Well why should we pay for anything? In my ideal world all currencies would be burnt on a massive fire where everyone could grill bagels, marshmallows and BBQ all sorts of flavoursome foods, and bartering would reign. But we do not exist in “Ioney’s wonderful tasty world” and money dictates our living, eating, lifestyles, education, justice and health, unless your lucky enough to be a member of a tribe living in the deep Amazon, but even then people are cutting down the forest to use the trees to make paper and maybe the paper that is used to make money!
When you shop in ASDA, JD Sports, Top shop or Primark and pick up your weekly shopping, latest pair of extortionate trainers or a fashionable garment, can you walk out without paying? (I’m not directing this question to shop lifters) Does the manager of one of the aforementioned stores allow you to select anything you want and politely and knowingly authorize you to walk out with a bag of goods? NO! So why do you expect me to use my creativity, time, resources (which I pay for), ingenuity, to produce a high quality business promo, music video, documentary or flyer for free? I’ll tell you why, it’s because you don’t respect my art, you don’t respect the 5 years I invested in learning my craft at educational institutions, you don’t respect the countless nights I sacrificed without sleep to learn how to manipulate specialist software, you don’t respect the guts I have for perusing a profession in the creative industries. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I will have meetings with ‘clients’ about filming an event or music video, when I raise the question of budget and payment, they look at me as if a giraffe has just popped it’s head out of my right nostril!
It frustrates me when a prospective client will say, ‘well I only want a three minute video, it wont take you long’ and then protest when I give them the cost. Yes when you watch the video it lasts for three minutes, but it might take a month (depending what needs to be shot & edited) to produce that video- they have no understanding what it takes to produce that video. Scouting and securing locations (that may have to be paid for), devising and planning the shot list, finding props and costume (that will probably have to be paid for), finding extras, providing lunch and travel expenses, (no one wants to be hungry and have to work), filming the many takes that are necessary to make the video interesting, post production, rendering, colour grading, graphic design, recording sound, finding music (which may have to be paid for), consent forms etc etc etc. Ok it depends on what the production is, but I guarantee it will take more than three minutes to make it.
I have worked for free in the past. I wanted to build up my portfolio of work, gain favourable testimonials, recommendation (for paying clients), as well as good links and because I’m a kind hearted person. But I would warn others to be very cautious about working for free, the recipient is under no obligation to return the favour or offer you paid work when they do eventually come across some Wonga. Usually what happens is, the recipient comes away with a high quality video, drives home in the comfort of their air conditioned vehicle and then enjoys a bottle of wine and hearty meal, while I am left to walk home to a cold house and a boiled egg (if I’m lucky). Also you have to be careful not to fall into the trap of becoming so used to working for free, to the point where you don’t expect to be paid and you loose respect for your skill and art and die a penniless, hungry, talented artist. For others to respect your creativity and craft, you first must respect it and yourself.
I have recently promised myself not to work for free, but will offer my specialized skills at a reduced rate to the deserving, good causes, people or organizations that simply can’t afford to pay full price. I have taken this stance because last year I did endless work, for countless people for free, to the point where people said “I’m asking you because I know you’ve got a good heart” people were basically using my kindness for weakness! I don’t want to become a money grabbing heartless bitch, but a creative person has bills and gets hungry just like everyone else.
Article by Ioney (Film) / 16th February 2012