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Apparently not everybody likes THP

September 23, 2007

The world of low/no budget production is very different than what you’ll see in the real world. Many times, people will work for free in exchange for experience, credit, and the opportunity to build their reel/portfolio. Most of my friends are shocked when they hear this, but it’s not an uncommon practice at all. For our project, we had to rely on people’s willingness to work for no upfront pay, otherwise we would never have been able to make the Hayley Project on our shoestring budget (i.e., The Hayley Project would not exist).

On the flip side, there is another camp who frown on the no upfront pay tactics that low budget productions frequently use. I understand why these people don’t like to see young eager artists and crew work for free, as it takes away their jobs (kind of like how unions feel about scabs) and perpetuates the idea that it’s OK to not pay. What these people don’t understand is that if every production had to pay every member of their cast and crew, there would be much less productions going on in the first place. Many low budget films simply can’t afford it at the beginning of a production. That’s why many productions utilize deferred payments in the event that a project does become profitable in the future. So rather than complain about these tactics, the best thing for these angry types to do is to simply ignore looking for jobs with low budget productions that don’t pay, and instead, go work for a bigger budget production that have the funds to pay upfront. There’s no need to bash on the little guy who’s trying to survive on a shoestring budget.

Anyway, all the rambling above was meant to setup the reaction below. We put out an ad on Craig’s List looking for people who were interested in helping build MySpace and Facebook pages for our characters (not build our main website). For… wait for it, wait for it….. NO pay. And below is a pleasant response from an anonymous Douche Bag.

Douche Bag wrote:
Your offer is offensive to all web developers.
Your compensation is credit and exposure?
Who do you think you are? You are not famous as
I have researched your project. Therefore, “exposure”
will not amount to anything. Good luck finding a slave to
do your work for free. I hope your project fails miserably, and
it seems that it is already heading in that direction. Fuck off.

Classy. 😉

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    September 24, 2007 10:40 am

    As the poster of the ad, I was nearly compelled to respond to the so-called Douchebag, but Andy offered to share his thoughts on it here. So instead of engaging in a private email flame war, I figured I’d share how I felt about it here instead with a few comments…

    First of all, I’m more than happy to accept criticism from someone in the public if they don’t like my techniques. That’s the magic of the internet – we put ourselves out there, and we’re open for anything that comes back to us. But if you want to engage in a conversation, let’s be adults about it. Reading through the email, there were a few things that struck me as just immature, stupid, or just plain wrong:

    1) Use a real email address. It’s really easy to tell someone to fuck off when you hide behind this email address: Be a man and put yourself out there if you stand behind what you’re saying. This just makes you look more like a pansy. We’re happy to discuss our project here, out in the open…come join the discussion.

    2) If you don’t like our posting, ignore it. It’s like changing the channel when a bad show comes on – just go to the next posting. No one’s making you sit at home on Saturday night to patrol Craigslist, so use that free will and let people do their work, even if you disagree with it.

    3) Don’t make generalizations you can’t back up. Our offer is not offensive to all web developers. Yes, many web developers seek compensation for their work – it’s the magic of this great economic system our country enjoys. However, many folks who are new to the working world don’t have something called a ‘portfolio’ to show off. Doing projects like this and getting their name attached to it helps them find newer and better jobs in the future that pay. And I know this might come as a shock to you, but some people just like to get involved with things for the fun of it – either to help, meet new people, or just try something new. Do you think all construction workers are offended when Habitat for Humanity asks for help? Everyone who’s worked on this project – from Production Staff, Actors, PAs, and Developers – have worked for free, not because we are slaves (to ourselves?), but rather because we enjoy the experience and we want to succeed.

    4) We are not famous…that is correct. I’m glad your thorough googling has produced that fact. It’s called independent film – being famous often kills that whole premise. But, if we did happen to make it big with this project, I’m sure all of our slaves would reap the benefits of it.

    5) Why all the negativity? Do you really want us to fail miserably because we asked for unpaid help? That hardly seems like good justification for such a cruel wish. I recommend anger management.

    6) Given that The Hayley Project just wrapped shooting, I think it’s premature to declare it a failure. But that’s just my personal opinion.

    If you or any other readers out there have thoughts on the topic, definitely chime in – let’s hear what the world has to say. Were we wrong to post for free help? Are we a failure? Is this guy just out of his mind?

    – Dave

  2. Bobby T permalink
    September 25, 2007 10:11 am

    I’m not sure he is qualified to speak on behalf of all web developers. I think he should change his first line to say “Your offer is offensive to all douchebags”

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