Thanks to my friend Severus Tenenbaum for point this out – served as antidote to yet another magazine pulling the “oh we haven’t got a budget now, but we’ll give you a credit” after they requested an image.
Nice to see Ellison even more livid than me. But I wonder, did he get paid for this interview?
I must give these people’s method a go in a Tescos supermarket. “Wow, I really like your food here, so much that I’ve filled my trolley. So much, in fact, that I think you should really let me have it free, because I don’t have any money. But I’ll say nice things about you to my friends if you give to me for free.”
Yay! But as he says himself, the problem is that there are loads of wannabes that will indeed give everything away. I can’t blame people for asking – well, actually, let me rephrase that – I’ve given up being surprised about people asking for freebies. But I am still stunned about how much people will give away.
As an ‘amateur’ photographer (and not a very good one) I’m happy when someone uses something which I’ve posted. All my flickr images are CC licensed and free for anyone to use.
I diagree with his assertion that there’s no publicity value in being interviewed or made available online. I think he’s spectacularly wrong. His assertion that ‘amateurs’ are to blame stinks of sour-grapes and a rather elitist, ignorant way of viewing himself and his place in the creative industries.
Ah, but there are subtleties here.
For example, when I went on Phantom FM last week, I was there to promote a book – therefore I wasn’t going to look for payment to be interviewed. However, I’ve been called in as “expert” interviewee in the past – e.g. on BBC Northern Ireland, to talk about the connection between the TV “Lost” and Flann O’Brien. There was very little tangible benefit to me, or to blather.net, from being mentioned on air; but a cheque arrived in the post days later, for about 50 quid, as far as I can recall.
To mention some bad experiences with radio stations that will go unnamed – one who keeps phoning up as a “talking head” to discuss various issues. Kept guaranteeing the site would be mentioned as in “Dave Walsh from blather.net”, but never did – always apologised “oh we forgot”. Great feeling of getting shafted – they got five minutes of my time, I got nothing.
Worst of all was a radio station that wanted to organise a “ghost hunt” sleepover in a prominent historical. Phoned me up, asked me to get involved. Told me what they needed me to do, and asked me if I could transport their staff and equipment to the venue. I sent in a quote for my time plus travel, plus fuel etc. It involved taking two days off my from my day job (contract work) so I needed to recoup that.
They came back and said “oh, but we’re not going to pay you, but it will be great publicity for your website”.
“Well”, said I. “It’ll be good publicity for your radio station”, right?
“And you pay your staff, right?”
“So basically, you’ll be pulling in listeners who want to hear about this, which translates somehow to advertising revenue – and you want me to help you do this for free…”
“But it will be really good publicity for you…”
Needless to say, I didn’t go.
What’s actually happening inthe publishing industry is that certain people have decided that citizen journalism is a literal synonym for “getting something for nothing”.
There’s nothing wrong with CC-licenses etc. But there’s also nothing wrong with earning a living from one’s work. I’ve invested a huge amount of time and money into my photography to get to the standard which I hope I’ve reached. So I feel very suspicious when a multi-million dollar publishing house or organisation tells me that they haven’t got a budget for that image that they desperately want to use.
IT IS SO NICE TO SEE THAT HARLAN ELLISON HAS MELLOWED SO MUCH IN HIS GOLDEN YEARS!! I JUST WISH HE WOULD NOT BE SO POLITICALLY CORRECT…TOO MUCH MINCING OF WORDS. IT MAKES ME WONDER HOW HE REALLY FEELS, DEEP DOWN. I ALSO SAY:
WAY TO GO, ELDER DUDE! YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO US ALL. NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER GIVE IN. NEVER LET GO. I AM A VISUAL ARTIST AND HATE THOSE SMARMY BASTARDS WHO CALL ASKING FOR FREEBIES FOR THEIR CHARITY EVENTS; DECORATORS WHO
WANT TO ‘DISPLAY’ MY WORK IN THE
HOUSE THEY ARE TRYING TO SELL. I ASK THEM IF I WILL GET A PIECE OF THE SALE PRICE, AND I NEVER HEAR FROM THEM AGAIN. MY WORK IS MY TREASURE. WHY SHOULD AN ARTIST
BE EXPECTED TO BE GRATEFUL FOR THE ‘OPPORTUNITY’ TO HELP SOME NO-TALENT MOOCH. THE ONLY THING TO ADMIRE ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE THAT IS THEIR UNREMITTING GALL. HARLAN, DO NOT EVER DIE.
The real problem is that with very few exceptions, TV/radio/newspaper/magazines/web sites/etc. do not like to pay for art or editorial. The ones that can, won’t and the one who can’t, don’t. This reality has come about because 9 times out of 10 instead of investing in quality edit or art, they will allow a PR person to arrange/pay/supply/cover/weasel anything/everything/all things they need.
I’m still waiting to get paid for diagrams I produced at short notice for a medical text book published in the 80’s. I hadn’t realised that the author considered me such a friend that I wouldn’t want anything as vulgar as payment for my work.