Expose this

A friend of mine posted this article, which explains why a graphic artist laughed in the face of Showtime marketing geniuses who suggested he would be thrilled to work for free.

Some jerk she knows made several sarcastic and dismissive comments supporting the idea that an artist should be grateful that a megacorporation might offer some exposure, and that lots of creative types do need to work for free sometimes and exposure is an effective means of promotion. But at what point is exposure sufficiently beneficial to justify the lack of compensation? After all, if Showtime can’t afford to pay artists (yes, it can) a reasonable fee for services rendered, well then who could? Why should anyone pay anybody? Dan Cassaro is right to stand up against this malarkey.

His comments:

I mean, is this guy in the article like the Michael Jackson of Graphic Arts or something? I know many careers where you have to do a lot of stuff for nearly free without even a prize. Bands do gigs for free, or even have to sell ticket to play at a show. Actors and actresses might do a short film or a small time movie for free just to get their name out there. People intern all the time for free. I know a landscaper who did like $10,000 worth of work for free to a house on a corner just so he could get his name out there and attract business. … I did [read the article] and the only thing I get out of it is he is insulted anyone would think he would do this for free, but if they offered him a million dollars he might have considered it. I just hope someday I can be as successful that a chance for a free trip to LV, exposure at a major event, and a chance to meet sports legends is beneath me ;-p

My response:
I guess you are just intentionally refusing to consider the artist/article’s POV. Because really, you see NO reasonable space between free and a million dollars? (aka silently grateful for crumbs of attention vs demanding “Michael Jordan” fees) How much do you really think this artist is looking to make? A huuuuuge cash-cow corporation that wants to hold a publicity event could and should offer reasonable fees to a few independent artists for their spec work, then reward the winner of a contest with an additional cash prize. Any other prizes are simply extras, window dressing, not professional compensation. Maybe he needs to pay rent and expenses more than he needs to be flown to another city (which the corporation can write off to their tax benefit), trotted around at a party (where everyone will care about the stars and booze and *no one* will be looking to hire graphic designers), and meet “sports legends” (debateable) who don’t care about some random who drew some pictures/who he maybe doesn’t care about either. And any artist who is just starting out — aka struggling — needs to pay bills more than he needs to meet a boxer with “Money” in his name (super ironic). It saddens me that you seem to have completely bought into the idea that “exposure” is more valuable than “money” — that’s how exploitation persists, and it’s exactly what Dan Cassaro is taking a stand against. He’s insulted because it’s insulting. The corporation gets all the benefits, the artist gets a handshake. He’s right to refuse, and right to publicize and criticize their poor business practices. That’s the only “exposure” that I feel good about here.

About amywinns

Semi-snarky, semi-sincere, occasionally ranting, always paying attention. Feminist who can work a skirt and crack a joke. Grammar nerd who is also fun at parties. Mid-career writer/editor with 15 years’ experience in newspapers & magazines who now helps developers at a major media corporation communicate with the suits who write the checks. Pro-women, pro-family, pro-choice, pro-workingclass, pro-entrepreneur, pro-farmer. Like every other bourgeois Brooklynite, I choose local/organic/raw food — mostly vegetables — whenever possible/reasonable/affordable but I’m not a smug asshole about it. Hometown: Atlanta. Weird hobby: lindy hop. No pets, no kids, no thanks.
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