Sunday, January 16, 2011

Should I Work For Free?

A friend of mine posted this on facebook, and I thought it was good enough to post over here for people who might just stumble upon my blog.  I know that as a young artist and animator a good way of getting established is by doing internships, and working on as many kinds of projects as you can to build skill sets. However I do get annoyed by people ( many of whom are not in the industry themselves) who think that art must just fall out of the sky , and expect the work they want done to be perfect, fast, and free.  I'm an artist, and I'm also a human being which means I have to put a roof over my head, food in my gut, and clothes on my back just to name a few basics. I love being an artist, and I've followed my dreams to get where I am and it's the only thing I ever really wanted to be since I was a little kid. I also deserve to be paid for my time, expertise, and insight into projects. So I wanted to share this with everyone on here who is considering what they should be paid, or indeed if at all.  

Remember if you are an artist you have value, and deserve to be paid a fair wage. Don't let people take advantage of your time, talents, and generosity. And if you aren't and artist then you should at least consider supporting living artists, after all Van Gogh doesn't have to worry about paying bills anymore, and because Hitler couldn't go to art school he ended up killing a whole lot of people.


  1. i would say dont work for free unless its a major company which you admire or a studio that you are very much impressed by... the basic thought being that if they cannot offer you any money, you should at least gain something meaningful from the experience if 1. they have done impressive work in the past or 2. They have a large group of people that you will be working with who are further along in their animation career and have legit experience you can learn from.. If you cant gain anything constructive from this process, then don't do it. I ran into the same thing when i first started looking for jobs...there are a lot of very small businesses looking for animators straight out of college to do free animation work under the guise of "internship". If the internship isn't at some legit company(which benefits you), and if you will be the only person working on this project(no one to learn or gain knowledge from), then it sounds like this person/company doesn't have the budget or means to do any legit work, thus they are desperate to have a single person out of college to work on their project. In this case i would suggest that you spend the time and effort that you would invest in this and instead work on a nice polished personal project that YOU want to work on, no sense in giving away your time and effort to someone else freely, especially if the concept/idea aren't even yours.

    Good luck

  2. I think you raise an interesting concept that makes a lot of sense. Doing work for yourself, rather than a slightly shady "internship"at a company that is really looking to skive free work off of recent graduates. I think the chart that I linked to agrees with your points here. I do also agree that working for a major company for free is a great experience for a recent graduate, and this is something that I'll consider myself lucky to do, if it is a legitimate studio that offers experience. If it's this isn't the case however, I think I'll take your advice and work on my own personal projects in lieu of giving my time.

  3. I LOVE that flow chart, thanks for posting it!