Don’t Fool Yourself | This Is Low/No Budget!


May 15, 2010

Don’t fool yourself – this isn’t a corporate gig.

Whether you like it or not, it is your responsibility to promote the work you are involved in. This goes back to my previous blog entry. Whether or not you are an actor on a film or television show, a writer, director or producer. Whether or not you’re an author or illustrator of a book or if you are or are not getting royalty payments, those who contribute to a work, only to flake out when promotion time comes around, may as well not participate at all. Why do I write such a dastardly statement? Because I see time and time again, individuals using their ability to promote a piece, as leverage to obtain monetary payments on projects where it would be inappropriate. In addition, all too often I see people using it to promote themselves to other producers, without a care in the world on where the film actually ends up. I understand some newbies are using this indie-film to break into the industry, but it’s also important to demonstrate a respect for the work – not just a disposable learning tool.

One example would be a book that was written by one of my animal rescue volunteers, for the purpose of self-publishing it so that the proceeds could go to the rescue group we are involved in. The idea is to save lives and nothing more. In trying to find an illustrator, I came across many who were quoting me anywhere between $500 and $20,000 for 22 full color illustrations. Mind you, the author was not making any money off this project and neither was I as the coordinator and editor. These quotes did not including royalties. Most advised me that without royalties, the prices would double and they would not promote the work. With royalties, they could lower the initial price and would be willing to promote. They also wanted ownership of the material, which would restrict us from selling the copies at their own vengeful will | which would completely nix our intention of fund raising for the animal rescue group. I was taken aback and whilst I could see why they would offer such a deal (it was great for them but bad for the group), it seemed to go against the initial cause.

I feel like artists of all kind, illustrators, visual effects people, sound people, actors and so forth, are getting small business and non-profit projects confused with major corporate gigs. This happens a lot too with post-production workers on video and film. An After Effects artist rate will be the same for a $10,000 film budget as it would be for a multi-million dollar budget. There’s no dignity in this practice and it’s almost insulting (if it weren’t so impersonal). Something I’m proud of in my own work is my ability to function on any budget and work with the individual client to work for what we both believe is fair.

Are times really getting so desperate? Why do some folks need to put everyone into one category and charge Ma and Pa what they would charge Uncle Sam? It makes no sense except when one applies greed to the situation. Because really, that’s all it appears to be, nothing but GREED.
— Editor’s Note – -

The book discussed in this blog was illustrated by a volunteer named Madelyn Germosen and was made into an online video/short film. You can watch it here:

and you can also like the story on Facebook: