I made it back to IGDA Melbourne this month after work got in the way last month, and boy was I glad I did. This month was a presentation by Mick Gordon on freelancing, which is something that I’m spending a lot of cycles on at the moment. Mick is (going by the description on his website) a composer, sound designer and audio director, and prolific freelancer with some impressive credits to his name (like Dead Space 3!) and a real handle on how to manage freelancing.

Mick’s energy level and dedication to the audience was incredible. He got what he wanted to say out as succinctly as he could (showing the time he put into the presentation, and honoring people’s time) and he devoted as much time as he could to answering questions. And when he was answering questions, he was committed to giving people a satisfactory answer.

The presentation itself was broken down into three key sections:

1) Why people get paid for doing things (how to succeed at freelancing)

2) Why people fail at freelancing

3) Q&A

I believe a video of the talk will be going up at some point, and there’s definitely a podcast of it happening in the near future. So rather than rehashing the talk itself, I’ll let Mick’s awesome work speak for itself and pass on a link.

The key bit of advice I got out of it?

Balancing different parts of the career that need to happen (improving systems, maintaining skills, side projects) is a matter of dividing your time into a fixed schedule. And in amongst all of that, making sure you maintain your energy levels – making exercise a priority, and leaving a good-sized break in the middle of a work schedule that goes over 12 hours or more.

It might seem simple on paper, but the best advice often is.

Also, a great soundbite I wish more people in the IT industry would take to heart:

When’s the best time to start using a lawyer for your contracts?

When you start being professional.

If you want to find out more about Mick Gordon’s prolific output, you can visit his website.

You can find out more about IGDA Melbourne at their blog,¬†maintained as one of the many things that Giselle Rosman does to keep the chapter buzzing. It’s a great organisation! (you can find out more about the broader IGDA organisation at their website)