Having been in the prop making world for some time now, we've learned along the way that as a builder/prop maker/cosplay creator (whatever you call us), there are some things that we love and appreciate when clients do, and some things that you should just completely avoid if you're commissioning a project.
Let's start with the things that prop makers (not just us) are not fond of. Some of these may cause a builder to not work with you on a commissioned project, so please, as a client, avoid these mistakes. We want to help you have the suit of your dreams, but if we hate working with you, we just won't work with you. Plain and simple.
1. Don't Be An Email Clutterer
Builders can get hundreds of emails a day. Ask your questions in one email.
2. Don't Ignore Post Descriptions Before Contacting
Builders will try to put as much detail and instructions as possible into their Ebay, Esty, etc. postings. This includes what might come with a suit (such as props), how to give your proper size and measurements, and what we do and do not offer. Many of the questions we get asked from Ebay are clearly stated right in the lisiting. We get asked the same questions over and over, so to save everyone time we try to anticipate what you want to know so it is clear what you are buying. Some builders will not respond if you ask a dumb question that is clearly stated in the listing. So if you are not getting a response, go back and read the listing before you send another email.
3. Don't Expect Something For Free
“I need this to visit kids in the hospital, can you do it for free?” We get this kind of email almost every day. We think volunteering is great (we do it ourselves for Cleveland Clinic Children’s and Ronald McDonald House), but we also have bills to pay. As artists, our work is how we support ourselves.
4. Again, Don't Expect Something For Free
“If you make me one for free, we will promote you on our film/Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/etc.” We also get this email daily. Our first year in business, Snakepit tried this a number of times. The reality is maybe 10% of the times we worked for free/cheap, we were happy with the results. The other 90% of the time it was a waste of our time and money. Again, as artists this is how we make a living. It takes a lot of time away from our families, energy, and our own start up costs to make our products. Needless to say, it’s a mistake many prop makers avoid.
5. Don't Tell Us What We're Worth $
“OMG why is this so expensive?!? I'll give you $75 because that's what it's worth vs. the cost you're telling me!” This is also an email we get once a week. Every week. No, I am not exaggerating. We will make another post on why commissions are so expensive, but this is an email we generally will ignore. Its rude, and it is rare these people will actually become paying clients. People that aggressively price bash are the worst and should be avoided. Plus, that is a slap in the face. You are basically telling me my art is not worth appreciating. For those that want to be cheap, we recommend Wal-mart.
Ok, let's switch gears into the land of positivity, and tell you some things builders/prop makers love. Feel free to do any of these if commissioning a project, it makes what we do more enjoyable so we're more likely to continue doing it.
1. Do Send Us Happy Messages
We love messages saying you got the items, and you are happy. Even if you're not all the way happy, but you got the item and want us to work with you so you can be happy. We want to make people happy. We love what we do, and we want you to love what you got. So send us messages and let us know.
2. Do Show Us How Happy You Are
We love pictures! Got a great shot at a con? Had a professional photo shoot done in your new suit? Great!! We would love to see it and share it with our followers!
3. Spread The Love
Like our work? Know someone else who might as well? We love referrals, so tell your friends about us and what we made for you.
4. Repeat Business
Again, we want to make people happy. That's why we do what we do. And we hope you come back next time you need something made! Some of our clients have four or five of our suits, and have become part of the Snakepit family. For prop makers, repeat business let's you know that you're doing somethign right and people like your stuff. That makes all of this worth it.
So those are just a few tips from the mind of Snakepit Studios. Hopefully this helps you when commissioning your next project.
Until next time, Good Luck and Have Fun!