A recent conversation with a fiend of mine has brought me to the conclusion that I can not continue producing personal art for therapy alone. Professsional art has become more and more precarious as studios grant shorter contracts and startups become less reliable in their business practices. The violation of such laws namely; laying off without granting unemployment benefits is becoming more and more common. Therefore, I must monetize my personal films, webcomic and production blogs.
Intellectual property is an artist’s means of power on par with the more valued professions of doctor, lawyer and banker. It is an aritst’s work that gives a corporation a visual identity a written voice and tone to remember. New customers would never know a company existed without a recognizable logo, piece of copy of a catchy jingle. A content company like Warner Bros. and Disney would not have the staying power they have without the contributions of their artist’s.
Math would live soley in a quantum universe if an engineer with the skills of a sculptor had not managed to kit bash found objects into a prototype to test, perfect and share with the world. Practical use of the wheel didn’t manifest on it’s own. It took a visionary. An artist. A car is a mechanical sculpture. It’s a marriage of art and science.
I argue that all attributes of intellectual property, on a development, creative level should be granted royalties. Pre-production artists, animators and post-production artists on a creative/problem solving level should be granted royalties from the future profits of the company product. We are not doing cog work. Cog work is outsourced. The creative needs residuals to compensate for our short careers. She should still receive an income for the work she sees still making money for the studio she defined a popular character for long after her position has been replaced by a younger, cheaper creative. Don’t scoff, obsolescence comes about sooner than you think, if not age then change in audience which can happen within the first five years of your career. Wise up, even of you don’t breed, you still have student loans to pay. Existence comes at a price.
Until such pipe dreams of royalties become a reality, an artist must generate supplemental income with their personal work. It’s the only way to save six months salary in case of sudden job loss. Case in point: my last employer had not paid the crew for two months before dissolving the company. Nor has he paid labor department taxes for the last year of the company’s life. None of the crew will get unemployment insurance ( without a fight anyway). Without that safety net, we’ll all end up homeless.
How nice it would be if my web comic and production blog padded my savings account all this time so I would’ve have to lose my home and car. Or rely on the exhausted kindness of my friends and colleagues to pull me out of this mess.
With that said, this will be the last “production entry” on this blog. If you would still like to read production notes and industry advice, please follow my account on Patreon where such entrees are available for a fee. Until then, take my last bit of free advice: beware of start ups and never sign a work for fire contract as a creative contributor. If they’re going to pay you like a cog, do exclusively cog work. I know you’re excited to have your first gig or are still trying to make a name for yourself early in your career. However, that foolish enthusiasm is what studios and start ups are preying on; your naitvité to create an arch villain or a girl sports bunny to profit from long after your impoverished death with only your initial salary as compensation.