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Anime Fuel Veteran
Read this is important!!!!!
I've recently recieve a private message from -yoh
saying he's working with this new video game company and needs artist well MR.yoh i have something for you to read and actually will help you clear somethings . READ ALL OF IT
I've read this thread on PencilJack.com by Inkthinker which brings up a good point for anyone and everyone thinking of joining the "business world"
I think we're somewhat obligated to bring this topic up a couple times a year, 'cause it's so damn prevalent. If you haven't been approached with an offer that's "gonna be huge", but also requires you to work for nothing down, then you've not been doing this work for long.
What prompted me to bring it up this time was an excellent column from well-known and established comics writer Mark Evanier. Apparently it's ten years old, so it focuses heavily on syndicated strips and predates webcomics, but the central tenets ring just as true as ever.
Today's seeker of an artist who'll work for nothing knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who has some sort of connection to King Features. So as you can see, she has this terrific "in" to the syndication business. She is also not at all versed in the comic strip field. When I mentioned the name of Mort Walker, she didn't know who that was.
But the main thing she said that had me dashing for the keyboard to write this was a stray remark. It was something like, "We're not asking for much...just a month of strips, including Sunday pages. How much time can that take?"
Well, I told her, it takes some artists a month. There are professional cartoonists who work a 60+ hour week to get their strips done, and that's often with the aid of one or more assistants. Even for a fast guy, that's an awful lot of free drawing.
It is maddeningly typical of these callers that they neither know nor respect how much work they're expecting for the remote chance of cash in the future. The fellow I quoted above wasn't going to ask the artist for money. He was just going to ask the artist to forego paying work to draw up his silly little idea...that's all. Like that's not the same thing.
Your time is money. Read the whole thing, it's worth it. It's also worth noting that in the past ten years, not a lot has changed (at least in terms of clueless clients who think that what we do is knock-out easy). The second part is even better:
As sure as there is tea in China, pasta in Italy and sushi in Brentwood, he is on the verge of a billion-dollar bonanza. He has everything he needs to make this happen except
except he just needs a few pages from you (if you're a writer) or a few quick sketches (if you're an artist) so "his people" can check things out, sign off on things, get things moving on to the next step. "You have time to knock out a few pages by Monday?"
If you are new to this scam or deficient in I.Q. points, you say, "Sure." But, having just heard of the acres of cash that are positively/absolutely looming out there guaranteed! you make a feeble suggestion that maybe you might possibly (just a thought) be...uh, paid ?
"Paid!!??" At the mention of the "p" word, Mr. Almost Billionaire invariably turns the color of ricotta cheese. Two minutes ago, he was claiming you'd both be wading in coinage, a la Scrooge McDuck, before Arbor Day. He has brought you this wonderful, lucrative opportunity because he believes in you and your talents...but you have shown Bad Faith, a complete naοvete about the business...and Your True Colors by trying to bleed him for a few dimes.
If you need it summed up, the third part (in proper Net fashion) offers a ten-point list (which I've trimmed in the interest of space, and also getting you to go read the original:
1. Beware of those who ask if you have time to quote "knock out a few pages" or "whip out a few sketches" or any other clause that implies minimal time or effort. Those who seek freebees often employ such terms to make it sound like they're not asking for much. But, of course, they're asking for quite a lot as much as they can get out of you without having to pay.
2. Avoid the barter system. A writer who called about my column told me of a U.E. who's forever calling him offering household appliances: "He can't pay me money, he says, but if I write this outline for him, he'll give me a new gas dryer. The problem with that, I tell him, is that I'd have to let my agent come over and use it, 10% of the time." A spanking-new George Foreman Lean, Mean Grilling Machine is not a substitute for a paycheck.
3. Don't, under any circumstances, fall for the old, "I thought you were an artist" ploy. A lot of creative folks are susceptible to this one. They like to feel that they do what they do for love and free expression and pride in craft, and that the money is but a happy incidental. This attitude makes them easy prey for those who know how to push those buttons...
4. This is kind of an odd one and I'm not sure I can explain it...but, trust me, it's true. Never deal with anyone who uses any form of the phrase, "getting my ducks in a row," as in, "We'll work out all the terms next week. I have to get all my ducks in a row first." You will never hear an honest person speak of getting his or her ducks in a row. Maybe somewhere, there's a reputable taxidermist who says it, or perhaps a virtuous guy who sells decoys, but I'm skeptical.
Why this is the lingo of sharks, I cannot say for certain. There is surely some deep, Freudian explanation, having to do with the U.E. seeing himself as a hunter or marksman and everyone else in the world as prey...something like that. All I know is that every single person I've ever heard talk about lining up ducks has been a swindler.
5. Don't get rid of these people by foisting them off on some other professional: "Gee, I'd love to help you but I'm really swamped at the moment. Tell you what...here's the phone number of someone else who might be able to help you."
For God's sake, have the decency to tell the sponger that not only don't you work for free but no one with any brains and/or self-respect does work for free, either. If you forward him to some acquaintance, then another pro is going to get annoyed or taken...or he'll just fork over someone else's number. Do your part to stop the blight.
6. Ask the Unfinanced Entrepreneur what he or she brings to the project. If they want you to invest your time and creativity, ask them what they're investing. If they say, "Well, I'm kind of the point man on this..." or "I have a flair for putting people together," this means they're not doing anything except getting others to do all the work and that they will usually demand the largest share.
If they say, "Well, I had the basic idea," that's when you remind them that the basic idea is usually the easy part. The hard part is developing that basic idea into something that is fleshed-out enough that someone might buy it.
And if they say, "I'm managing the whole enterprise," that's when you suggest that they manage to scare up your customary fee.
7. Ask them why there's no money. If it is so vital that they have "a few pages" by you if it such a Sure Thing that this endeavor will reap greenbacks by the kilo ask why they don't (a) put up their own money to pay you or (b) drum up some investors to do that.
8. If you suggest a contract or the involvement of lawyers, and they show the slightest hesitation or stall tactic, run the other way.
9. Beware of the person who wants you to work for free, says he or she has a Very Important Contact that is certain to make things happen...but won't tell you the name of that Very Important Contact.
10. And finally, if you do decide you want to invest in an idea, invest in one of your own. You must have a couple lying around things you've always wanted to write or draw...ideas that excite you...projects that you think should be done, and not just because they'll make a buck for someone. (Although, making a buck can be a perfectly acceptable reason, all by itself.)
Listen to the man. He's only been in the business 40 years.
personaly i like number 10 the best .... post your thoughts people ;p
Anime Fuel Veteran
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