I think as creatives we have alot of things on our minds. We have numerous ideas that we struggle to grow to fruition without being exploited by numerous people out there. We endeavor to change the world and make it better and wonder how our craft will do that. And on a more personal level we wonder how the hell we are going to pay rent or even move out of our parents houses. Ow wait…it’s just me… actually it isn’t? That’s a laugh. They say that creativity is the full of life and yet so many of us are throwing that fuel away at cutthroat and even worse no prices.
Yes, I went there. It’s the thing that everyone hates to talk about but a constant reality if you work as a writer, artist, musician etc or any other creative field. It’s the fact that everyone and their mother and their mother’s mother…throw in their male line too…wants to use our services for little to no compensation. Well that’s not so bad right? It’s exposure…because the material you use to do your craft was bought from exposure and the food that you need to eat on a daily basis can be bargained for with exposure as well. I’d really love to enter a Food Lover’s Market (or Whole Foods depending on your country and be like “gimme this here carob chocolate and I’ll pay with this week’s worth of exposure”. I think we all know now that exposure just exposes you to poverty. Buh dum tiss (thank you, thank you, I’m here all night folks!).
Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic that has us cooped up in our homes worrying about our finances. The value of money has been thrown in our faces. When you’re really limited in how you can make money you suddenly realize how much you need it when you don’t know how long you need to stretch those ramen noodles or last grain of rice. In fact, right now we wish we had charged our customers a lot more considering that we sort of need a ramen noodle pantry right about now.
During this crisis the amount of generosity that many business owners and shopkeepers have exhibited in response to the crisis is unparalleled, but I’ve yet to see one shopkeeper that’s saying “bring your exposure here and get free food”. Why? Because that’s the value of exposure. Less than free.
Why do we believe that if we get enough exposure eventually that will lead to a paying job? I mean, if I was a customer and I saw someone that does excellent work for free then I definitely wouldn’t want to break the cycle. Why should I be the first customer that’s charged for a product? I’m going to approach the exposure slave expecting to be charged the same amount as everyone else that’s manipulated them before. Nothing.
The worst thing is that paying clients are rather bourgeoisie about it too. Let’s be honest, we’re not all writing for the Huffington Post over here (which should be paying its writers by the way) ( and writers aren’t the only creatives, but that’s my niche so those are the best examples I can give). Most places aren’t relevant enough to give you the exposure that they’re so generous with.
Exposure is the highest form of disrespect for your art form. Why? Let me ask this… no matter how nice a doctor is would you ever offer to pay them in exposure? No? Why? Because the work of a doctor is respected. People pay for what they respect and expose things they disrespect. Why would anyone want to offer any service to someone that disrespects their work. It’s doing no one a favour. It’s not doing you a favour in particular.
I mean we all want to be able to afford the things that we want at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter whether that’s ramen noodles whenever you want them or a million dollar mansion. We all have the right to dream and endeavor to make our dreams come true. Or for the more practical, we all have the right to work and get paid for it! Whatever work we do should be compensated so that we can make a plan towards that.
I don’t know about other creatives but I’m getting tired of the broke stereotype associated with us. It’s not cute. But our work is and it should be compensated. Not for pennies either so there