I worked briefly as a concept artist for a game company that shall remain unnamed. (I fully admit, I had no previous experience within the industry, but a friend of mine who worked as a designer/developer thought highly of my drawings, and dragged me into said company) Names have been changed here to protect ... me.
Project Alien required me to do the initial concept drawings of the standard 3-4 angles and pass them off to my friend to be rendered into lovely 3D sprites. After several weeks of designing the world and critters in it, (and mucho hours worked) we were called in to a routine meeting.
The gentleman in charge decided that in the interest in time and money, and apparently fewer computers than needed, we would be working on a side-scroller instead of a 3D ‘verse. I admit, my friend had to take me aside and explain what that meant for me.
I can’t say I was happy about having to do old-fashioned frame by frame animations. It was suddenly a lot more work for me, and little for my friend - who is trying to build a rep in the biz - to do. We grumbled, but tried to make the best of it. He was the boss, so as long as we were getting paid to do it, right?
Yeah, right. That.
Two weeks later we were all called together to a large meeting in Toronto. For me to get there cost about $60 in parking and gas alone, not to mention unpaid time off my other job doing graphic design. Everyone was supposed to arrive by 9 AM so we could consolidate responsibility and get everyone on the same page. My friend would be joining us via Skype, being sick with the flu.
6 hours and no lunch later, the boss showed up at 3:30pm. His 2IC had convinced most of us to stick around, telling us the Head Cheese had been in a car accident, but would be there shortly. “Car accident” in Headese translates to “I was busy landing a contract for another game” in English.
He strolled in, admitted there had been no actual accident, but that he had taken up a new contract with developers already on staff, so he didn’t need us there anymore. Oh, and he had spent all the funds for the project I was on to buy new computers and software for the new project. Hence - WE weren’t getting paid. I thought the 2IC was going to kill him. Then I had to call my friend and tell him the news. He’d spent 5x the hours I had working on this project.
The kicker is, he called me 5 weeks later to ask how far I had gotten on the 2D animation cells, and whether I could overnight them to him.
I said they had been in a “car accident”.