250 Improv: Why artists work for free #1

As a performer, or artist of any kind you’ve no doubt be asked to work for free, or for a really low price, or just for “exposure.”

What you’re doing, if you’re doing it well, looks like a lot of fun. And, let’s face it, it is fun! But, it’s also a lot of work. In general, people who aren’t artists don’t see or realize the amount of work it takes to do the “fun” part that they do see.

I just heard this comparison. Great artistic work should be like a duck. Smooth and easy looking on the surface, but paddling like hell underneath.

So, people don’t see that what we do is hard work, and it’s not entirely their fault. We work like hell to hide the fact that what we’re doing is difficult.

Sometimes I think we shouldn’t. That we should show the effort. I often think of Elvis in regards to performing. And the amount he’d sweat. The phrase “never let them see you sweat,” didn’t apply to Elvis, and look at him. Knowing that, you also know that he worked a hell of a lot harder than it looked like he was working.

The point I’m making is on the smaller level of performers or artists. We look like we’re having fun when working, so why would someone feel obligated to pay us for having fun? They equate getting paid to working hard, like they do, at their jobs, that they don’t have fun at.


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