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Old 11-11-2013, 03:43 PM   #1
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CB: This is the Proper Way to Say ‘NO’ to Companies That Want Free Work

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It has often been said that the rhythmicality of animation has much in common with music. The other, more unfortunate, similarity between the two arts is that the animation artist, like the musician, often has to contend with companies that believe the work they produce has no monetary value.

British indietronica artist Whitey finally had enough of the “there’s no budget for music” shtick after he was approached by the TV production company Betty, who asked to use his music for free in one of their shows. Whitey penned a biting response and promised to share it, which he did on his Facebook page.

The sentiment is not much different from what character designer Stephen Silver has preached to young artists, what writer Harlan Ellison has ranted and raved about, and what we’ve been saying on Cartoon Brew for years. It boils down simply to this: if you operate a company that earns money (and even if you don’t), don’t expect artists to work for free."



http://www.cartoonbrew.com/business...work-90791.html
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Last edited by RobertoOrtiz : 11-11-2013 at 03:49 PM.
 
Old 11-11-2013, 04:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertoOrtiz
Quote
It has often been said that the rhythmicality of animation has much in common with music. The other, more unfortunate, similarity between the two arts is that the animation artist, like the musician, often has to contend with companies that believe the work they produce has no monetary value.

British indietronica artist Whitey finally had enough of the “there’s no budget for music” shtick after he was approached by the TV production company Betty, who asked to use his music for free in one of their shows. Whitey penned a biting response and promised to share it, which he did on his Facebook page.

The sentiment is not much different from what character designer Stephen Silver has preached to young artists, what writer Harlan Ellison has ranted and raved about, and what we’ve been saying on Cartoon Brew for years. It boils down simply to this: if you operate a company that earns money (and even if you don’t), don’t expect artists to work for free."



http://www.cartoonbrew.com/business...work-90791.html


...Slow Claping of appreciation...
 
Old 11-11-2013, 04:46 PM   #3
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I'll take this a step further. I've personally almost totally given up on any form of collaboration whatsoever. I am slowly learning that the only person you can really depend on in this industry is yourself. Oh well.
 
Old 11-11-2013, 05:22 PM   #4
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I've recently been burned by this myself.

Over the past year and a bit, I've gotten pretty heavily into photography, specifically music photography, and after shooting just four gigs of friend's bands, I lucked out (right place, right time kinda thing) and got a photo pass to shoot a well known hardcore band for a metal website. I did a decent job with the photos and from that point on, I began shooting regularly for the site. Being almost totally new to photography, I jumped at the chance to shoot cool bands (I'm a huge metal fan, so shooting metal bands was pretty much the ultimate for me), and ended up shooting for over a year for this site, for free. The fact that, as far as I am aware, the site isn't making any money for the owner was how I justified the whole shooting for free thing.

Thing is though, I wasn't really shooting for free. Ultimately, I was actually paying to shoot. I invested an almost obscene amount of money in photography gear, as well as transport costs to and from gigs and festivals. In addition to this, it takes a lot of time to go through photos after shooting a gig, picking out the best ones, processing them, and all that kind of stuff. It's very time consuming. So when, a few months ago, I was approached by one of my favourite magazines, who actually pay their photographers, I was over the moon to start making some money back.

Unfortunately, the website I'd been shooting for wasn't as overjoyed as I was, even though I had continued to shoot gigs for them alongside the magazine gigs. And a few weeks back, I got a pissy message from the site owner while I was at a gig shooting for the mag, basically "firing" me, because I'd been "disloyal". Dafuq? The moral of the story is this: when you work for free, the people you're working for will never truly value you, because they really have no idea (or simply don't care) how valuable your skills are. They don't seem to understand how hard one has to work to get good at any kind of creative endeavour. And just as is the case with photography, where everyone thinks it's really easy, CG has a bit of a reputation for being a button-pushing task, even though there's so much more to it than that. But people neither appreciate nor care about that, they just want to milk artists for all they're worth, to their own benefit. And unfortunately, we're willing to allow ourselves to be exploited. In the case of CG, because every kid with a cracked copy of Photoshop is willing to work for free, it's totally cheapened the craft.

I'm never been a mercenary type person, but I've now made the decision to not shoot for people for free any more, just as I'd never do CG work for any entity for free. Okay, sure there are some occasions where I'd be willing to consider it, such as charity work, but never again will I do what I did for that website. And I'd advise everyone else to think very carefully about any similar situations they may end up in themselves.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
And unfortunately, we're willing to allow ourselves to be exploited.


I refuse to be exploited in any way shape or form. I started doing art/cg when I was 12 or 13 years old. That was about 14 years ago. I have yet to earn a single penny from cg because I did the "risky" thing and generalized my skills, now I think I am finally at the point where I understand every aspect of the industry from animation to the politics of it and I can start work on my short film entirely by myself. When completed I hopefully will be able to start work immediately as a director or some other high level management position.

Last edited by PaulEMcLaughlin : 11-11-2013 at 05:57 PM.
 
Old 11-11-2013, 06:44 PM   #6
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Back when I worked freelance I learned pretty quickly to stamp out the b.s., and soon after most of my clients learned I'm not a fan of 'negotiating'. My fee is what it is, and I get 1/3rd up front before I lift a finger, period. As long as you're reasonably priced to begin with, and your work is worth it, the clients that are worth working with won't have a problem with it.

In my experience, the ones who try to wiggle out of paying a deposit, are going to try to wiggle out of paying you at all. So it works out best to get rid of them right off the bat. It just doesn't make any sense to spend time having to hassle someone into paying their bill, when you could be actually 'working' for a responsible client instead.

As for all the usual arguments used for flat out free work, the thing I hate about these is they often infer that I somehow can't think for myself. I've got enough crap ideas of my own to keep me busy for three lifetimes if actually executed (as I'm sure most of us do). It takes everything I've got to try to squeeze out the time to work on the things I want to do, and at best I'd be lucky to ever get 1/4 of them done in my life. So when someone want's me to work for free on something, they'll have to convince me my time is better spent on their project than one of my own. Few ever sincerely attempt to do so,
 
Old 11-11-2013, 06:51 PM   #7
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I can't stop the "work for free" mentality, and certainly my advise has been written a millionth time before:

Always insist on a written and signed agreement with a detailed licensing / usage description (be as restrictive and detailed as possible) ....Period.

Its surprising how much this little "formality"provides you with a good base for _real_ business talk. And as a side effect it might also makes yourself rethink _what_ you actually provide (for free/paid).

chris

Last edited by tischbein3 : 11-12-2013 at 04:05 PM.
 
Old 11-11-2013, 08:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
I'm never been a mercenary type person, but I've now made the decision to not shoot for people for free any more, just as I'd never do CG work for any entity for free. Okay, sure there are some occasions where I'd be willing to consider it, such as charity work, but never again will I do what I did for that website. And I'd advise everyone else to think very carefully about any similar situations they may end up in themselves.



I'm not a Pro Photographer by any means, far far from it, just do it because I love it and sometimes I'm asked if I can take photos of some event for friends. I say yes and never charged for it but I have one major condition, Photos are delivered when I feel like it and only the ones I want to deliver, don't pressure me saying do you have them can I see them because I always tell they can be ready next week or next month or in 2-3 months. So they know that my "free" work will have some demandings, and if I want to Publish those photos be it on Flickr or elsewhere I have the rights to do so, but even so I ask first.

I also don't enter Contests where they can do whatever they want your Photo and you will not get compensated, this are what the vast majority of the photo Contests out there force you to so if you want to enter them.

I also dont sell to Photo stock sites for cents or 1-2 dollars, find those numbers simply ridicule, I prefer to offer the Photo than "selling" it for that value. Las but not least, I don't offer Photos to any company that will be using it on some Ad or similar., was already approached to do it and simply refused, I don't care if I will not get exposed or if I'm "loosing" the chance to be contacted after to "sell" more Photos.. it will never happen, as soon as you give one free they expect all of them for free, if you charge they will find someone else that will do it for free and simply forget about you.

By the way this article shows why a Photo should never be free even though I know I offer mine but to friends and like Leigh I also have invested a lot of money (and time) on this:

http://petapixel.com/2012/01/10/thi...ph-is-not-free/
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
And a few weeks back, I got a pissy message from the site owner while I was at a gig shooting for the mag, basically "firing" me, because I'd been "disloyal". Dafuq? The moral of the story is this: when you work for free,

I would go mental!
This crap makes my blood boil.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sil3
By the way this article shows why a Photo should never be free even though I know I offer mine but to friends and like Leigh I also have invested a lot of money (and time) on this:

http://petapixel.com/2012/01/10/thi...ph-is-not-free/


That article pretty much sums up my view now. And, in retrospect, I really regret what I did, shooting for the site as long as I did (I shot over 100 bands for the site). Unfortunately the site owner pulled the usual "we are friends" thing, that I totally fell for, and for which I now feel ridiculously naïve. The most infuriating part of this all is that the site owner absolutely believes that they were the one doing me the favour, and not the other way around. Sure, I got to shoot some cool shows and I now have really high profile bands like Slayer and Lamb of God in my photography portfolio, but to act like I was the one benefiting from the scenario is absolutely absurd. And yet that's how these people justify what they're doing.

I've spoken to some really high profile photographers who, upon seeing my work, were totally appalled at the fact that I was shooting for free. I guess because I am still new to photography, I still suffer from a lack of confidence in my abilities, and that's something I need to work on, but at least I've now made the decision to no longer be taken advantage of.

The funny thing is that for years I've always told people on this site not to work for free, and yet I did it myself over the last year. I'd never dream of doing a whole lot of CG work for a website for free, and I should have adopted the same view with photography. Oh well, lesson learned.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spindraft
soon after most of my clients learned I'm not a fan of 'negotiating'. My fee is what it is, and I get 1/3rd up front before I lift a finger, period.


I learned this too, the hard way. Latelly I am quite rigid with this stuff, i always ask in writing everything they want, and I always tell them I make an hourl estimate and if they negociate, they actually negociating time spent, thus quality.

Now a question for you all: do you feel bad, when a possible client doesn't accept the offer?
I know the thread is mainly about free work and absurd expectations, but 20 changes for every single thing kinda comes free if one works cheap.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
Unfortunately, the website I'd been shooting for wasn't as overjoyed as I was, even though I had continued to shoot gigs for them alongside the magazine gigs. And a few weeks back, I got a pissy message from the site owner while I was at a gig shooting for the mag, basically "firing" me, because I'd been "disloyal".


@Leigh: Maybe you could have have probably explained that there was the "realization" that the "product" cost money and that your move was persuaded by the need to cover those costs... that it never occurred to you to "shakedown your bestest magazine editor friend" but you need to be honest about what you need to keep the photography going.

Then you see if there's a chance to start a bidding war. (I kid... but you never know...)

I mean.. you can't control how narrow-minded some people react. But you can sort of find the silver lining, right?
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
Sure, I got to shoot some cool shows and I now have really high profile bands like Slayer and Lamb of God in my photography portfolio, but to act like I was the one benefiting from the scenario is absolutely absurd. And yet that's how these people justify what they're doing.


Thats the way they see it, its like working for free ina Studio on some Movie and then telling you: hey you have some Feature shots on your Reel now... and I sometimes I see this same behavior being advocated in here :(


Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
I've spoken to some really high profile photographers who, upon seeing my work, were totally appalled at the fact that I was shooting for free. I guess because I am still new to photography, I still suffer from a lack of confidence in my abilities, and that's something I need to work on, but at least I've now made the decision to no longer be taken advantage of.


And I can only imagined what they really think of you offering the work for free, even though anyone can do whatever they please with their time and skills, charge or not for it its my own business, but overall affect's us all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
The funny thing is that for years I've always told people on this site not to work for free, and yet I did it myself over the last year. I'd never dream of doing a whole lot of CG work for a website for free, and I should have adopted the same view with photography. Oh well, lesson learned.


I think at some point in life we all did the same, I did it (unfortunately)... guess its part of being naive and growing up... getting advantage of someone that is really loving what he is doing, seems fun so he doesnt need to be compensated monetarily thats how they think...
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
The funny thing is that for years I've always told people on this site not to work for free, and yet I did it myself over the last year. I'd never dream of doing a whole lot of CG work for a website for free, and I should have adopted the same view with photography. Oh well, lesson learned.


Ok this last paragraph I think you're now a bit too hard on yourself.

Just like we all start from not knowing, I believe we all start by not charging.

I mean, how else will you even know how good you are if you refuse to do anything unless it's paid work? Think about it like when you went to school... You PAID the school and did "all the work". In many ways, life after school is just going into a bigger school.

Think of it as you having paid the "tuition" for your photography. Yeah, maybe you did it for too long (ie: Forgot you had "graduated"). But at some point you will have to pay something to learn and indulge in something anyway at least for a time or you'll find you'll never learn anything new - which is worse.

Asides from that my thoughts a few posts above would still apply... There's always the angle where you could have explained it was time to start charging for it and just kind of sit through the expected negative reaction.

People will always react negatively to being charged for something that was once free. It's just the natural logic of human beings.
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
I've recently been burned by this myself.

Over the past year and a bit, I've gotten pretty heavily into photography, specifically music photography, and after shooting just four gigs of friend's bands, I lucked out (right place, right time kinda thing) and got a photo pass to shoot a well known hardcore band for a metal website. I did a decent job with the photos and from that point on, I began shooting regularly for the site. Being almost totally new to photography, I jumped at the chance to shoot cool bands (I'm a huge metal fan, so shooting metal bands was pretty much the ultimate for me), and ended up shooting for over a year for this site, for free. The fact that, as far as I am aware, the site isn't making any money for the owner was how I justified the whole shooting for free thing.

Thing is though, I wasn't really shooting for free. Ultimately, I was actually paying to shoot. I invested an almost obscene amount of money in photography gear, as well as transport costs to and from gigs and festivals. In addition to this, it takes a lot of time to go through photos after shooting a gig, picking out the best ones, processing them, and all that kind of stuff. It's very time consuming. So when, a few months ago, I was approached by one of my favourite magazines, who actually pay their photographers, I was over the moon to start making some money back.

Unfortunately, the website I'd been shooting for wasn't as overjoyed as I was, even though I had continued to shoot gigs for them alongside the magazine gigs. And a few weeks back, I got a pissy message from the site owner while I was at a gig shooting for the mag, basically "firing" me, because I'd been "disloyal". Dafuq? The moral of the story is this: when you work for free, the people you're working for will never truly value you, because they really have no idea (or simply don't care) how valuable your skills are. They don't seem to understand how hard one has to work to get good at any kind of creative endeavour. And just as is the case with photography, where everyone thinks it's really easy, CG has a bit of a reputation for being a button-pushing task, even though there's so much more to it than that. But people neither appreciate nor care about that, they just want to milk artists for all they're worth, to their own benefit. And unfortunately, we're willing to allow ourselves to be exploited. In the case of CG, because every kid with a cracked copy of Photoshop is willing to work for free, it's totally cheapened the craft..


My Dad could write a book on that kind of thing. Even the paper he works for sometimes trues to get him to work extra gigs at the end of his shift for free. He won't do it, always makes sure he gets paid. He gets boxing, football and other sports promoters and various newspapers/media phoning with work for free offers and he could easily work a 60 hour week for free if he took up these offers. Luckily he stands firm and gets paid. He has over €100k in current photo equipment, and it didn't get paid for by working for free nor did the camera shop give him the equipment for free.
The problem which undermines him, is the countless people who WILL work for free in the hope they will get a break. Every day my Dad picks up the newspapers and can point out all the writers who did articles and the photographers who shot images for absolutely no money.
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