With the massive delays on my projects, I’ve started to doubt my own abilities as an art director.

The more bad things happen and the more artists drop out of projects, the more I start to doubt myself and whether I’m in the right role and whether it’s not them but it’s ME that’s at fault.

And that self-saboteur is one of the hardest things to conquer.

I treat all my artists with such respect. Maybe that’s the problem. They ask for an extension and I grant it. I don’t rant or rave or complain that we’re behind schedule, because I know if I do, they’ll take umbrage and quit the project.

Managing artists in 2019 is a juggling act between managing expectations and managing someone who can drop out of a project without a word of explanation why. The professional work ethic of the 1990s is long gone and replaced with a casual “there’s so much work out there, what does one more project matter?” attitude.

Here’s an example: One of my artists did amazing work for about 72 hours. Really sensational work – beyond my expectations; then sent me an email on the Monday saying “I have issues, I’ll be in touch.”

I didn’t hear from them for weeks, until I had to say “the deadline is almost here and I’ve not seen any updates”. They started working again (although they said they were working when I didn’t actually see any changes). I had to chase AGAIN and they told me they didn’t appreciate getting called “unprofessional” and dropped out of the project. I never actually called anyone professional, but it’s this eagerness to drop a project…

I’ll never know what was going on behind the scenes… so I guess I have to take it on the chin and keep focused on the future.

My artists seem to drop out with incredible frequency. I know other art directors get the same problems – I see it all the time – but it seems that no one really cares that we’ve got a contract in black and white that really is very clear about delivery dates.

It’s so frustrating, because I’ve got all these fantastic games bubbling around in my head that aren’t seeing the light of day. And that breaks my heart.

I’m going to keep going, but it’s a serious uphill struggle some days.


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