(Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash)
At EDAC, we recognize that not all gigs are created equal. Often our faculty will classify two types of projects: glamour projects or bread and butter projects. Understanding the difference and how to manage them is key to finding success in your career.
What are they?
We typically look at glamour gigs as those that are projects that are super fun, but don’t have a great budget. You might be doing a band poster, or working on an indie game. It is a ton of creative satisfaction, but not great on the pocketbook. These are the types of gigs you take because you like the project or the people in the project, maybe you are exploring a new skill or trying a new creative idea out. Whatever the rationale, the benefit you get is not monetary, and that’s okay. Glamour gigs always look good in a portfolio to show that you have the ability to do stuff outside the box.
By contrast, the bread and better gigs are those projects that are good for you because they help you stay fed and keep a roof over your head, but they aren’t the most satisfying for your creative soul. Sometimes you might get a bread and butter gig that has elements of creative passion, but for the most part, your primary goal is to do a great job and meet the clients needs and get paid. These types of gigs are nice to have in your portfolio to show that you can do solid professional work that fits the requirements of the client.
Does everybody do them?
Yes. In some form or another, those who pursue a long-term career will have those projects they do that are somewhere in between making money and feeding your creative soul. Often, you can see marketing agencies winning awards for work they have done with some non-profit or charity. This is an institutional form of glamour gig. The project typically showcases the skills and talent from within the organization and looks good from a corporate well-being standpoint. Your projects don’t have to be for charity of non-profit organizations, you can even do self-promotional pieces that allow you to show what you are capable of.
Are there certain types of glamour gigs?
Depending on what that means for you, you might choose to focus on doing work for non-profits for free, or help out a new business or creative. Ultimately, glamour gigs are about you giving more to the project than you are getting. Or at least, you are getting intangible satisfaction.
Why is it important to distinguish the two?
Understanding the difference between the two helps you define clear expectations and boundaries for your clients and for yourself. With a glamour gig, you will need to be clear about your time and also make sure everyone understands that you are doing this to help, but also because you get to define the scope of what you are willing to do. If you find that the client is becoming demanding about your work, you may need to have a heart to heart conversation about changing the project to a fee based arrangement. The client will then be able to have more creative control, and you are being properly compensated for your time and energy. At EDAC, we have a saying, “don’t say no, say more dough.”
When dealing with bread and butter clients, you enter into the scope management triangle that keeps everyone clear on what is being paid for. Sometimes clients will want more than what they paid for, and that requires managing expectations. The budget can only afford certain features, and to get more will cost more. We get into the details of this area, called client relationship management, in our programs.
At EDAC, our faculty are seasoned professionals who understand the range of projects you will encounter in your work life. Arming you with the foreknowledge of how to handle projects will ensure that your career in creative digital media is a long and satisfying path.
A note about our faculty
Wouldn’t you want to study with successful designers, producers, and mentors? At EDAC, our faculty are not just excelling in their chosen career, they are also great mentors who know how to work with you and your ongoing growth. This is not common. Some schools have great teachers, but they are weak on their professional experience, or they have great subject matter experts, but they lack the understanding of how to help a student develop their own mastery. Being a mentor means having a balance of both teaching and subject matter expertise. That’s what makes an EDAC education different from the others.