Freelancer in the Spotlight - Meet Chris Lucy
We recently interviewed Chris Lucy, Freelance Creative Resources & Project Manager, to find out why he chose freelancing and more about being a Creative Resources & Project Manager.
What is a Creative Resources & Project Manager, and what do you do?
The creative process has many facets to it, with different ways of thinking, different roles to play and different considerations for each and every project. An experienced Creative Resources manager understands the requirements for successfully taking a concept from the beginning, through to final delivery.
As a Project Manager, scoping work and planning timelines, is much easier to plot when you really understand what’s involved. Being able to perform both roles, gives broader understanding for managing expectations, risk aversion and ensuring the right people are involved, so a project always runs smoothly.
How did you become a Creative Resources & Project Manager?
I started up my own business very early on. I had to learn accounting, plus how to run a successful business, whilst simultaneously providing creative services. At 24, I set up and ran a creative studio in a major advertising agency, facilitating 12 creative teams. Fast forward to 2009 - working in one of the biggest news organisations, further helped hone negotiation skills and managing deliverables in high pressure situations. Fulfilling both creative and project management roles simultaneously, was time consuming. So focus was switched to resource and project management, where I had the greatest insights and effectiveness for achieving results.
“In my time working with Chris I found him to be a reliable, conscientious team member. His good eye for detail, great communication skills along with his design and production knowledge, gives him a clear advantage in project managing large fast paced accounts.”
Simon Gregory, Project Director
How long have you been freelancing?
I freelanced for a bit when I first started out, then moved between full-time roles, with a couple of breaks in between. I’ve been consistently contracting with a few regular places on longer-term placements these last five years.
Why did you decide to go freelance?
There’s more freedom, plus I like the thrill of hitting the ground running when being called in for new projects. It’s also easier sometimes being under a set contract for a particular project. You know there’ll be an end date, so you can give 110%, knowing there’s a well deserved rest afterwards.
What's the best thing about choosing to be an independent professional in your field?
Meeting new challenges and mixing with new people.
What's the hardest thing about freelancing?
Not always knowing when the next gig will come.
What's one thing no one ever told you about freelancing you wished you'd known at the beginning?
You’re a lone wolf and it can be a bit isolating at times. So invites to the office socials are that much more appreciated.
How has YunoJuno helped you as a freelancer?
YJ is a really good portal for showcasing your skills, experience and finding the next gig. Clients can easily read feedback and references – great for instilling confidence. Taking the stress out of chasing payment, has been a real game changer. As a Resource Manager, YJ has also been an excellent tool for sourcing and booking resources as well.
"I have worked with Chris professionally for over 15 years in various roles and capacities. He is an honorable, hard working and talented person with a huge range of design skills. He is always popular with both the design/creative sides of agencies and businesses but can additionally build great relationships with clients and account managers. I would have no hesitation in recommending him for any Design or Creative Artworking role as he is an asset to any department."
Martin Pierson, Creative Director
Can you talk about a project you're proud to have worked on?
It was whilst working at The Times & Sunday Times. The project was for Audible. We’d come up with an amazing idea that seemed to tick all the boxes. The client bought it. Unfortunately, the two newspapers could not agree and the marketing department were muscling-in. We had a very tight window to interview 50 journalists, recording passages from the books which inspired them to be writers. Meanwhile the two newspapers and marketing department were arguing over logo sizes and page space prominence. The job was not likely to go ahead and a very substantial amount of money was about to be lost.
We managed to hold a social get-together where the competing journalists realised they had something in common – a passion for reading. We formed a collaborative team of enthusiasts and went ahead producing the body of work regardless. The first podcasts were shared with peers, the mock-ups were so good, that when positive feedback came in, we became inundated by another group of journos wishing to be included. Word got back to the editorial bosses and our print-ready mock-ups were approved by all and printed the next day. The campaign was extended.
Positivity and determination from a few key influencers, is what really counts in business success.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a Project Manager?
- Remain neutral.
- You are the conductor of a symphony.
- Create mutually beneficial ways of working early on.
- Establish what’s possible within the boundaries of the project and the organisation.
- Provide VIP contact details to the key decision makers.
- Accept that you may be first in and last to leave.
- Take up yoga.
If a client was reading this, why should they hire you?
I’m a safe pair of hands. In time-sensitive launches & rebranding campaigns, I’ve made the seemingly impossible, become possible. Understanding project and people behaviours, means stumbling blocks are removed. Work should be something we all relish doing, and I enjoy being part of a team who can have fun at the same time as getting things done.
"Chris Lucy was my Creative Director and Mentor, who has taught me some valuable lessons on how to become a better all-round designer. I now have the confidence to manage major creative projects – conceiving initial ideas, art direction/design, plus have the know-how to produce the finished article. Working in the news/media industry can be fast paced, but Chris is very capable of handling tough situations and managing client expectations – all whilst maintaining a high standard and delivering on deadline. Not only can he commit to getting a job done well - but he's also a great guy to work with."
Vjay Lad, Graphic Designer
Chris is a Creative Resources & Project Manager who started out in media as a graphic designer, progressing through to art director and eventually running his own business. Chris is experienced in multi-media disciplines/roles, including leadership, management with hands-on creative & production skills.