During these unpredictable and tough times, especially for artists, WorkDeer – a one-of-its-kind, 24/7 online freelance marketplace, has come to the rescue of CG freelancers.
Animation Xpress spoke to ‘Team WorkDeer’ on the trends influencing the Gaming, Animation, and VFX freelance industry as it battles the headwinds of the pandemic and how WorkDeer plans to make its unique freelance platform an indispensable resource for growth-hungry CG studios and CG freelancers across the world.
The WorkDeer online platform for CG freelance projects was launched recently. How has the journey been so far?
WorkDeer got off to a flying start in August 2020 with hundreds of national and international gaming, animation, and VFX artists already registered as freelancers on our online platform www.workdeer.com well ahead of the launch. A couple of leading CG studios were also on-boarded and were ready to post their projects.
It’s been about three months and we’ve seen brisk progress. Freelancer registrations have shot past our targets; as of date, we’ve exceeded the numbers we planned to achieve by December-end. The interest from studios has been equally strong. It’s turned out to be an extremely promising start and we will continue to keep the momentum going as we strengthen our platform and press forth.
How is WorkDeer’s online freelance platform shaping up?
As all our operations are fully platform-dependent, we meticulously built the back-end and front-end, investing generous time and efforts in the process to ensure a world-class digital intermediary for CG studios and freelancers. We had an extended beta phase…..the private beta release allowed us to conduct extensive testing, metrics monitoring, bug removal, and multiple iterations as we received tonnes of feedback. Once we were sure that most glitches were ironed out and the platform was ready for deployment, we planned the launch.
Within a month of the beta, we had an end-to-end service and the platform was up and running. It’s a robust, feature-rich, and user-friendly platform powered by advanced technology. From the virtual studio to cloud-based infrastructure and a secure payment gateway, the WorkDeer platform has it all. We’ve pulled out all stops to ensure a great user experience as well as businesspractice for freelancers and producers.
What are you doing to promote the platform and penetrate the market?
We are excited about getting new freelancers on board, facilitating projects for them, helping them build a thriving freelance practise and reaping profits. We want to inspire more people to take up freelancing and achieve their goal of a better work-life balance while getting to be their own boss and enjoying unlimited freedom. We have executed many advertising campaigns to create awareness about WorkDeer and the advantages it offers to freelancers as well as CG studios across gaming, animation, VFX, and design. We have also been building a database and reaching out to prospective freelancers and studios personally through email.
What’s more, we are currently running a digital media campaign with a never-before offer for freelancers; by registering with WorkDeer during the offer period, freelancers will get a valuable Pro-Account valued at $15 with full-spectrum benefits, absolutely free. The offer is attracting strong interest from freelancers and we are witnessing a jump in registrations.
Who are the freelancers and studios populating your platform?
We have creative CG artists specializing in gaming, animation, VFX, and design who register with us and signup as CG freelancers on our platform. These CG freelancers come with diverse skills and experience levels. They specialize in a wide range of categories including Movies/Feature Films, Television/Broadcast, Advertising/Commercials, Gaming, Corporate Business Presentations, Product/Architecture Presentations, Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR), and Education and Training.
As for producers/studios, we have gaming studios, animation studios, VFX studios, and design studios registered on our platform in the category ‘Studios’. The bulk of the projects that they post on the platform are related to film making, videos, presentations, and advertising.
Given the presence of so many freelance sites in the online market, why WorkDeer…..if one may ask?
Well, though there are scores of freelance sites, most of them target a range of discrete service categories including IT, Engineering, Analytics, Architecture, Creative, Design, Advertising, Writing, Legal, Consulting, and Accounting to name a few. Unfortunately, there is no freelance site dedicated to CGI which is a huge market in itself. Following a study that we conducted, we found that exists an unmet need. After throwing the idea to prospective targets, we realized that the potential was rather strong. So we buckled down and designed an exclusive platform for CGI freelance services.
Unlike other generic players, WorkDeer is completely focused on Gaming, Animation, and VFX. We cater to a niche freelance market and offer a clear differentiation in terms of offerings. As we are a specialized player, we’ve done away with the crowd and avoided the clutter that comes with dozens of unrelated categories, thus ensuring better outcomes and value for our targets who are primarily in the filmmaking/media and entertainment industry.
What is the outlook for the media and entertainment industry?
The global Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry is one of the largest in terms of market size. According to a market report by ‘Statista’, the global M&E industry clocked revenues of $2 trillion in 2019. That’s an important number as the bulk of freelance projects on the WorkDeer platform come from this industry.
The health of the media and entertainment industry has a strong bearing on the fortunes of WorkDeer. And we have reason to believe that media and entertainment, especially the filmmaking vertical is poised for exponential growth. Demand for content has been growing rapidly as people have been restricted to their homes for seven months now on account of the pandemic and are gorging on content.
How has COVID impacted the prospects of freelancers?
Freelancers are witnessing a spurt in business and they are likely to find themselves in more demand as time goes by.As digitization intensifies and the pandemic remains unpredictable, remote work is here to stay. COVID-19 is transforming hiring.The talent profile (full-time, contract)of companies is shifting towards freelance workers as companies embrace the ‘Work-From-Home’ (WFH) model, aiming to cut fixed salary costs and add depth to their talent pools through freelancers who bring rich experience in diverse projects. More and more companies are increasingly looking at a blended workforce; a mix of full-timers and freelancers.
Trends show that companies will be employing more freelance talent going ahead. More artists across gaming, animation, and VFX are joining the freelance bandwagon as demand is looking up. Importantly, the growth in demand seems sustainable.
How is WorkDeer gearing up to be a frontrunner in the CG freelancing space?
We have adopted a three-pronged approach to fortify our position and enable wealth creation for our customers. Firstly, we are focusing on innovation to help deliver greater value for our customers. We have invested significantly in research. Our team is working tirelessly on improving the performance and features of the platform. We will keep enhancing and expanding the built-in advantages of the platform to ensure that our customers enjoy the best.
Secondly, we are focused on scaling up so we can widen our base, drive revenues and profits, achieve economies of scale and pass on the benefits to our freelancers in every way possible.
Thirdly, on a higher level, and as a long-term plan, we hope to collaborate with industry, academia, and government to explore the potential for promoting CGI in hitherto uncharted terrain. This will help expand the overall market, generate more projects for CG studios and freelancers, drive revenues for WorkDeer, and benefit the entire eco-system.