As usual the talented Scott Benson sums up another work / life post about working for “exposure” or on spec much more eloquently than I ever could. Go read the whole thing. Here are two quick sections worth highlighting:
If you’re a client, take note: offering exposure in lieu of payment is simply promising that, someday, someone will pay the artist to do what you want him or her to do now for free. If you’re a freelancer, take note: in a very real sense, this enables the client to directly profit while leaving the you to fend for yourself, waiting for another client to treat you like a professional.
It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: You cannot eat exposure, nor pay your rent with it, nor buy health insurance with it, nor put it in an exposure bank for a rainy day. You need money for all of that. That is the trade – you trade your time and work for the client’s money. You both need something from the other. Exposure can be a byproduct of this transaction, but it should NEVER be the basis for it.
And of course, he ends with advice for the aspiring artist who wants exposure, wants to be noticed, wants to start doing their own thing and getting paid for it, etc. The advice is simple: start doing good work. That’s the whole secret. (You’ll get noticed.)
Excellent post, Scott. I admire your work so much. And more than that, I admire the way you’re reaching out to the community and trying to help.