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Raze23

Being Hired as Co-Writer for an Indie Studio - Question about Fixed + Revenue Share

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48 minutes ago, Rutin said:

No worries. :)  I'm not sure how many gigs you've done prior to this, but I personally make it a habit to keep a certain amount I'm willing to go no lower than on services I provide, then pass up deals that are not in my range in most cases. You gotta put value in what you do otherwise nobody else will. Don't be afraid to walk away from a gig if it's not what you want, it most likely isn't life changing money.

Apart from the IT industry, I run a legal services business and I get calls all the time from contractors that took bad deals, and didn't even get paid... They knew the company had a cash flow problem before starting and still went along, and even gave them a break on pricing but still got screwed.

My advice is to calculate the amount you're happy with working at per word, then pass on that number and see where it goes. At the end of the day it doesn't matter if you charge an industry low or high if the company cannot pay you. Make sure you set terms as well and if they miss one payment I would suggest demanding a deposit that you'll hold on account.

Prior to this, I have worked on minor freelance projects over the years. For those, I typically set a rate per word that made it easy for both me and the client to keep up with. However, this situation is significantly bigger than those based off the context and scope of the project in question, which is why I am having a hard time deciding on a price to open the negotiations with. It is the type of gig that I would absolutely not want to walk away from.

As this is a Fixed Price + Revenue job is working per word still a viable metric to go by?

Thanks again.

 

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14 minutes ago, Raze23 said:

As this is a Fixed Price + Revenue job is working per word still a viable metric to go by?

Sure, you should just be lowering the fixed price portion (not too much if you can help it though!) to compensate for the revenue share.  Price per word is still a reasonable way to calculate a potential starting price for negotiation.

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14 hours ago, jbadams said:

Sure, you should just be lowering the fixed price portion (not too much if you can help it though!) to compensate for the revenue share.  Price per word is still a reasonable way to calculate a potential starting price for negotiation.

I see. Thank you for the info. I will estimate the cost after checking with a few knowledgable people near me.

Thank you, everyone, in this thread for the feedback.

Edited by Raze23

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From a programmer's perspective, I was told by other game developers that revenue sharing means you'll make $0. If there is a revenue share project, I personally will only work with serious folks, for revenue share or free, on short projects. I suggest you do the same. At best, if the game has potential, offer a prototype. If the prototype cannot sell or attract money, the project it is bust. With short games you at least know people will not be poached off or go poof, it won't hurt you too much. With a short project at least you can say you've published a game and got experience writing on a game.

To test potential of a project. Get the folks together for a period of tight, fast work, see how much you get done. A game jam for example. 

If the project lasts 12 months I would only work under an industry veteran.

At the end of the day it is the team chemistry that matters. See if the company is willing to take a contract work, as a group to bridge the gap in funding. Diablo, for example, had a $300,000 budget, the rest was made up for by taking a $1,000,000 cotract with 3DO. For the contact, the writers sounded expendable. Blizzard North had a sound guy, artist, writer, and musician all in one from the sounds of it, which is probably why they kept him around. 

I honestly think you're going to be putting yourself in a starving artist situation by the sounds of it. Seriously consider how long you can go without being paid.

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22 hours ago, WolfHound Coder said:

From a programmer's perspective, I was told by other game developers that revenue sharing means you'll make $0. If there is a revenue share project, I personally will only work with serious folks, for revenue share or free, on short projects. I suggest you do the same. At best, if the game has potential, offer a prototype. If the prototype cannot sell or attract money, the project it is bust. With short games you at least know people will not be poached off or go poof, it won't hurt you too much. With a short project at least you can say you've published a game and got experience writing on a game.

To test potential of a project. Get the folks together for a period of tight, fast work, see how much you get done. A game jam for example. 

If the project lasts 12 months I would only work under an industry veteran.

At the end of the day it is the team chemistry that matters. See if the company is willing to take a contract work, as a group to bridge the gap in funding. Diablo, for example, had a $300,000 budget, the rest was made up for by taking a $1,000,000 cotract with 3DO. For the contact, the writers sounded expendable. Blizzard North had a sound guy, artist, writer, and musician all in one from the sounds of it, which is probably why they kept him around. 

I honestly think you're going to be putting yourself in a starving artist situation by the sounds of it. Seriously consider how long you can go without being paid.

Well, they are also paying me a fixed amount and not just through a % of revenue. That is kind of why I'm trying to gauge the amount to ask for.

They are also very open to negotiation and have a demo finished already.

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Again, pick the lowest you're willing to offer if it's a gig you want to keep, knowing that they have little to no cash flow.

If you want to be on the very low end then you'll have to pick something like 10 cents a word or less... Is this something you're okay with? You'll make $50.00 off 500 words. You also need to factor in how many words you think this entire game is going to take. If the story, quests, and everything amount to 50,000 words, and you're the 'co-writer' we can assume you'll write at least 20,000 words which means you'll make $2000.00 at 10 cents a word.

I've paid well over a $1.00 per word on some projects, and I've paid a lot less such as 20 cents a word. One of my friends hires a writer for his blog and I wouldn't be surprised if it's between 3 - 5 cents a word.

Considering they're open to negotiation, pick what rate you want such as 20 cents, and offer 30 cents a word and go down if needed. In my experience doing negotiations, the first offer is rarely accepted so I just aim a bit higher on purpose. You can justify a higher rate based on the quality of your work and expertise, but again if the company doesn't have two nickles to rub together it wont mean much because you'll either never get paid, or they will do an IOU for later...

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4 hours ago, Rutin said:

Again, pick the lowest you're willing to offer if it's a gig you want to keep, knowing that they have little to no cash flow.

If you want to be on the very low end then you'll have to pick something like 10 cents a word or less... Is this something you're okay with? You'll make $50.00 off 500 words. You also need to factor in how many words you think this entire game is going to take. If the story, quests, and everything amount to 50,000 words, and you're the 'co-writer' we can assume you'll write at least 20,000 words which means you'll make $2000.00 at 10 cents a word.

I've paid well over a $1.00 per word on some projects, and I've paid a lot less such as 20 cents a word. One of my friends hires a writer for his blog and I wouldn't be surprised if it's between 3 - 5 cents a word.

Considering they're open to negotiation, pick what rate you want such as 20 cents, and offer 30 cents a word and go down if needed. In my experience doing negotiations, the first offer is rarely accepted so I just aim a bit higher on purpose. You can justify a higher rate based on the quality of your work and expertise, but again if the company doesn't have two nickles to rub together it wont mean much because you'll either never get paid, or they will do an IOU for later...

Thank you a ton for this information. I will do as you say.

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