Post from August, 2023

Then We Decided to Try to Monetize Our Art

Sunday, 27. August 2023 22:21

We got into the arts for various reasons: we were good at it; we enjoyed it; we had something to say and our art gave us a means for expression; it gave a place to feel safe; and so on. There are probably as many reasons as there are artists. However, very few, if any, of us got into the arts to make money. And so we dipped our toes in and began to experience the joys and frustrations of the art world. We took classes; we read; we practiced; we experimented; we tried various aspects of our art; we tried other arts; we finally found our artistic homes. Still the idea of money never entered the picture. So we entered some shows; we auditioned for more professional work; we experimented with styles; we took more courses; we studied more on our own; we talked to other artists; we began to try to balance work with art, sometimes neglecting the rest of our lives.

Then we decided to try to monetize our art. Things suddenly changed. We didn’t audition unless the pay was sufficient; we didn’t enter shows that did not have some sort of significant award; we began to set up online stores; we investigated how to promote our art on social media; we discovered that sales and promotion were work—and time-consuming. So perhaps we compromised. Now our whole world was our work—but we were still trying to balance. This time it was the business of art and the creation of art.

Some of us began teaching as a way to be paid for our art. We got to talk about aspects of our art most of the day and at the same time got to make art one way or another. And we got a check at the end of the month. Some of us found that our entire lives were spent on our art—teaching and practicing took all the time there was. And for some of us that was okay.

Then some of us began to try to develop an audience for our work. Some of us began to tailor our work to what we perceived to be the wants of our audience. We started worrying about our “type” and wondering if we could somehow change it. Perhaps we compromised. We started trying to find our niche. We began to worry about what shows would play to our audience. We became concerned what music the audience expected of us. Naturally, some of us began to create for the market.

Then one day we woke up and realized that we were no longer in the business of making art; rather, we were in the business of producing commodities. No longer did we make art; now we created product, the whole purpose of which was to satisfy the needs of the marketplace. And some of us were okay with that; we still got to be creative and we got to make things, and that was enough—for some more than enough.

Others of decided that the commercial aspect of monetizing our art was strangling us; we still had all the frustration of making art, but little of the joy we had experienced early on. So the problem became what to do about it. Some dropped out of the commercial world and found other ways to make a living, while still enjoying making art. Some found ways to modify the creation/marketing balance, and thus created a better situation. Still others found ways to make the marketing aspects of the job creative and enjoyable, and achieved the best of all possible worlds.

Unfortunately, one solution does not fit all; each artist is different and must find their own way. And each will. The pull that art has on us is too great to ignore. We always have and always will find ways to live and continue to produce art.

Category:Marketing | Comment (0) | Author:

The 2023 WGA/SAG-AFTRA Strike—Simplified

Sunday, 13. August 2023 22:17

The Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has now gone on for over 100 days. SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) joined the walkout in July. There is a lot in the news and on social media about this or that aspect of the combined strike, but it may be that not everyone is sure what is at stake. Here then is a summary of the issues involved in this entertainment industry strike.

What the WGA Wants

  • Increase pay across the board: nearly half of WGA members are paid the minimum rate. Along with this proposed rate hike, the WGA wants increases in their pension plan and health fund.
  • Better residuals: Currently, films and series are put into streaming services, which do not pay nearly the same as traditional syndication or overseas sales. Writers are particularly interested in higher residual pay based on popularity of streaming series.
  • Staffing requirements: basically, the WGA “wants TV shows to staff a certain number of writers for a period of time. Current practice does not allow for protections from being overworked and understaffed.”
  • Shorter exclusivity deals: current TV series have much shorter seasons, which reduces per-episode pay and can limit writers from working on other programs.
  • Assurance on AI: WGA is demanding that “AI cannot produce original material, rewrites, and source material.” Writers are also demanding that union-covered material cannot be used to train AI systems.

What SAG-AFTRA Wants

What the AMPTP Wants

There are other points, but these are the main ones. It is interesting to note that the major sticking points, other than base pay, AI use, and profit-sharing for streaming are issues that have arisen during the last 20 years with the advent of those new technologies. Thus it does seem appropriate for adjustments to be made. Exactly what those adjustments will look like remains to be seen.

Category:TV/Film | Comment (0) | Author: