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    • CommentAuthorSteve Toase
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2012 edited
     (10831.101)
    While this issue with AFP has brought it to the fore this isn't new by any means. I have a lot of friends who re-enact. They own high quality kit, and often many years of knowledge about the period as well as experience fighting. They do lots of work with film companies and it is not uncommon for work to be offered on the basis of 'Well, you'll get on telly' or 'but you'll be on the film.'
    In my profession of archaeology there is a whole third sector of volunteers. There are many projects utilise these either getting people to work for nothing, or charging them under the auspices of training (Don't get me wrong some projects do provide very good training and some fantastic volunteer projects.)

    This seems to be something that infects ''vocations' ie jobs that you do for the pleasure of it, as if that was a concrete resource you can feed the family with.

    This ignores the value that the creative industry can bring to an economy. In the part of the UK I live in, North Yorkshire, creative industry contributes more to the economy than farming. Work should be valued. Work should be paid for. If work is not valued or paid for then don't engage with those entities. The problem with archaeology/writing/music is there are so many people clawing out their own lungs to do these roles there will always be people taking up these 'opportunities' where everyone else is getting paid but them.

    This has always been the way in these sectors and I don't think it will change with that constant stream of people.

    What concerns me more is that this mindset is creeping into the wider world in the form of internships and workfare in the UK for example.

    I have certain places I have no problem submitting work to knowing I'm not getting paid. These are projects I've been submitting to since I started and have a great deal of affection for and wanting to carry on supporting. Everything else I get paid for.
  1.  (10831.102)
    I sometimes choose to do work for free- or at a greatly reduced rate (for various reasons)- but drawing is my job, not my hobby- and I need paying. I enjoy my job, but if I wasn't getting paid, I'd be doing something else.

    Internships are just bullshit.
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      CommentAuthorFishelle
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2012
     (10831.103)
    As gross as I think it is, I really honestly believe that Amanda Palmer does not think she is in the wrong. She is sure that she is doing her musicians a favor and loving everyone. And enough of her fans feel the same that she won't have trouble getting a band together at every show. I think she is exploiting people, but I do not think it is on purpose.

    I feel like it would be more in keeping with what this whole community is all about if she paid them. Because if she wants to be part of her fans' life and bring joy to them and help them the way they've helped her, she ought to do everything in her power to help them as much as she can.

    I think it's useful to see what's being talked about on this thread, especially for those of us in creative industries, because it helps us determine what is right or wrong for us personally. I was a bit more on the fence until I had some time to read other opinions and such. And I still understand where those who are okay with this are coming from. But it's good food for thought, for sure.
  2.  (10831.104)
    @Matt Timson internships have their place, and thats from some one that did an unpaid one for nine months and got told, "yeah, we have no need for an art department, we're gonna just be coders for hire"

    sorry for going off topic, normal service will resume shortly
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      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2012
     (10831.105)
    Re: internships, they can have their purpose but they have to offer compensation. The whole idea of having to do an unpaid internship before you are able to get a real job is completely reprehensible though.
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      CommentAuthorFinagle
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2012
     (10831.106)
    I think a major reason this discussion has been rubbing me the wrong way is having a background mainly in both academia and in IT. Both academia and IT have huge pipelines of volunteer labor providing content that gets monetized by others. This is quite explicit in the case of IT, where various Open Source licenses explicitly allow for the commercial use and resale of volunteer code. It is less apparent but probably worse in academia, as was pointed out earlier in the case of archaeology, where dig volunteers are needed to make the thing happen at all.

    If one looks at an academic conference as a 'gig', though, then academia is built on this practice. Any academic conference will have a very few paid keynote speakers and organizers, and the majority of folks actually *paying* for the opportunity to come and contribute and present their work in the hope of getting noticed. This actually became a tense topic in my graduate program, as there were endless discussions about the funded/TA students (paid) and their roles in the program versus the unfunded students, who were often going into thousands of dollars worth of debt just for the chance to get the exposure to get a job.

    Bringing it home and back to AFP: Some graduate programs now *will not accept* unfunded students for this reason - that it isn't fair to take the money of graduate students and expect them to provide all this unpaid content and labor just for a shot at an academic job after graduation. So now you have a case where there are programs who provide these unfunded opportunities, and those who don't. Are the ones who are providing, and soliciting, students for these unfunded graduate positions morally wrong for providing that additional opportunity (no matter what their gory profit motive may be)?
  3.  (10831.107)
    I generally like Amanda Palmer. Some of her music is good, some of it is decent, and as far as I can tell, she's a very good performer with great charisma. I'm certain she works hard at her music/touring. I supported her kickstarter (mostly I just wanted the artbook, to be fair) and bought concert tickets and am looking forward to dressing up in ridiculous rawk-star style attire for the show. As someone who follows her twitter etc, I'm not altogether surprised she did something like this, and she probably didn't mean any harm, but at the same time, it's a bit disappointing. She tends to make her music as cheap as possible, and is probably used to the doing everything on the cheap and not much thought about budgeting because everything goes day to day. It's an assumption, to be fair, but that's the feeling that I get. She's going to make mistakes, especially since she's all about trying new ways to do things. On the other hand, she really could benefit from getting advice on managing money etc. Oddbill seems to have explained it best.

    She really should have offered pay. At least some pay.

    If an artist/creative person/etc wants to give their art/music/etc away for free, that's fine. But asking artists/etc to contribute for free is pretty shitty stuff. The thing is, art is hard.* It's work. You have to apply yourself on a regular basis to really do anything. I'm a former artist as a result of that fact actually. It is so so much easier for me to go to a shitty job then it is to be consistent about working on my art. How's that for a thought? How many blogs are there out there dedicated to that one aspect of art? That making a point of just doing the fucking work is really really hard. And the mindset that artists/etc shouldn't expect to be paid because they do what they do for the love of it is just hideous. How many people have burned out because the work overpowered the love? I really respect working artists, those who are able to power through the rough patches and have the dedication to get it done.

    *Interestingly, Amanda Palmer recently created a t-shirt with that horrific "restoration" (that picture is nightmare worthy to me) and the phrase "STOP PRETENDING ART IS HARD." The phrase being a quote from her song Ukelele Anthem.
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      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2012
     (10831.108)
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      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2012
     (10831.109)
    Sorry if I upset anyone, I was maybe a little terse and, hopefully anyway, I was misunderstood. My rapid exit was due to already having been up too late, with a 14 hour shift to work today. Your forgiveness is hereby begged.

    Here's where's my objection to oddbill's statement is coming from: I don't think I/you/we get to "insist" anything of artists. I think you have to just let them do their thing. The proprietorial notion that you can tell anyone what to do with their art is abhorrent to me. If they're not actively inciting violence or hatred or somesuch, I reckon they're free to go all out, do whatever they want. I also think that there is an implicit criticism being made of any artist who takes Palmer up on her offer, and it's that criticism that I have the biggest problem with, not the criticism of Palmer herself, which I can see as legitimate in certain regards.

    As a result of the discussion about it here I raised the subject with some friends this evening and it turns out one of them is actually going to be part of an unpaid horns section for several of Palmer's larger gigs in the UK. So, he was pretty pissed off to hear about the 1m+ kickstarter etc, but he is still going to play the gigs. Why? Because Palmer can book better gigs in better places to bigger crowds than they can. And although they (he and his jamming buddies) are all pro musicians who could almost certainly book other gigs that night that they'd get paid for, they have all already pretty much decided that the Palmer gig is a better move for them. These are people that I know will fight tooth and nail to get paid by people who want to use their music, because yes, they have to be that way to make money from their work. But this represents an opportunity for them, and one they've collectively decided to jump at. They like her music.

    A fair day's work for a fair day's pay. I am totally in support of that idea, even when it comes to the damned creatives. What I am arguing, seemingly in isolation, is that you cannot tell artists how to do their art.
    If you have a different idea to them, by all means do it your way and best of luck to you, but you don't get to decide what is right and wrong for someone else's art and when you sit in judgement on Palmer and the people that will go to play for her for free, that is exactly what you're doing.

    Again, I apologize. I'm not here to be argumentative, I just wanted to clear up the apparent misconception that I am somehow morally opposed to artists earning money from their work.
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      CommentAuthorTF
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012
     (10831.110)
    None of us have singled out an artist for being a "scab"; our criticism is of Palmer's business practice.

    Palmer intends to profit from this tour and started the project with a six figure budget.
    She hired a core band and put them on salary.
    She hires professional musicians for select venues and pays them the going rate (and one presumes some alcohol).
    For less high profile venues Palmer solicits and auditions her fanbase for musicians of the same professional quality who are willing to provide their service in exchange for merchandise and alcohol. Palmer receives income from these venues.

    These are business decisions, not artistic choices. We are not insisting anything from the artist; at the very least we are insisting that when a for-profit organisation fills creative roles these employees should be paid on scale with the other people that organisation has employed.
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      CommentAuthorkperkins
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012
     (10831.111)
    She hired a core band and put them on salary.
    She hires professional musicians for select venues and pays them the going rate (and one presumes some alcohol).
    For less high profile venues Palmer solicits and auditions her fanbase for musicians of the same professional quality who are willing to provide their service in exchange for merchandise and alcohol.


    Emphasis mine. That's what really gets me. She pays the going rate in big cities, for the juicy venues, where, I'm sure, the big time critics are, and then wants volunteers in the smaller places (where the going rate is cheaper anyways) that are lower profile.
    That's the part that sticks in my craw. Either pay everybody, or have an all volunteer band. I don't care if you get people to play for you for t-shirts and hugs, I don't care if you don't mind playing for t-shirts and hugs, even though shit like this devalues every working artist's work, but at least be fucking consistent, seriously. It's really not fair to pay some people, and not others, based on venues, and some certain value of "professionalism".
    There's always going to be professionals, and amateurs, in every type of human endeavor, and some amateurs are willing to pay to work with, or will work with professionals for free (see archeology digs), musicians jam, people collaborate on comics with no hope of making any money (although we seriously do hope to make some money, make our living) off them. I've done that, I still do it occasionally (for certain people, I always will). But, I'm not going to make art, or do lettering for Marvel, or DC (or most anyone else at this point) for free, because while I don't make a lot right now, art, etc. is my living.
    To put it bluntly, comics, like many other things, is a big investment in time and skills, and if I'm going to work for free (or for t-shirts and hugs--I gave up drinking 12 years ago, so that's no incentive), I'd rather work on my own stuff, or at least have a big creative stake in a collaboration, not doing a 6 (or 120) page "work for hire" gig, with a property that belongs to someone else, to get "exposure" (people "die from exposure"). Although, to be perfectly honest, if Ellis asked me to do something with him (like that'll ever happen) for free, I would crawl through a mile of arse eels just to do so. Why? Because I know that in the end, even if I didn't end up making some money, I'd have worked with one of the greats.

    Aaaaaaaand...
    By taking this round about route through my fucking early morning, half cup of coffee brain, I've sort of made a case for Amanda Palmer, haven't I? Sigh. And yet, the whole thing does bother me, as a symptom of something, only the squid knows what.
    5 minutes later I see where I've made my mistake. Working with Ellis, or anyone else, would be creating something, the thing with Amanda Palmer, is the musicians aren't creating with her, they are, essentially, just there to make her sound better, and nothing else. And there it is. It's all about AFP (yes I went there), and not about musical camaraderie, although maybe she, and the volunteer musicians don't see it that way.
    That is all. I need mor coffee now.
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      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012 edited
     (10831.112)
    Since comic books are the argot or jargon or lexicon of our lovely community -



    EDIT TO ADD - I'm shocked SHOCKED! that it took six pages of well-thought out commentary for this little ditty to come up.
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      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012 edited
     (10831.113)
    Also, I'd like to add that a) I had no idea Neil Gaiman had any ties to either vitamins or Scientology and regarded it as a joke-I-wasn't-in-on, until enough people "confirmed" it and b) I'm not sure that Alan Moore has anything whatsoever to do with Anonymous. I doubt he even knows who they are. And Alan Moore, as we all know, Knows The Score. (*ducks flying shoe*)

    In addition, I don't see how mentioning Neil Gaiman's e-meter vitamin fortune (not counting, apparently, the vast stacks of comicbook'n'moviemoney) in any way insults, demeans or degrades AFP in any way. It may be "ugly" or "crass" to mention it (personally, I don't see it - then again, never been married to anyone, much less a millionaire) but the fact remains - if she needs money SOOOO badly, (and is willing to three-card monte other musicians into playing "for free", which is a bad thing as the Joker just told us) then there's, like, a room full of cash down the hall from her bedroom. This is germane to the conversation. If it were the other way 'round, and she was the millionaire, would we look down on Neil Gaiman if he said "Honey, can you back my little comic book? Just cover the printing costs, I'll get some fanboys to draw it for free." Hmmm?

    EDIT TO ADD : I have met Neil Gaiman on more than one occasion and he's a helluva nice guy.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012 edited
     (10831.114)
    music is just another type of art. It takes work to get good at it, and a lot of times it doesn't come cheap. The price of a good instrument can make me cringe.


    This is a very good point. Edgar was once describing to me why getting someone to fix your computer can cost so much when they seemingly do it so fast (re: software, not hardware here), and they way he described it was that you're not just paying them for the time they took to fix your problem. You're also paying them for the fact that they invested years getting a proper education that lets them know what to do to fix the problem. So sure, it may just have taken a couple minutes, but that's only because they spent so long in the past getting that knowledge.

    Same with art. It takes a lot of time and effort to get to the "professional" level status, and then when you start including the investment of professional level equipment, it gets crazy. My nice clarinet cost me $3k and that was with a $1k discount. When you pay an artist, it's not just paying them to say something, you're paying for the quality you're getting that's a result of all that time and effort they invested to get where they are.

    As for Amanda Palmer demanding musicians of top-professional caliber, I really don't think that's the case. Maybe it is, but I got the impression that she just wants people who can be able to sight-read music well, work out the kinks after a brief rehearsal, and then be ready to go. Hence "Professional-ish....5th grade music lessons do not count." So I think a lot of us are criticizing her with different interpretations of the situation. I'm still in the camp that what she's doing isn't totally horrible because she put out a call for help on her blog, and was therefore trying to get help from fans who were likely to be at the concerts anyway; i.e. people who don't have to go out of their way for unpaid gig they couldn't care less for. For these same people, the entry to the concert + merch + experience (and we have to remember that people in general DO pay for experiences) is adequate compensation for their services. For others, that trade-off is not adequate and therefore will not do the gig for free, and that's okay, too.

    I think the other part of the disconnect in some of our arguments, is I said above that I believe she asked for "help." Other people on online, I haven't really seen it here much, is that people are criticizing her as if she made this decision to knowingly take advantage of the situation and profit from it. I think she honestly didn't mean it that way, and believes that what she is doing is an actual call for help because she ran out of budget, and not a business decision to maximize profit. That said, what people did bring up here that is very legitimate, is that she quite possibly made some bad moves on fund management and that this whole mess is the result of making some very un-professional decisions. And given her experience and resources, she should have been able to avoid that.

    edit: I could have sworn before I wrote the second half of this entry that I had something different to say, but it appears that I've again just repeated what I've already repeated in this thread. Apologies.
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      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012
     (10831.115)
    My favorite snarky answer to a question:

    "Wow! That's a cool painting! How long did it take you?"

    "My whole life."
  4.  (10831.116)
    @Dorkmuffin
    -I was waiting for someone to quote that. :D
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      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012
     (10831.117)
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      CommentAuthorTF
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012
     (10831.118)
    a millionaire asking people to do things for free, under the guise that she is giving them something by indulging them. It’s cheapness repainted as generosity and it’s gross. Using people in this way, exploiting their good nature for one’s own benefit, is a cancer that taints many enterprises and it always reflects poorly on the exploiter.


    Holy shit
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      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012 edited
     (10831.119)
    This rumble between the two is pretty damn entertaining.

    A lot of people in defence of Palmer have made some good points. Argos and others saying that doing this is unsurprising, as she's done this on other concerts and Raz provided some great examples from her own experience working in a theatre company. But in those scenarios not one of them seem to start with "After getting more than ten times the budget originally asked for...". Almost all the scenarios mentioned seemed to be regarding projects where people were strapped for cash to begin with and had no choice but to rely on the help of others with low to no pay, not a project that got above and beyond the asking budget, even with the deductions included (but not the earnings of ticket/merch sales included). Even if this is a matter of shitty money management, it still disturbs me. Even more so that she clearly seems to have money set aside to hire the musicians she needed for certain dates. This doesn't strike me as a tour of the romantic sort she describes, where all band members are crammed in to the back of a rundown Fiat, surviving on ramen, cigarettes and a prayer that they don't run out of gas and sometimes sleeping in the car if they have to, this strikes me as a tour that earned ten times it's original budget and has the ability to be as amazing as she wants it to be.

    Was it dork a little back who remarked on how the hell she would have done this if she only got her asking budget of $100,000?

    Really, Glukkake summed it up best for me: "Telling you that it's OK that I get a paycheck, but explaining that you should just settle for "being a part of the magic" is bullshit."

    I get that fans would do this for free and I get how Palmer's request might seem to be just as innocent and experimental as she claims it is. But for her to not even offer a "pay what we can" right off the bat after exceeding the original budget seems pretty shitty to me not to mention very disappointing for someone who is for supporting artists.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012 edited
     (10831.120)
    But is Amanda Palmer actually a millionaire? She did not have that much money prior to marrying Neil, and we don't know how they handle their finances as a couple (and have already established that his money doesn't need to fund her career). Further, she did not profit 1.2 mil from the kickstarter, and people are behaving as if she did. That quote has its truths if the person in question is in fact a millionaire, but save being married to Neil, Amanda Palmer is not a millionaire.

    That's my main beef with the criticisms on Amanda Palmer over this: Saying it's not okay for her to do this because she's a millionaire is unfair to say because she isn't one. Saying it's not okay for her to do this because she mismanaged her kickstarter funds and that's her fault is another thing entirely, and is a totally fair criticism on her current business management. I honestly do not understand why people are still hanging onto the whole "It's not okay for millionaires to do this" argument, because it does not apply to this situation (again, given the constraint that Neil's money is out of the picture and Amanda is working entirely from her own income).

    Otherwise, all other arguments I've seen discussed over this are totally fair, but I'm unwilling to accept an argument that's based on a misrepresentation of facts. Now, I could be wrong, and I realize that (and have mentioned that under such circumstance where Amanda were to be a millionare, I would not be okay with the volunteer musicians thing and would be amongst the voices of opposition), but Amanda Palmer as millionaire is just not the picture of her I've come to build, as someone who's been following her for a few years now.

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