For this week’s alumni spotlight we interviewed VFX graduate Sean Hunsche. He’s worked as a graphic design and motion graphics freelancer for many years and still maintains a side business while working full-time for a media company here in San Diego. Sean sheds some light on the reality of freelancing as well as some valuable tips for those looking to get a job or find clients in the design industry.
Natasha: For our readers who don’t know you, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do for work these days.
Sean: I’m Sean Hunsche(rhymes with crunchy) and I currently work full time at CMW Media as a Motion Designer and Graphic Designer. I also freelance in the evenings and on weekends as a motion designer. Before working at CMW, I freelanced full time.
Natasha: As a freelance designer you have to wear many hats. What would you say is your favorite part of the freelance process?
Sean: My favorite part is definitely the creative problem solving. Being given a problem and having to work my way through to find a solution that not only satisfies the client’s needs but also satisfies my own artistic goals. With the right client this can be a truly rewarding experience.
Natasha: What’s the most difficult part?
Sean: For me the business side of things and finding clients proved to be most difficult. I generally worked with small studios from around the country but not working directly with clients meant I was at the mercy of when the studios had work and often made it hard to know in advance if I’d have work. Also because the studios were small I often wouldn’t get paid till they did, sometimes months after I did the work. When I worked directly with clients I often was afraid to tell them how much it would cost. Though I did have more than a few experiences with clients where I’d name my price and never hear from them again.
Natasha: When did you realize you wanted to be a graphic designer?
Sean: When I arrived at Platt, I’d already gone to community college for 2 years, studying different media arts. I had fallen in love with animation from taking a web design class in high school that taught flash as well. I actually arrived at Platt planning to study 3d animation and was in my first term 5 animation class when I heard about Platt’s VFX program. I’d only just heard of Motion Graphics and that it was part of the VFX program so with 2 weeks left in the term I changed from 3D to VFX. I honestly wasn’t even fully sure what Motion Graphics was other than a combination of design and animation. Lucky for me the 3D class I was in was also part of the VFX program.
Natasha: What advice do you have for other designers who are just starting out?
Sean: There’s so much advice I could give but I’ll try to limit what I have to say. I think if you truly want to be successful in this industry, you need to create lots personal projects. If you’re a graphic designer than you need to to make projects showing off the type of design you want to do, if you’re video and want to film documentaries for living, than create personal projects centered around that. Then if you think it’s good, post it online anywhere and everywhere and tag your work. You can’t be successful if no one sees your work. That said, don’t fall into the trap that you must create something new every day or that if you’re not creating then you’re not being successful. Make time for yourself, the one’s you love, and taking care of yourself like getting enough sleep and exercising. That will make you happier and in turn help you find your creative mojo easier. In short, create create create, but don’t stress if some days you have no ideas and always take care of yourself first.
Natasha: What was the best piece advice you received from an instructor at Platt?
Sean: That we all have to pay our dues. Essentially you’re going to have to work really hard to get where you want, and that you’ll have to be patient and work on projects you might not want to to get going in this field. In many ways I think I’m still paying my dues.
Natasha: If you had to pick one design you’ve created to represent you, what would it be and why?
Sean: I’m not sure there is one design that best represents me, rather I feel each design in it’s own way shows a different part of me. Like any human I have different sides and different emotions and so rather than a single design or illustration representing me, I think a bunch of them tell the story of me much better.
Natasha: Where can people find more of your work?
Sean: My work is all over, but I update my dribbble (https://dribbble.com/seanhunschedesign) the most, so I’d check there. Thank you for having me!