|Austin-Bergstrom International Airport|
We can't pay you, but it would be such great exposure!
by Sian Rees-Cleland
Why is it that there seems to be an attitude that it is O.K not to pay creatives of all kinds for their work? I am sure I am not the only one who has heard this:
"Well, we can't pay you, but it would be such great exposure."
If my participation is key to your success, you can damn well pay me. The person asking me to work for free generally won't do my taxes or paint my house for free for the "exposure", so they shouldn't ask me to design/act/write etc., for free. While there are times in the beginning of your career when you may have to do some spec work to get "exposure", after you have a few of strong projects under your belt, asking you to work for free becomes exploitation of your talent and experience.
"You are so lucky to do what you love for a living. We don't have a budget for talent but..."
That kind of hits the nail on the head: "for a living." Creatives deserve to be paid reasonably for doing a good job (and acting, writing, and designing etc., are jobs), just as a lawyer, accountant, or waitress is paid for being good at theirs.
"My cousin Bob will do it for free/for a beer."
There are lots of people who are willing to do creative work for free. Everyone seems to have a cousin Bob who knows Photoshop and will design their website for free, or who will be the talent in a commercial if you buy him a beer.