Posted by & filed under Publishing and Publishers, Writing and Writers. 5 comments

LISTEN to this!

A recent playwright’s post displays a beautiful illustration of the plight that many, many writers face as they fight to keep a tight hold on their work. Read the whole damn thing.

“Let’s explore this idea that “giving away” my scripts devalues them. My plays are valueless, as long as they sit in a drawer……………….


Listen: Of course I want to get paid. Of course I should get paid. But the fact is not only am I not getting paid now, but my work is languishing in the dark.”


 From “The Great Release”

read the rest……


True. Fucking. Story.


… Oh, and by the way?

BAD PANDA is fucking awesome.


5 Responses to “Writers, Writing, and Getting Paid – Reblog: “The Great Release””

  1. Gray

    Perhaps predictably, I’ll pop up to say something here :) Nice piece. I pretty much agree with everything she said. My issue with ‘free’ isn’t so much about motivation. Art should never be about money. Good artists don’t make art for money. How do we know this? Because they rarely get it! They never have. But they keep doing it.

    And this is precisely my issue. The history of the artist is a history of exploitation. Any ‘buck’ to be made has traditionally ended up in the hands of commercial interests, the middle men who owned the means of physical production and distribution, the devil who the artist has always been forced to sidle up to in order to get their work seen/heard and in order to catch the few crumbs the suits let fall from the table, so they might maintain their energy to keep doing what they love; creating art.

    All throughout history the artist has been forced to prostitute themselves. To sign away the rights to their work so they can get it out there. To compromise on their vision in order to ingratiate themselves to those with the money to make it happen. Always the justification has been “Well paper costs money, so does printing and binding, marketing, trucks, shelf space; those who take the risk and front the capital are entitled to the lion’s share.” And thus it has always gone.

    At least until someone fed an eightball to a printing press and the internet was born. Now those arguments don’t hold anywhere near as much weight. Artists have the means to produce, market and distribute their own work with minimal effort and minimal cost. Their rightful claim to the ‘lion’s share’ of any profits made from that work has never been stronger. And I’m not talking about profits in terms of getting rich. I’m talking about getting by. Eating. Living.

    A difficulty I have with the free culture movement is that in many regards it could be a step backwards to the problems of yesterday, not a step forwards, despite the nobility of its intentions. I’m worried that it’s the artist prostituting themselves all over again, ‘signing away the rights’ of their work in order to get it seen/heard, or relinquishing profit to the hands of others. And make no mistake, if you give up the means to profit from your work, and it’s good, others will in your stead. Like the writer of the posted article points out.

    We have the technology and the means to compensate the artist more fairly than ever before, to get their work seen and heard by more people than ever before, to wrest control over it from commercial interests and put it in the hands of the creators. And still there are those crying for the artist to impoverish themselves, to ‘give it away’ for free. And it’s the same promises. “Just hang in there, you won’t make money now, but once people discover you, you’ll make more then. Then you’ll get your share!” “You’ll make your money on touring and book signings, don’t worry about it!” So on and so on.
    I just hear echoes of the way it’s always been, even if the intent is far more noble, not merely a grab for profits.

    We are entering an age where culture can be accessible and affordable, where those who create the work can offer it at a price that any social class can afford, and those who create the work can receive the major share of any money to be made on it, can tap a global market that can give them a reasonable quality of life and allow them to continue doing what they love, making art. In some regards the ‘free culture’ movement runs the risk undermining that. It’s driven more by a particular political philosophy than any concern for the artist. And that’s fine, they’re not necessarily unreasonable philosophies, but my concerns are pragmatic.

    • Gray

      Arg I apologise for this rant. Cluttering up the comments with a stupid diatribe. It’s an interesting discussion though, I feel torn on it in many ways.

      • AeliusBlythe

        Don’t apologize! I’m glad to see you pop back up again here. Somehow the move seems to have scared away some of the people I was used to seeing around lol!

    • AeliusBlythe

      I wouldn’t neessarily see the Free Culture movement as a step backwards OR a step forwards, but really a step sideways! I’m looking for something along these lines that I wrote WAAAAY far back when I was first putting my work online for free….. That the idea that if you put your work online for free, eventually it will gain steam and people will support you and you’ll be rich and happy is a pretty fantasy, but no more than that. “Free” is an *opportunity* not a *guarantee* – exactly like traditional opportunities. After all getting an advance/contract/production deal/etc often isn’t the pot of gold at the end of the creative rainbow. When people get paid – regardless of what method they use – it is often not even enough to lilve on.

      So Free Culture can be a stratagy as well as a principal. And it can be one without being the other. Or it could be a mix of the two. In my case, while I very much support free culture in principal, making my own work making things free is also part of a…….. for lack of a better phrase, marketing scheme. It’s the way that I choose to get my work in front of people while working on the getting paid part. And I think the author of this post, as a playwright already with some credits under her belt, may very well use FREE strategically with a good chance of success (though she is obviously very principled in her decision as well.)

      • Gray

        Yeah that makes I sense. I think free as a strategy can be a good one. I used to be a loud proponent of free as a principle too, but I have some trepidations now. At the end of the day I just want to see control over art where it belongs, with the artist. Even with the technology we have now that’s taking a long time, both for artists to shake off old habits and pre-conceptions about the strength of their position and because old interests are fighting to maintain power despite their increasing irrelevance. I’m not sure ‘free’ helps with either of those obstacles. But yeah, like I say I’m torn.


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