For the most part, you can take most of what I wrote in the previous post about finding and working with an artist, lift it, and apply it to finding and working with any freelancer. However, there are some point I would like to repeat, extend, and make more specific.
Stage 1: Pre-hire
- Who are you going to hire? Why? What do you need done? Is it worth it? Can you do without it? What are your alternatives?
- On the other hand, you should definitely hire someone who will save you time and money. You probably can’t do extensive testing by yourself, nor should you. Outsource it to your kind friends or a nice company. If you can’t do PR, then find someone who can help you with it.
- Is now the right time to hire? Make sure to start the hiring process early, so you have enough time to find the right person, but late enough so you know what you want. This way the freelancer can start working immediately and continue working steadily.
Stage 2: Making a post
- Be very specific in what you want to be done. Use numbers. Avoid vague words like “a few”, “soon”, and “until it’s good”.
- Who will have the copyright?
- How will you pay them? When? Will the payment be per hour, per asset, or lump payment?
- Again, I would recommend against paying per hour (or per word, for that matter). Whatever you are paying for, is what you are encouraging from the freelancer. If you pay per hour, you encourage them to spend more time; if you pay per word, you encourage them to make their writing verbose; if you pay them per line of code, you encourage a double spaced, curly braces hell. Pay for quality assets.
- Limit the number of edits, for your own sake, as well as the freelancer’s. You’ll be able to negotiate a better price, and you’ll minimize everyone’s wasted effort, while you can’t make up your mind about an asset.
- Remember, public posts will get you the most applications, but you can also contact people directly if they do the kind of work you need.
Stage 3: Selecting a candidate
- Have a rigorous selection process. What qualities are you looking for? Do you really need resume/samples? Know what you are going to judge applicants on before you receive any replies, you can adjust later.
- Consider asking for samples or give tests. If you do, give the hardest test (background to draw, dialog to write, song to compose) that will show you the most about the freelancer. Test the most common activity the freelancer will perform; though, sometimes to really see the strength of the person, you should make it a bit more difficult. For example, when hiring an editor, instead of giving them your normal game text, add a lot of common mistakes in there. If they catch all of those, then you can probably trust them to catch the actual mistakes you’ve made.
- When you test freelancers, don’t just accept right answers. Ask them to explain their reasoning, that way you can judge them on the meta-level.
- Hire “the one.” Search for and trust in the feeling of, “Yes, this is the right person! Finally!”
Stage 4: Contract
- Under what conditions can a party terminate the contract? How can the contract be edited?
Stage 5: Working with the artist
- Keep a public document (may be on Google Docs) with the list of all assets that remain to be done. Mark assets that are done or urgent, write down what’s been paid for, and just keep all asset information in there (may be even asset specifications).
- Plug in each asset into the game immediately and see if it fits. When checking if the asset is right, look over all criteria that you wrote up for it and see if it checks out. Make sure all specifications were met.
- Keep your team updated on status of the game. If you are making solid progress, weekly team updates are great. Less is okay; however, it’s bad when you don’t send an email at least every month.
Hope this helps! In the next post, I’ll focus on creating a schedule for the game and adjusting it during development.