Greyscalegorilla Podcast Ep. 75: “Name Yo Sh*t. A Love Letter to Freelancers”

September 6, 2017 - By 

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In this episode, the crew talks how to be a great freelancer and more importantly gives solid advice on how NOT to behave as a freelancer. AKA, don’t be the smelly freelancer.

Show Notes


Render Tokens?
Name your sh*t.
Organize the details inside the file.
Assemble a folder of all the files pieces of project.
Easy to work with / Personable / Dependable.
Don’t be presumptuous, you’re a guest.
Try and fit into the company culture.
Befriend everybody you can.
Maybe freelance isn’t for you.
Time Management.
Under promise, over deliver.
Strike that balance.
Nick’s wacky metaphor.
GPS Shower.
Ask for honest feedback to the producer.
Send a thank you.

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  • Wow, Chad never misses an opportunity to badmouth Otoy.

    It seems to me that Octane Render is the most in the spirit of what I imagine to be the DNA of GSG. After a while, the anti-Octane bias gets old.

    I say this realizing that Otoy has stumbled from time to time.


    In regards to the topic, as a very long-time freelancer, a rejoinder that frequently comes to mind to “Name Your Shit” is “Improve Your Goddamn Deadlines!”


    • I appreciate your feedback! I’m critical of Otoy for sure. With good cause I assure you. My opinion, however, is not set in stone. If they start addressing animation production needs I could easily be swayed back. As for your deadline comment, I couldn’t agree more. It reminds me of the old phrase “do you want it on time, on budget, or to look good. You can only pick two.”

  • I totally agree with the whole naming layers so that someone who is new can work on a file and not be completely lost. But I’ve come across some people and companies that don’t want to name their layers or make it easier on someone because it’s their “Secret Sauce” and they think that if they did this, then they are expendable and anyone can work on their files. Is there a way to explain this so that they aren’t afraid of this happening?
    Thanks for the great content!

    • I’ve come across artists like this before. In my experience, they were insecure about their own abilities. One even went as far as to lock their machine when they went on vacation. During that time, a client change came in and no one could do the change because the files were local on a locked workstation. The client ended up pulling the job and going to a competitor. So yah, that attitude is probably going to hurt more than help.

      • Ah, thanks Chad, appreciate the reply! Yeah, I’m looking up advice on how to deal with this within a certain type of company culture, and me saying all this might be taken the wrong way since I’m not a person’s boss, or I might be the uptight a-hole..
        But yeah, any other advice would be awesome!

        By the way, I always love the real life stories and practical advice–I especially dug the videos about how you guys got into the industry, as well as the one about the “did I climb the wrong mountain” and if everyone is cut out for a creative director position. So keep up the great work!


  • That was a good one guys, really enjoy them all. Thanks very much.

  • You either die punk rock, or you live long enough to see yourself become the man… @chadashley

    Don’t moan so much, why not have a topic that is celebrating an achievement, or the positives of being freelance over staff, or the other way round?

    Your not in advertising production anymore, but obviously it’s still a big part of your life, but it seems the gripes and complaints of your past seem to far out way everything else.

    It’s also the freelancers choice to work for you, and if you are confrontational about trivial things in everyday life and live in your headphones, your not approachable and exempting yourself from the rule “if you don’t know, just ask” because who wants to get snarled at by the grumpy creative director who thinks every question is below him.

    I’ve been on both ends of the scale, so now being in a position of hiring freelancers, I’m far more tolerant and have foresight into these hiccups, rather than moaning that files are messy, show them an example file before the job starts, because that’s ultimately not their fault, it’s the person hiring that hasn’t shown them the correct way to do it.

    Is a refreshing restbite when nick reigns it in and injects a crazy metaphor or rounds it up in a positive way.

    Stay classy

    • To me the things mentioned in this podcast are invaluable lessons for artists coming from areas less saturated with the industry. If one learns and grows in the studio environment, these things are probably more visible.

      Coming from Orlando – all of my work was remote for years. After meeting Chad @NAB, he helped mentor and advise me along the path to the position I have now (TD @ MvsM) – I hold his thoughts and ideas in very high regard, and think they are quite relevant.

    • Phil, thanks for the honest feedback! I did get on a bit of a soapbox here. Can’t help it sometimes 😉 I also think you are making HUGE assumptions about me here. Yes, I’m a salty dog. I proudly gripe. I understand where you could get sick of that (my wife would agree with you here).

      But your assumptions about me as a Creative Director / Leader / Mentor are wrong. I spent 20 years or so mentoring and building award winning teams, and bringing on freelancers etc. One of my favorite things in the world is building and nurturing talent. That being said, the industry isn’t all roses and nerf guns. I think it’s just as important to talk about the negative aspects of the business as it is to talk about the positives. I do appreciate your feedback though. Thanks for letting me know what you’re thinking.

      • Well i’d definetely like to hear those mentoring stories! I think you’ve done enought of the rainy side of the industry.
        Thanks Trevor for the real world example, and agree they are relevant, but in the right dose 🙂

    • Chad can definitely go off on subjects but I think you’re misunderstanding the point of the discussion. He’s trying to educate people on how to become better freelancers. The best way to do this is to use his past experiences as a Creative Director for top level studios. Not sure how that’s a bad thing.

      Also, as someone who’s worked with Chad, I can tell you that he’s not the kind of guy who “lives in his headphones”. He’s very hands on and has mentored many artists including myself who have gone on to have successful careers. If I was a young artist entering the freelance market, I would be taking notes. This stuff is gold!

    • This episode was fun! So sensory with the smells!
      I found it hilarious! 🙂

      I’ve worked with Chad many times, most of them while he was a CD at DK. He is one of the most approachable people I’ve worked with. You can ask any technical question and he’ll sit down and run it through with you in a tutorial-like fashion. No attitude, just a drive to go through the knowledge with you.

      It was the same from when I was using V-Ray for the first time at DK, to asking him about nuke(he whipped out his laptop and gave me a quick run through), to non-stop questions about Arnold as I was fighting noise issues.

      Not cooking fish around Chad, I say, that’s a small price to pay 🙂

      Besides…we all need to vent about the awkward moments some freelancers create that we can’t talk about while they’re there. Hahaha.


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