In order of importance please list A, B, C, D below starting with the most important to you:

When you are considering a job, what are the most important aspects to you:

A) The people involved.

B) The amount you are paid.

C) The hours you will have to put in.

D) The size and importance of the project.

E) Other


There are basically two factors there when you boil it down. Here's my ranking:

1) B/C*D

2) A

A key aspect of staying in business is one's ability to balance the ratio of payment to project scope. Staying in business is integral to one's ability to do projects.

So I'd list the ratio of B to C and D as the first aspect of deciding whether a company can take on a job.

with that said, I generally stay very very flexible with regards to the amount of hours I'll dedicate to the creative process. If the scope of the project is relatively fixed (as in a film mix with predefined deliverables) then I'll not be billing hourly as I do what I do to find the best sounds I can find. If the scope is not fixed (as in a long-form narration record and edit for ongoing online training) then we bill hourly and invoice periodically.

people are great, but if I have a crappy client with a good budget I'm likely to do the work, just as I'm likely to turn down or otherwise limit a good client who's got nothing to spend on audio. On the edges of that are the really great people that we'll do favors for, and the really crappy ones who you eventually have to move on from.


For me?

A (people involved) and E (particular elements about the project that appeal to me) tie for first place. I suppose you could argue that "importance" of the project from D is part of my definition of "Other." I consider it more a reflection of perceived personal importance, how important do I find it, rather than necessarily broader cultural importance.

C (hours) follows, because I've got to make sure I have the time to commit to the project. I guess the other half of D (size) is directly tied to this idea.

B (pay) comes last for me. I'm not knocking it's importance in the decision making process, but I consider it separately from the previous elements. When I get through the other considerations, I'm better informed to weigh this factor.

  • Well put, Shaun.
    – Utopia
    Mar 24 '11 at 18:55
  • 100% agree. Nicely said, Shaun. For me, "E" also encompasses things like where I'd get to travel to collect sounds, how much creative input I could bring, and other such intangibles. Mar 28 '11 at 2:13
  • @NoiseJockey - exactly the kind of things i was thinking of. i'd also add that if it causes me to have a momentary geek-out/fanboy episode, those are good signs too. Mar 29 '11 at 0:40

A) The people involved. Will it be a networking event on the side?

D) The size/importance of the project. Helps decide how my experience and expertise can help, what I can bring to a project and what I might learn.

B) This is affect by the above. If I'm working on a project where I am likely to gain import skills and experience then I am happy to negotiate a lower rate. There are other factors involved in this decision though.

E) I rarely consider the hours of work. Since I am willing to put alot into the project to get it finished. We've all worked 17 hour days on set. Yes, it's uncomfortable, but it feels good when the team pulls together and it works fine. However, I do take into consideration what other projects I have on at the time and don't allow to fatigue get in the way of them. I also take this aspect into consideration when negotiating a rate. I charge more for 17 hours than I do 8 hours.

All of this is pretty flexible for each project.


E) Other: The job itself -- is this something I want to show off to my friends and family, or something I have a personal interest in, or is it just another job.

A) The people involved.

B) The amount you are paid. [devided by (Thanks for that Rene)] C) The hours you will have to put in.

D) The size and importance of the project.

Where I'm at, both in terms of location and step of my career ladder, it's easy to find people I want to work with but a lot of their projects are ones that I don't really want to support.

I'm coming to realize that, while my Sound Design CV isn't all that impressive, I don't need to rely on it to survive at this point in my life, since my day job isn't all that bad, and I've got enough material to build my demo reel. Now it's picking and choosing projects as I see fit, to work on things that I'll be happy with in the end as opposed to things that are just a paycheck.


Here's mine:





Basically, I'd rather work with a group I enjoy being around and that enjoys having me around. I also like making big effects so the size and importance of the project is very important to me. I really could care less how much work I need to put in just as long as I'm happy with it in the end and that I've done my utmost (the past 3 weeks I've worked on average 80-hour weeks for the current project I'm working on putting in many late nights making it perfect). I wanted to see what everyone else's position is on this type of thing to see if I'm just crazy in not going for the money or the lessened hours..

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