I was having a conversation with a good friend the other night. He was talking about his frustrations with the industry and how undervalued he feels sometimes. He was disheartened about how often he is asked to do things for free or at cost. Truth is, I know many many people who are in the same position and who feel unappreciated, underpaid and undervalued by the industry and, sadly by friends as well.
In my humble opinion, it is important that there always be an equal exchange, whether it is an energy exchange, financial exchange or barter, both parties should walk away feeling good about the arrangement. And, you shouldn't feel guilty or bad about saying No.
I'm sure a lot of you can relate to these requests.
1) our budget doesn’t stretch that far
2) if you do it for free, it will be great exposure for you
3) we'll make it up and pay properly next time
By agreeing, you are devaluing your art and starving your business of the income it needs to pay you and invest in your business.
Truth is, you would be better off working on personal projects where you have creative control and that you can put your heart and passion towards.
Above all, remember that as an artist you have creativity, vision, technical skill and talent which has huge commercial value.
Never give away your most valuable asset for free.
To end on a lighter note, this is a great and funny video that draws home the point: