This week on #mochat we discussed deadlines. Many of us have faced some pretty difficult deadlines down to one-day turnarounds. And we handle them differently, from simply turning down the work to pushing through it. Though we’re not often the better for bowing to client pressure, especially when the tight turnaround now becomes an endless series of revisions.

Read on for lots of wisdom surrounding deadlines and how to handle them.


  1. @MotionChat

    Welcome to #mochat! Tonight we’re talking about deadlines.

  2. @MotionChat

    It seems TweetChat is having issues. Is anyone else able to get it working? #mochat

  3. @andreworbit

    @MotionChat no dice here either. #mochat

  4. @MotionChat

    Well, if you can follow along in your client of choice, you’re good. #mochat

  5. @MotionChat

    Alright, so deadlines. Let’s start with some impossible deadlines you’ve faced. #mochat

  6. @MDSienzant

    The dreaded one week turnarounds. 🙂 #mochat

  7. @RagingClaw

    @MotionChat I’m using tweet deck with a search of #mochat and it seems fine

  8. @MDSienzant

    @MotionChat but I certainly wouldn’t say its impossible. I’m sure others have pulled insane stuff out of nowhere. Like that CMO vid #mochat

  9. @andreworbit

    @MDSienzant or one night turnarounds #mochat

  10. @FakeGreenDress

    “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” — Douglas Adams #mochat

  11. @RagingClaw

    @MDSienzant @MotionChat I’ve had a few of those 1 seekers. they are the best when you don’t get stuff you need till wednesday… #mochat

  12. @FakeGreenDress

    “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” — Douglas Adams #mochat

    Retweeted by Charles Rowland
  13. @paulslemmer

    @MDSienzant @MotionChat Which CMO vid? #mochat

  14. @MDSienzant

    @andreworbit I will never accept a single night turnaround. Impossible with a relatively small child in the house. #mochat

  15. @JustinYounger

    I might be in a good spot, but freelancing I have avoided impossible deadlines. If they are quick turn arounds I also charge for it. #mochat

  16. @andreworbit

    @MotionChat had to take someone else’s thinking particles project, reverse engineer and learn TP in 1 night for WinXP spot oldskool #mochat

  17. @MDSienzant

    @paulslemmer @motionchat #mochat in the description “done in a week”.

  18. @conigs

    @MDSienzant Yeah, single-night things just can’t happen here anymore either. @andreworbit #mochat

  19. @RagingClaw

    @MDSienzant @andreworbit single night would definitely not happen for me either. I’m lucky to get a few hours a night! #mochat

  20. @JustinYounger

    I simply dont take the job if it sounds like its going to be impossible. #mochat

  21. @JustinYounger

    The next step, which is important & forgotten, tell the client why. #mochat

  22. @RagingClaw

    @JustinYounger because fuck you, thats why. #mochat

  23. @RagingClaw

    @JustinYounger or at least that is how the client always hears it…hmmmm might be me though… #mochat

  24. @paulslemmer

    @MDSienzant @motionchat Haha, I thought so. We made that! Most fun I’ve had on a deadline. #mochat

  25. @JustinYounger

    @RagingClaw I just say “That timeline is to short to promise delivery, sorry going to have to turn it down.” #mochat

  26. @conigs

    @JustinYounger Absolutely. I think people forget that part, and instead just say “no”. #mochat

  27. @MDSienzant

    @paulslemmer @motionchat Haha, excuse my ignorance 🙂 That in a week – kudos to you and the team! That’s how to kill a deadline #mochat

  28. @JustinYounger

    @RagingClaw half the time they readjust it, because they could, which is annoying as hell. The other times they move on. #mochat

  29. @andreworbit

    @RagingClaw @JustinYounger 1 great way to piss off freaked out producer is to be completely NOT freaked out and work at normal pace. #mochat

  30. @MotionChat

    Deadlines are a reality of what we do. When it seems hard to hit, do you push to have it moved, or make sacrifices to get it done? #mochat

  31. @JustinYounger

    @andreworbit @RagingClaw I only work at a normal pace haha, unless I messed something up. #mochat

  32. @conigs

    @MotionChat I’ll let the client/producer know as we go along if it’s running tight. Then either adjust expectations/move deadline. #mochat

  33. @MDSienzant

    @RagingClaw @paulslemmer @motionchat Voodoo. #mochat and a sexy voice to CMO “dot commmmm”

  34. @RagingClaw

    @JustinYounger @andreworbit i only work if cartoons are on >_< #mochat

  35. @conigs

    @MDSienzant @RagingClaw @paulslemmer I’m trying to find a way to work ♬ doooot coooooooom ♫ into one of my next pieces at work. #mochat

  36. @MDSienzant

    @conigs @ragingclaw @paulslemmer I hope someone got a huge raise for that bit of brilliance. #mochat

  37. @paulslemmer

    @RagingClaw @MDSienzant @motionchat All AE, no newton. Sometimes the fastest and most elegant way is brute force keyframing! #mochat

  38. @conigs

    What would you say is the split of insane-realistic-loose deadlines in your workload? #mochat

  39. @RagingClaw

    @paulslemmer @MDSienzant @motionchat wow. id have just dropped the mic and left… #mochat

  40. @conigs

    @paulslemmer @RagingClaw @MDSienzant Keyframing is making a comeback after an over-indulgence in physics (IMHO). #mochat

  41. @RagingClaw

    “realistic” is the word splitting RT @conigs: What would you say is the split of insane-realistic-loose deadlines in your workload? #mochat

  42. @RagingClaw

    @conigs there is no true split. its different for each project i think. size of a project dictates the split imo #mochat

  43. @FakeGreenDress

    @conigs #mochat I’m staff, but I’m a department of myself, so it depends on how busy the company is as a whole.

  44. @paulslemmer

    @conigs @RagingClaw @MDSienzant One can’t over-indulge in physics. But often the best simulation comes from a brain, not a computer. #mochat

  45. @conigs

    @RagingClaw I mean of the project you have. #mochat

  46. @RagingClaw

    @FakeGreenDress @conigs same here. biggest problem for me is that the project managers don’t know what i do or how i do it #mochat

  47. @andreworbit

    @conigs @paulslemmer @RagingClaw @MDSienzant indeed. Setting up for “easy” newton crap often takes longer than just DOING it. #mochat

  48. @once_julio

    @MotionChat Who needs sleep? Fight against the time it’s an exciting challenge #mochat

  49. @FakeGreenDress

    @RagingClaw @conigs #mochat Yeah — they often don’t know what’s easy and what’s hard (and get them backwards!).

  50. @RagingClaw

    @andreworbit @conigs @paulslemmer @MDSienzant i have not used newton. i haven’t really had too much a need to use it #mochat

  51. @RagingClaw

    @FakeGreenDress @conigs yup, and they like to sell stuff that doesn’t actually exist in the realm of possibility. #mochat

  52. @RagingClaw

    @conigs id say a big split is when its 90% done and the client goes… i know I’ve been saying its great, but change it now #mochat

  53. @FakeGreenDress

    @RagingClaw @conigs #mochat That is the WORST. Had one project where, months in, the guy goes “…Can you do this in 3D?”

  54. @RagingClaw

    @FakeGreenDress @conigs i would have spit in his face then wiped it off with my scrotum. #mochat

  55. @andreworbit

    @RagingClaw @conigs or when something is animated to music and client wants to wait til pic is finished before changing the music #mochat

  56. @MDSienzant

    @andreworbit @ragingclaw @conigs I think this is good like once a year.. keeps us on our toes. And keeps us sadistic bastards #mochat

  57. @RagingClaw

    @MDSienzant @andreworbit @conigs that is in my dna. you really don’t want me to get extra bastardy.. it gets quite moist #mochat

  58. @judahshop

    @MotionChat Sometimes a little of both is needed. There are repeat clients that routinely need education about what’s involved. #mochat

  59. @andreworbit

    @MotionChat What about deadlines in the OTHER direction? Super long relaxed deadlines… #mochat

  60. @judahshop

    The other factor is knowing your own limitations. There are things that used to take me 2 days which take me 2 hours now eg. #mochat

  61. @judahshop

    There are an infinite number of things that would take me 2 weeks now that will hopefully only take 2 hours eventually #mochat

  62. @andreworbit

    @judahshop I’m embarrassed to admit what I’ve pulled all-nighters to do WAY back when starting out that I can do in 1 hr now. #mochat

  63. @RagingClaw

    @andreworbit @MotionChat sometimes those are even worse because you can loose focus on what you have and whats left to do #mochat

  64. @conigs

    @andreworbit Those can actually be tough. False sense of security. #mochat

  65. @andreworbit

    @RagingClaw @MotionChat that’s the response I was fishing for. #mochat

  66. @RagingClaw

    @andreworbit @MotionChat I’ve had plenty of those that ended turning into the all nighter because… i had time… #mochat

  67. @conigs

    @judahshop There can definitely be problems with over-promising. But sometimes digging that whole is a great learning experience. #mochat

  68. @andreworbit

    @andreworbit @RagingClaw @MotionChat Found that the hard way this past year… too much dreaming about possibilities. #mochat

  69. @izzyatwork

    #mochat of course, after thinking mochat was not happeneing because the other app was down, I find link to tchat.. only 15 minutes left:(

  70. @RagingClaw

    @andreworbit @MotionChat yeah. i could do this, or that, or ohhhh i could do this! and then.. FUCK I NEED TO BE DONE! #mochat

  71. @andreworbit

    @andreworbit @RagingClaw Although… I took the job because it would allow me to learn all the stuff I never had time to before. #mochat

  72. @RagingClaw

    @andreworbit @MotionChat thats actually what I’m in the middle of right this minute lol. i should be done with this project :O #mochat

  73. @MotionChat

    @izzyatwork Sorry about that. #mochat

  74. @andreworbit

    @RagingClaw @MotionChat SOLO PROJECT FOR A FULL YEAR SOUNDS GREEEEAT!! (ugh… one year later…) #mochat

  75. @izzyatwork

    @MotionChatNot your fault, and I’m slow to find links, hehe #mochat

  76. @MotionChat

    So we have just under 15 minutes left of #mochat. What’s the biggest thing standing between you and that deadline?

  77. @MDSienzant

    @MotionChat right now,… #mochat 😉

  78. @rovino

    @MotionChat other peoples lack of planning.. #mochat

  79. @MDSienzant

    @MotionChat but realistically.. not enough hours in the day #mochat

  80. @rovino

    @MotionChat other peoples lack of planning.. #mochat

    Retweeted by Matthew Sienzant
  81. @izzyatwork

    Biggest Deadline obstacles for me are Tweaking and Plussing when I should be encoding and delivering. #mochat

  82. @paulslemmer

    @MDSienzant @MotionChat That was going to be my joke! haha. #mochat

  83. @RagingClaw

    @rovino @MotionChat you mean like people in Arizona that show up late to twitter? #mochat

  84. @izzyatwork

    @rovino Good one! I hate that. SCOPE CREEP is a big one too. #mochat

  85. @rovino

    @RagingClaw @MotionChat not my fault tweetchat decided not to work for me. #mochat

  86. @conigs

    @izzyatwork I have that problem upfront. “I could keyframe this, or I can write procedural expressions to make it so much ‘easier’.” #mochat

  87. @conigs

    @rovino @RagingClaw @MotionChat I think we’re officially moving away from TweetChat. #mochat

  88. @RagingClaw

    @rovino @MotionChat sounds like a poor excuse for missing the deadline of…. #mochat BOOM!

  89. @andreworbit

    @MotionChat balancing between R&D and just BLASTING. Don’t ever want to do same thing each time, but sometimes… gotta DO it! #mochat

  90. @RagingClaw

    @MotionChat the irrational fear of something is wrong and i have to check it a billion times over and over #mochat

  91. @judahshop

    @andreworbit yes been there man! #mochat

  92. @izzyatwork

    @conigs I KNOW! I was up late this past Sunday-monday morning and I was dealing with that exact problem, lol #mochat

  93. @paulslemmer

    @RagingClaw @MotionChat I can certainly identify with that. #mochat

  94. @izzyatwork

    @RagingClaw We should coin a new term for that “MOcd” lol… I do it too:( #mochat

  95. @paulslemmer

    @MotionChat Perfectionism. #mochat

  96. @RagingClaw

    @paulslemmer @MotionChat it sucks because you don’t find that one tiny thing until after you let it out of the door #mochat

  97. @RagingClaw

    @paulslemmer @MotionChat but then of course you are the only one that sees it.. and thus you are the only one bothered by it. #mochat

  98. @conigs

    @izzyatwork @RagingClaw #mocd. I like that. #mochat

  99. @conigs

    @RagingClaw @paulslemmer @MotionChat We are our own worst critics. #mochat

  100. @andreworbit

    @izzyatwork @RagingClaw RAM preview time-loop. OCD is part of why we are good at what we do though. #mochat

  101. @MotionChat

    So we’re just about out of time. Any last minute advice, questions, or venting? #mochat

  102. @paulslemmer

    @RagingClaw @MotionChat Another good reason for a #directorscut. More time to waste perfecting a project! Ha. #mochat

  103. @RagingClaw

    @MotionChat yeah, don’t ever be afraid to slap your scrotum on a clients face when they ask why and say “because that’s why” #mochat

  104. @paulslemmer

    @MotionChat A tight schedule may not be your fault, but it is your problem. #gomakesomething on time! #mochat

  105. @RagingClaw

    thanks to @conigs and @MotionChat for another round of #mochat tonight. give them some golf clap love people!

  106. @MotionChat

    And on that note, we’ll call it a night. Look for the transcript in the coming days. #mochat

  107. @conigs

    Next week we’ll be talking work/life balance again… mostly in response to @robleger’s recent video. #mochat

  108. @MotionChat

    Thanks for coming out for #mochat everyone. As always, #GoMakeSomething!