as a royalty or profit-share, but pay some figure $X up-front to secure the work; when the project is complete and earning money, you begin to tally their share, but you don't pay the first $X because its already been paid up front. They only get the profit-share they've earned above and beyond $X, and if their share of profit never grows beyond that, then $X is all they get.

I like the idea of mixed payment, Thanks for the enlightenment, Ravyne.

 

I'm a professional programmer and I'd love if a talented artist (even if it is his first game) invite me to some project because im new to the gaming industry as well. I want to work on as many part-time project I can help on this beginning.

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I am a programmer and do some art. My problem with taking profit sharing is that to many people have offered it. There are a whole lot of people making games. Few of them will ever succeed in even completing there project.

 

Your best bet is to find someone who is not that great at there skill yet. Don't offer profit sharing. Present it as an opportunity to expand there portfolio. Maybe if possible give them space on your website to show off there portfolio. Present this as a challenge not a job. And above all show some respect and understanding of what they do.

 

It takes some time to to create art just like it does to program. Most programmers seem to treat artists as if what they do isn't really work. That the art just randomly appears. I have experienced this on more than a few occasions.

 

Offering to pay even if it is in small amounts over time, is more likely to get you an artist than profit sharing. 

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Most 'profit-sharing' projects never come to life, they are built on a very rocky foundation, and most people in the industry are well aware of that. 

And as Apox said if people are going to work on something in their own time it will usually be on their own pet projects, why should they work on yours for free?

 

Bottom line, if you want to make games and get good solid artwork, you need to pay for it.

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