I was recently reading a post by someone who was looking for voices to help him with an animation. He of course let everyone know up front that he would not be able to pay them and any help would be greatly appreciated.
Now anyone who has done a production of any sort knows that money is a difficult thing to get if you don’t have it, even with all the crowd funding sites, it’s still a pain in the ass. So most of the time, the director/creator will ask friends, family, or in this case, a group on Facebook with hundreds of members, to help out lo/no/deferred, a fancy way of saying, for free (credits will be given of course).
Right away someone decided to go off on this poor man and throw up a bunch of fair pay and unpaid internship links and rant about how wrong he was for asking to do work for free. Someone of course called him out and I agreed. I took it a step further (as I do) all called into question the whole generation of indies in the game right now.
“OK SERIOUSLY!! this is FILM! People work for free all the time ESPECIALLY if they are independent! That’s what’s wrong with this damn generation of indies now always thinking about yourself and what you can get and not thinking about the art of doing something you love. Yeah it’d be nice if you could get paid, but not everyone starts out getting paid unless they’re in a union. I’m sure if he could pay people he would you selfish jackasses, stop acting like you’ve never had a $0 budget before and if you haven’t good for you not everyone can say that.
I’ll help you out and if you can’t pay me as long as I get proper credits on it I’m fine with that because if I wanted to be a money grubber I wouldn’t be in indie film. Art has no place for people like that.”
I personally do not understand how people can say they love doing something just for the love of it and then the first thing they always talk about is what they get and money. I understand if it is all you do and it is your only profession, in that case don’t bother commenting on lo/no/deferred, STFU and move on. If there is someone who wants to be apart of it and wants to build up a reel with indie-non-paid projects LET THEM and mind your business. The face that the man let people know up front that he could not pay them is a miracle for one, because most of the time you don’t find out until way later or you ask. People were still interested knowing that they were not going to get paid, and things like this don’t require a 1099 because it is NOT a registered company they’re working for and it’s NOT an internship. Next you’re going to tell me I have to send the kid that mows the lawn a W-2.
With this attitude getting more frequent in the indie underground of film, how are we going to standout and build up the art of cinema if we’re more worried about what we get out of it than what goes in it? We’re not. That’s why Hollywood is in the predicament it’s in now. There are more who are concerned with what they’re going to get in the end that they spend less time concerned about what is going into the production and the creativity and innovation is diminished.