Friday, December 20, 2013

Full Time Job

-By Serge Birault

I moved to Montreal two months ago. Actually, I just followed my wife... She had a good job opportunity in Canada. For a lot of different reasons, we wanted to leave France and live in another country. Quebec was a evident choice because our kids can only speak french and it's easier for us too.
For the last four years, I spent my time traveling and teaching all around the world and it was great. I met so many interesting people, I discovered so many amazing places. I had the best job ever. But I realized I worked less and less... I mean, I didn't have time to do more than one or two commission works per month. I realized I had to spend more time with my kids too.

I decided to try to find a full time job and I found one. I'm now working for Ubisoft as an illustrator since a month and I have to say it was a good idea.

Of course, there are some bad points but it was the good moments for me to do that. Here are some reasons why ...

- As I said I spent so many time traveling that I just need a routine in my life. You know, starting to work at 8 and finishing at 5, spending more time with my family and having a frontier beetween my life and my job. I just realize I have more free time now.

- I was quite lucky, I never had problem to find freelancing job opportunities. I probably earn less money now BUT I know exactly when I'm gonna be paid. Comptability is hell when you are a freelancer, you really have to organize everything, especially when you have kids.

- When you're freelancing for video games or animations industries, you sometimes even don't know on wich project you're working. You only on this project for few days or few weeks. You never know what happen after because you're not on the production. It's sometimes very frustrating (ok, sometimes you're very happy to do not know ...).

- I'm no longer alone. Yes, it's an important part. Working with other people is not always funny but at least, you have a real social life. So many freelancers have only virtual contacts ... I needed to work with other people again. It was more about emulation. In two months, I met a lot of incredible artists, concept artists, 3D modelers, animators ... It's so easy to find inspiration.

- I not longer have to deal with stupid deadlines. I think all the freelancers understand this. I sometimes did a picture in few hours. I speak about illustration, not concept art. So I did a lot of very crapy stuff in ten years. Of course, you could have rush in a big company too but it's not the same because it's not your responsability.

- I'm working with an art director again. I had the feeling art direction no longer exists when I was a freelancer. I think I'm not the only one ...

- You no longer need to promote yourself. I spent so many time in the internet this last years, I had the feeling it was half part of my job.

Well, of course, having a full time job is not heaven, not every day, but I needed this now. I cannot say I will not go back to freelancing soon. But for now, I really enjoy having a full time job.


  1. Excellent post, Serge!
    I envy you, in a way. Although I am very keen on my freedom, after spending more than 20 years alone in my studio, I am having troubles with loneliness and the monotony of such a life. I guess it would be nice and refreshing (to a certain degree) to spend a few days a week working outside of my “cave” and having more contact with real people, as well as having more diversity in my daily life. Monotony can be a big problem for, sooner or later, it causes the decrease of the natural flow of creative energy and élan.
    Good luck with this new chapter in your life and work, Serge!

  2. Well done. I have just done the opposite thing...after being an employee at various games companies for longer than I dare recall, I have gone freelance. It gave me the chance to move to the coast, and I don't have to drag myself across town ( or further every morning, then back again at night ) and I can manage my own time.
    I don't know what it'll be like for you in your role, but as someone who has been 'making games' for a long time, good luck with the hope of an 8 - 5 routine and not being given stupid deadlines :)

  3. Good decisions are often the most difficult to make. I've worked for corporations my entire professional career, 19 years as an artist for Hallmark, 15 so far as an art director for Andrews McMeel (and, of course, I've freelanced all along). While there are certainly challenges dealing with different personalities and office politics, the positives more than compensate for them. I think I learned more from the people I worked with than I did in school (or could have on my own). So congratulations on your decision!

  4. "Audentes fortuna iuvat"... and you are very "audente" ;). Good luck and best wishes for you and your people the next year!

  5. Well done Serge.
    I'm could say that i'm so lucky to had you as a teacher this year in Recife, Brazil.
    My dream os work on ubi as you are now. I hope you have a great time there.
    thank you again Master!

  6. This is very refreshing, a sort of backward story but it is much like mine too. I decided to go the teaching route but the idea of a steady, known income with benefits and stability were hard to ignore with 4 little one running around the house. The best of luck to you. It's worked out great for me.

  7. It's so cool man!! I wish you luck in your new project life, your pictures are so amazing!

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  9. Le Québec, malgré ses défauts: le frette, entre autres,..restte un bon endroit pour vivre.....attention 2 impôts....

  10. Welcome to Montreal Serge! Hope you are enjoying the warm weather, it's not even Christmas and we had had three snow storms so far! Seriously, congratulations on your new job. I'm curious to see your style applied to the games industry. Post something whenever you can! Happy holidays!

  11. All the best Serge,
    A change can be good.... love your work.
    Cheers, Barry.

  12. Thanks for the post. I can certainly sympathize with a lot of what you're saying. Hope things work out the best for you!


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