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Bridging the Gap: Creatives and Clients

Bridging the Gap: Creatives and Clients

Let’s be on honest, we all have heard potential clients say, “your packages are too expensive”, “do you have a discount?”, or “I can find someone who can do it cheaper.”


This can be frustrating especially for freelancers, start-ups, and small businesses because we have to make a profit in order to keep the lights on and food on our tables. However, clients (potential and actual) have the right to control where they spend their money just like anyone else.


And if we are completely honest, you probably could find someone to do it cheaper, but the question that clients really should be asking is, “if I choose to invest my money into your services or product, then can you guarantee that your work will reach my expectations?” And I mean reasonable expectations of course.


Early on, creatives will want to ensure that potential clients have seen at least one example of your previous works, so they can have realistic expectations for the project that they are hiring you for since we all know that there are clients that want Hollywood level quality for little to no budget.


This is why creatives need to build a quality portfolio, and why clients need to view them— because portfolios are the best way to gauge the quality or value that the creative will bring to each project. This also allows clients to know what look the creative generally gravitates towards and whether that look and feel is one that the client is interested in.

However, if you are just starting out, then your client may still have some questions, fears, or, in the worst case, ask for a discount.

So, how can you minimize a client’s questions, fears, and desire for a discount?


The Right Package For You

Let’s be honest, there is no one answer that I could give that would stop every potential client from questioning your pricing; but, through clear communication, you can reassure your client by setting clear expectations for what the project entails and what it doesn’t.


Every freelancer, start-up, and small business should have a list of packages that gives a rough outline of what each package entails, so potential clients can see if there is a package that works for their needs.

There will be clients that ask for audio, video, and photo coverage of an event or project, despite the package they paid for only including video. You need to ensure that they know that adding onto their chosen package will increase the price, as it may require more help (boom operator, photo editor, audio engineer, etc.), and it will undoubtedly require more time.

However, there will always be clients that want to pick-and-choose various parts of your different packages.

This should lead the creative to one question: “Should you allow custom packages?”

That’s a question you have to ask yourself: “Does this improve my brand?” and “Can I output consistent quality for each client, if they all asked for custom packages?”

Some of you will answer “yes,” while others will say, “no.” And that’s okay. All that matters is that you know your own limitations— whether based on ability, brand, reliable helpers, or something else.

There is a saying that I have been hearing a lot recently and that is, “Under promise, over deliver”.

Whether you are a freelancer, owner of a start-up, or small company president, these four words could be integral to your success (as you recognize that you do not have access to the same budget as a large company for each project that you are hired to create), but you will still reach and surpass expectations by giving clients more value than they expected— given the limitations.

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Building A Character: Active vs. Passive


You can ask all your friends, family, followers, and even strangers about who is the worst main character that they have seen from any book, TV show, streaming series, film, or game and I would bet that there will be a common factor that these characters share: their passivity.

One thing that I will note is that a majority of other unfavorable characters lie at some extreme. For example, the extremely talkative character that does not allow for a moment of silence or in the case of this article, the extremely passive character.

Musings: Active v. Passive

Let’s take a look at how building a character is actively or passively can affect the story. Passive characters have been utilized since the beginning of storytelling, but what makes these characters less desirable compared to their active counterparts?

Now, I’m no psychologist, but there was a concept put forth by Julian B. Rotter called one’s Locus of Control that I think highlights why writers are taught to use active characters rather than passive ones. In its most basic sense, one’s locus of control is broken into two types: internal or external.


If someone has an internal locus of control then they believe that they are “in control of their actions, destiny, fate, etc.” while one with an external locus of control believes that they are “at the whims of outside factors such as those around them or fate and they cannot change it”.

To simplify the difference, I would claim that active characters recognize what they want and are willing to work towards getting their desires while a passive character has desires that are buried deep and are less willing to pursue them.

Imagine that you are reading a story, playing a game, or watching a movie, the main character that you are supposed to connect with does absolutely nothing and the narrative of the film just ferries them around or they are heralded as the hero though they have not worked for that position. It would feel unsatisfying, right?

I would argue that it is because of our intrinsic nature of working hard and expecting others to work just as hard as we do thus, we can empathize with characters who go through hardships and attain their dreams or goals. This is what is appealing about the American Dream and why so many novels used it in the past, though many modern writers choose to subvert those ideals as not everyone achieves their goals or dreams. However, even then we can empathize with their characters if they continue to push forward rather than languishing in failure.

This is why when you look at the Heroes Journey or Dan Harmon’s Story Circle, there is a moment where all hope seems lost, but the characters do not stay there! They push forward come hell or high water.

Great writers know how to craft active characters that propel the plot rather than having the plot lead them along.

There have been and will always be stories that have passive characters that evolve into active protagonists, but we as the reader or viewer need to recognize that growth is not immediate otherwise it will cheapen the experience of seeing these characters grow and mature.

You can look to The Giver and many others that have more passive characters grow over the course of the story. He grew not to only have his society or the book’s narrative pull him along, but into an active character that moved the narrative.

One note that I do want to make is that active characters can have passive or reactive moments rather than being proactive. This is evident when writers create living worlds around their active characters meaning that even the antagonists can be pushing the plot forward in response to the protagonists leading into a character-driven narrative that highlights the qualities of both characters rather than pitting a two dimensional antagonist against a fleshed-out three dimensional protagonist.

So, when you are working on your next project keep in mind whether your character has an internal or external locus of control and whether that changes or strengthens over the course of their journey.

“I would argue that it is because of our intrinsic nature of working hard and expecting others to work just as hard as we do thus, we can empathize with characters who go through hardships and attain their dreams or goals.”


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