I’m a Visual Effects Artist for movies and TV shows. I’ve been in the business for over 10 years and have worked on countless projects, large budget and low budget alike.
An old professor emailed me about a shot he needed worked on. He sent a full-resolution video and was very clear about what he needed done, which was great.
Me: Thanks! What’s the budget like on this film? I can negotiate a fair price for the shot.
Client: We have about $300 in our budget for Visual Effects.
Me: I can do that. I’ll work this shot up tonight and have you a proof tomorrow.
I work on the shot all night, doing a complex particle animation and composited everything into the shot. I rendered out a low-res and watermarked proof of the video and sent it back the next day.
Client: It looks great! Can you send me the full resolution shot with no watermark?
Me: I will as soon as I get payment from you. I can meet you somewhere for it.
Client: Well, we spent the Visual Effects budget last night on another department. So there’s no money left.
Me: Well, I’m sorry then I can’t deliver the final shot.
Client: But this movie will be big! You’ll get exposure! Don’t you want it on your demo reel? Everyone will see this movie.
Me: Sorry, I’ve already got exposure. Exposure doesn’t pay the bills.
He eventually got an animation student to do the shot for free but it was terribly done. Also, what kind of professor asks former students to work for free?