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I have noticed lately that there have been some predatory or just naïve productions and projects looking for artists and content creators. There isn’t a lot of info out there for new artists, and it can be very easy to fall into the ‘exposure’ trap, or get into a mismanaged project that ends up being more trouble and grief than it’s worth.
Below is a made up example post of something you might see.

“Welcome to Cardfox productions!
Cardfox productions is a universal entertainment hub for furry artists, musicians, fursuit makers, and even performers. The Cardfox project is a large scale project made up of several teams and sub teams focusing on Art, music, video, and public relations. We welcome any content creators of the furry fandom to join our project.

There is no schedule, and no deadlines! Just work and post whenever you want!

Cardfox productions operates on multiple platforms including Redbubble, Etsy, Youtube, iTunes, and Furaffinity. The Cardfox project is a large scale project for fun between content creators in the furry fandom, with no foreseeable end.

Artists are encouraged to draw anything they’d like regarding Cardfox productions and its members, these images will be used to help promote the project along with other content by members.

We offer a Redbubble partnership scheme, where an artist can sell their work through Cardfox productions for a 5% commission fee! Use Cardfox productions to get publicity for your work and gain recognition!
With the Cardfox project, we aim to be an entertainment hub where creators can have fun and gain exposure!”

This is a wonderful fandom that allows a lot of people to come together and collaborate, but there’s definitely some things to look out for. Whether intentional or not there’s certain red flags that end up hurting artists and content creators. A few things to note about my example above.

1. What “Cardfox Productions” does isn’t very clear, if it really does anything at all. This is a big red flag, particularly toward mismanagement. If you’re interested in a collaboration project look for a clear goal with the group. The larger the group the more good management is needed to make everything run smoothly, and when off the bat communication and goals aren’t clear, that doesn’t offer a good foundation for a working model.
2. Business =/= Fun. Don’t get me wrong, you can have a lot of fun while making money, or make money on something you do for fun, but a business must be a business first and foremost.
If a project wants to focus on fun collaboration that’s perfectly fine. A lot of artists have a lot of fun together and it’s a great way to take part in the community and improve. It’s important to be careful when money comes into the picture, particularly to avoid predatory set ups.

If you notice in my example message, the message speaks specifically about putting images in a redbubble shop for a 5% commission and hosting videos through youtube. These are both different revenue streams. Redbubble through sales and youtube through ads, however it’s not clear at all how artists are supported, or even that video content creators will be reimbursed for their content.
The best thing to keep in mind here is that a business should be treated as a business. If you are being asked to give something up you will want to be sure you are gaining something. A helpful structure to grow and collaborate, a venue to sell, etc. There are a lot of benefits possible, but you want to be sure that a project can follow through for you.
3. Avoid things for “exposure” and be careful of your own brand. “Exposure” is something all professional artists need, but it’s also often used against artists and as a method to get work for free. You’ll see this beyond the fandom scene and should always respect yourself as a professional. Don’t work only for exposure, expect fair compensation.
Building as an artist means taking time to build your “brand and market yourself. You need to take time to build a fanbase, build a reputation. Projects and productions need to do the same thing. It’s important when looking at these types of projects to avoid anyone that puts the brunt of the work on the artist to build the brand. In my example above there’s no clear indication what this project does to help or support creators, and often with messy mismanaged projects the ‘brand” is just expected to be built by posting content from popular creators.
This last point has some fine lines, it will take some time to learn just who is helpful and supportive and first glance and who isn’t, but the best advice I can give is “if it feels like they’re just riding coat tails. Avoid them”

Those are my three main points. I’m not an expert on the subject but wanted there to be a discussion to help young artists avoid some of the more grief inducing traps of artistry.

(I'm not used to posting to LJ so if i made format mistakes I'm sorry)
(edit: sorry trying to fix the cut)>

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 4th, 2016 11:42 pm (UTC)
Howdy FayV! Just a heads up that it looks like your LJ cut may be broken.
Jun. 5th, 2016 02:43 am (UTC)
Sorry about that, I'm really awful with LJ.
Jun. 5th, 2016 02:25 am (UTC)
A lot of people that approach me for "payment in exposure" are usually Youtube channels or vaporware that hasn't even done anything yet, so I'm not sure what "exposure" I'd be getting. Thankfully I was taught right out of the gate that exposure is not a valid form of payment since I can't pay the bills with it.
Jun. 5th, 2016 02:47 am (UTC)
Yeah, "exposure" is a favorite for starter groups that really don't have their work together to be helpful and they want to use artists without properly compensating.

The more artists can learn off the bat that exposure is not a valid form of payment, the better the community is.
Jun. 6th, 2016 09:25 pm (UTC)
i'd also add anybody who asks you to pay to work for them is a scammer.
Jun. 6th, 2016 11:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this. This is absolutely true!
Jun. 7th, 2016 04:50 am (UTC)
There's also what I call custom samples. "Draw a picture of (specific thing here) to apply for this art job!" There's no guarantee they're not just gonna take your sample and use it without paying.
Jun. 7th, 2016 06:22 pm (UTC)
I'd also recommend asking them what kind of plan and guidelines they have when it comes to things like artists turning out to be engaging in harassing behavior. 9/10 they don't actually have a plan for this kind of thing and you have an easy way to get out of it.

Also if they are claiming to be working with a charity or something check the charity itself.
If it's a harmful one like Autism Speaks or PETA you have a solid reason to reject it right then and there.
If their charity doesn't appear anywhere then you know it's fake and/or untrustable.
If it does come up and it's a good one read their news and/or email them to check of the "company" is actually working with them. Or just even mention you emailed them and that tends to scare them off.

Edited at 2016-06-07 06:22 pm (UTC)
Jun. 8th, 2016 02:42 am (UTC)
I once fell for "pay with exposure" and it made me feel like a fool after. Granted, the same client has been paying me after, but oh ho boy, no no no do not give in.

Oh and those people who comment on "prices being too high" are even worse. Ignore them and you'll be better off. Once a client of mine tried to lowball me by saying the section headers I made for their Kickstarter was so expensive. I didn't budge and got paid. This was 30$ total.

I do some free work here and there for game jams but I don't offer it for free outside of that. There are some who do and it hits those who do charge for it immensely. It's like they're hurting themselves too.
Jun. 16th, 2016 11:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah I'm involved with one of these now and man it's a mess. There's zero moderation, the guy running has gone on a couple of little power trips regarding "deadlines" and the work they put up on their end is laughable.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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