Warning! Non-gratuitous Profanity Ahead!

Dear Person Wanting to Exploit Others By Getting Something for Nothing,

Yes, I know you think you shouldn’t have to pay creative people who work for you because that reduces your profits, and instead those people should pay you for the privilege of being allowed to give you stuff.

And I understand that you think you’re entitled to take advantage of people because that’s what America is all about: the opportunity to get rich by ripping off others.

And I realize that many people think creative endeavors should not be compensated with actual money because after all, they just have to think stuff up, it’s not like work or anything.

But let me point out a few things.

1. This may come as a surprise, but creative people do not exist merely to give you stuff for free.

2. Coincidentally, creative people have to pay bills like just about everybody else.

3. “Great exposure” or being able to “include it in my portfolio” or “list the experience on my resume” which “may lead to paid future work” is not exactly what creative people call adequate compensation.

4. Offering creative people the “opportunity” to work for you for free and calling it an “internship” is, to be completely accurate, complete B.S.

5. What the fuck is wrong with you?

Yes, you’re important. You own a for-profit dinner theater. Which makes a profit because people pay you so they can watch a live theater show while eating dinner.

And you hire cooks and wait staff to prepare and serve the dinner. And you pay them.

And you hire creative people called “actors” who perform the shows. And you — what? You DON’T pay them? You call yourself a “dinner theater” – which requires someone to actually perform the “theater” part – but you don’t want to pay them for it?

What the fuck is wrong with you?

“The majority of the acting positions are considered volunteer”?

Seriously???? At a for-profit enterprise??? (Note: even the Peace Corps pays its volunteers.)

And even though “the talent, time and commitment of those cast in [the] productions” are the reason people come and pay you money in the first place?

But … because you have such a big heart, “To show [your] appreciation, [you] often give [your] performers a cash ‘thank you gift’ at the end of a production”???

So a group of talented people is supposed to donate hours upon hours of memorization, rehearsal and performance time and god knows how much in gas expenses so that you, the owners of a for-profit business – can make even greater profits than if you paid the people who actually make you money?

What the fuck is wrong with you?

This makes as much sense as the business owners seeking volunteer writers or graphic designers to work for free to help build their business. Because, you know, otherwise the owner won’t make as much profit. But, instead of wages, the writer/designer will have the “opportunity” to gain “great exposure” for their work that they can “include in their portfolio” and “list on their resume” which “may lead to paid future work.”

So I ask not this because I am a creative person who writes and acts but because I am a sensible, sane, reasonable and rational human being: what the fuck is wrong with you?

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Posted on November 6, 2012, in Commentary. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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