Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Work for Free!

I took two days off in front of the July 4th holiday. But before I left the office, a studio that isn't paying its vendors, sub-contractors and is only barely paying its staff hit TAG's radar screen. (Multiple calls from multiple angry artists underpin the "radar screen" metaphor.)

The company is non-signator, but that's not the issue here, since I've known signator studios that have also missed money payments. The issue is: when a studio bugs out of paying what it owes, what does an artist do?

Based on long observation, I can tell you what most artists' first impulses are: Hang in. Be a team player. Keep working until the check that is endlessly promised finally arrives.

Short-term, this is sort of reasonable.

Long-term, this is insane.

Here's my definition of long-term: for free-lancers, anything longer than six weeks. For staff persons, anything longer than six business days.

I've arrived at this formulation after years of observation and experience. Seeing artists getting stiffed is one thing. It happens to everybody at one time or another. But to see artists get stiffed and then hang around for more stiffing makes me nuts.

So here's the deal. When you get two hard-luck stories back to back instead of a check or envelope filled with cash, put down your pencil, brush or computer mouse and get out of there.

If you're a free-lancer working on a new assignment and you haven't been paid for the old assignment you turned in and invoiced two months before, don't -- and I mean don't -- turn in the new stuff until you get paid.

And if you're accused by some pompous, self-righteous production manager of being disloyal and not trustworthy enough, try hard not to laugh as you walk out the door.*

Because you'll probably run into the production manager later, at some other studio.

*And remember to give the Animation Guild a call, because we can advise you of your legal rights and what next step to take.


Anonymous said...

How about "It's a non paying job, but it'll give you expursure!"

Haaaa, ha ha....

how dare they....


J Chad Erekson said...

I really could have used this post a year ago, Thank you for keeping this blog up

Anonymous said...

This is exactly the kind of thing they dont teach in schools.

So read up kids!!!


Site Meter