Sometimes during an artists life (whether they are actors, painters, musicians, what have you) they come across the concept of working for “free”. Ideally, in this economic climate, it is not the best kind of work. Often we have to work “free”. Other times, we may ask other artists to work for…
YO TUMBLR, CAN I GET A SIGNAL BOOST?
To quote Tara Hardy, “An hour is an hour is an hour.”
And to quote myself, “Pay me in PAY CHEQUES, not favours and wine. I work in the arts not the black market of a jail.”
Value the arts, ya fools.
The worst thing about this concept of ‘free’ is how enforced it is in the culture of the arts. Our professors tell us the way to break in is to be ‘free’ so you can build contacts and gain portfolio pieces that you should take whatever is given, like starving children. But the truth is…we ARE starving children, sometimes quite literally. The time spent hammering this idea of livelihood into our heads leads us to become artists with an inability to say ‘no’ to any project that gets slummed our way because we are so afraid that if we don’t do enough, no one will know us. No one will want to hire us. We won’t have enough experience. So we become free in the worst sense, we let anyone take us, we throw ourselves at the worst experiences, trying to show these companies that mistreat and disrespect us that ‘Look! Look at how worthwhile of your time and money I could be!’
So we start down this slippery slope that often time doesn’t work out quite like our mentors promise it will. I applaude anyone who can say no to any kind of work that doesn’t offer anything in return. And like Reznek says, not just in monetary value, but of the spirit or mind. But the people asking us to work for ‘free’ probably aren’t going to change. We have already proven to them that we, as emerging artists, will work for free on the promise of ‘someday’ they’ll ask again, but this time with some sort of reward. We, the supplicants at this great temple of emerging artists, have played a large hand in creating this system of “free”.
I want a teacher who will teach me how to say ‘No’. I want to have the faith to learn that it won’t hurt me, that it will only free me to be able to do real work.