I found this video by Shantanu Starick very confusing. But maybe it’s a great way to get around the ‘asking to be paid’ problem that so many creatives struggle with. I shouldn’t feel bad asking for money in exchange for my abilities. And I don’t. As a rule, if you want me, you pay for me. But that is the difference between a business and a hobby and there can be quite a fine crossover from one to the other.
But let’s, for just one moment, think of cash as a dirty word. Let’s say asking for money in return for your creative skills is a shameful thing. Let’s pretend however, that you can ask for the other things you need in life.
So here is my proposal. In 2015 I will style any human being visible in a shoot campaign as follows:
Food related company for food
Property company for somewhere to live or studio space
Utilities company for utilities
Travel company for petrol, tyres, service or MOT
Any fashion company for clothes
Phone company for my phone bill credit
You get the idea.
Or you could just pay me cash for the same things. Because if you sprinkle glitter on a turd, it’s still a turd. And whether you are asking for cash or the things you would ultimately spend that money on you are still asking for something in return that sustains you in life.
You wouldn’t go into a shop on your high street and offer them something in return for goods because you know what they are going to say. There’s the price tag – you buy it or you don’t. That is how a business works.
There seems to be this strange concept in certain aspects of the creative industry that you do what you do for the love of it. But noone has ever asked me to make them a piece of clothing for nothing (cheap is another matter) or alter an evening gown for less than the going rate. If you are working for trade you are a hobbyist. This is probably because your income comes from elsewhere, you really do what you do purely for the love of it or you don’t believe your skills have any financial worth.
Equally there are businesses such as photographic studios who often work with people who will work for trade. And there are photographers who only work with models for trade because they pay for studio space. But why is the studio you hire worth paying and the model not? Is it perhaps because they are taken seriously as a business? And yet I know models making good incomes so somewhere along the line modelling is a viable industry option for the right people.
I guess you get what you pay for.