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Thread: Before you ask for, or consider doing, work for free, read this

  1. #1
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    good sticky. A single link response to all the cheap geniuses who went out of their way to put up a thread here (without pay!) to let the mindless flock of art-turkeys in on their divine prospects!

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    I think this post should be placed as a headline in the Looking for Job section. Too many people out there are trying to take advantage of artists and their talent. They think art is cheap because enthusiastic artists are too naive which often times are tricked into doing free work.

    Here is a good video regarding contracts.

    http://vimeo.com/22053820

    My rule of thumb is. Always ask 50% up front and 50% upon delivery. Once someone invested money into something it will kick off a more seriously clientele relationship. Plus getting paid to do work will push you harder too!

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    Geez, thanks a lot! Now I'm going to be depressed all day...

    ... I am one of those, apparently evil, aspiring comics writers who have approached artists for free collaborations with prospects of splitting profits in the future, if there are any, and now after reading those five articles, I feel like a monster

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dadaist View Post
    Geez, thanks a lot! Now I'm going to be depressed all day...

    ... I am one of those, apparently evil, aspiring comics writers who have approached artists for free collaborations with prospects of splitting profits in the future, if there are any, and now after reading those five articles, I feel like a monster
    I think the Steve Bissette article explains why you shouldn't feel like a monster, but also why you'll probably have a very hard time finding somebody that way.


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    I do, of course, agree with all of them. And I think they're all absolutely right. I especially agree when Bissette points out artists should be paid more because writers can do more in less time than them.

    And yet I am an aspiring writer with little resources, so I have to go around suggesting back end payments

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    Thought Jame's Gurney's recent blog post was pretty relevant in regards to clients who take advantage.

    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/20...rent-here.html

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    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Bradley View Post
    While I agree with what he said about paying the writer for work, is Harlan seriously asking to be paid for an interview?

    LONG LIVE YOKO KANNO!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Bradley View Post
    I've seen Ellison in person years ago at the Mid Ohio Con in Columbus back in 1999, talking about his career and antics with William Shatner and Roddenberry were quite amusing to hear. I'll never forget that day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seba_boi View Post
    While I agree with what he said about paying the writer for work, is Harlan seriously asking to be paid for an interview?
    Why yes, yes he is. Mark Evanier (him again) and Scott Shaw explain why. And note that, even though Ellison is being asked for permission to include an already existing interview, which wouldn't cost him any more time, he is still being asked to provide something that will presumably add value to the property of a large corporation, at little or no benefit to himself. He owns something (in this case, the right to his image and words), somebody else wants to use it, it isn't unreasonable to ask for payment. It's no different than if somebody wanted to reprint one of his stories.


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    Wow, now I feel completely guilty for doing a start-up game project and having other people helping me for free. Course, I'm not getting paid right now either.

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    Elwell : you can`t imagine how your thread helped me , thanks a lot ,it saved me a lot of time and effort, some people think that artists are like a copying machine , they can draw any number of pic in a few minutes , they don`t know that drawing takes a lot of time and effort , and should be compensated
    if you want to know what people really are just talk with them about money ,

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    Well what if your me and an amature and need some exposure?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nagase13 View Post
    Well what if your me and an amature and need some exposure?
    Not sure if spammer...

    Why would you need exposure if you're an amateur? Might need a spellchecker though.

    If you're a beginner, you should be worrying about getting better, not "exposure".

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    I think he means that getting work whilst not having as much ability as others is tough, and therefore what is the alternative?

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    If your work is good enough to pay for, you should be paid for it. If it isn't good enough to pay for, why would anybody want to use it?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nagase13 View Post
    Well what if your me and an amature and need some exposure?
    Then you put your work on the web, where billions of people go, and not on the cover of some guy's self-published novel that is only going to be seen by 20 of his relatives.

    Also, considering that it's really easy to start a donation campaign on the web right now, if someone can't afford to pay you that means that they are either awful at promotion or their project sucks so bad that nobody else wants to buy in. Either way they are not going to get you anywhere.

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    Question: I've noticed that a number of industries within the art world have tests artists have to participate in before being hired. I've seen that in licensing, animation and storyboarding job listings. Do they pay artists to take those tests? If not, how is that any different than someone asking you to draw samples of their characters or do sample illustration before they decide whether or not hire you?

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    Also, is the testing becoming more common and accepted in other facets of the art market?

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    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    Not sure if spammer...

    Why would you need exposure if you're an amateur? Might need a spellchecker though.

    If you're a beginner, you should be worrying about getting better, not "exposure".
    I've heard those words before, as in if you are a beginner focus on getting better, but when is the point when you have to start establishing yourself as an artist.
    And for that matter how? Well at least without being conned out of your work

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    Thanks Elwell!

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    SF author John Scalzi's note to people who ask him to write or free, and a follow up.

    Plus, he made this nice graphic for you that you can use! For free! Isn't that nice of him?

    Name:  8261385490_74023fcb16_o.png
Views: 3732
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    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatNicKid View Post
    I've heard those words before, as in if you are a beginner focus on getting better, but when is the point when you have to start establishing yourself as an artist.
    And for that matter how? Well at least without being conned out of your work
    Its very simple. You apply to professional companies like Wizards until they say yes.Really, its not that hard to figure out. When professional companies say no, you don't go and offer your work for free or very little pay to amateur companies. If you are good enough to work for professional companies but your style doesn't fit what they want you have to change your style. You never work for free or low pay.

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    Tristan Elwell
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    I wish I had read some of these articles when I first started off my career. Another thing to watch out for is small companies who claim they'll pay you but then keep putting it off.

    I did a six month in-house gig at a small studio right out of school. They said they would pay me on payroll with the other employees bi-weekly but kept "forgetting" to add me to payroll. I was naive and excited to see work that I produced distributed nationally, and what-not, so I went along with it. After the gig ended, it still took another year or more to finally get them to pay me for my time spent there... and I'm sad to say I had to contact them threatening with litigation to even get a response.

    This thread is good warning for those starting out, and good for boiling up sour feelings for those of us having experienced similar mistreatment. Ha ha.

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  37. #29
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    A nicely nuanced article on when and when not to "work" for "free" from Seth Godin:
    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_b...-for-free.html


    Tristan Elwell
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