Finding inspiration in various places, some of which involve audio and/or video; if you are someplace that might not appreciate sound coming from your computer, have a care which links you click on.
- In an act of responding to overwhelming negative feedback (although not having the balls to admit it), McSweeney’s Internet Tendency has backed off some of the stupider implications of a contest it’s announced to underpay cartoonists. Firstly, the contest as she exists:
We were sitting around and someone said, “We should have a contest for comics on our website.” Someone else said that sounded like a good idea, and no one talked us out of it, so that’s what we’re doing, having a contest for comics, with a $500 first prize for the best collection of three comics. [emphasis original]
So that’s a bit less than US$170 for each of three cartoons, which have to be original and not already seen elsewewhere, although the creator at least retained all rights including future distribution. It’s the “original” part that stuck in a lot of craws, though, as it was worded thusly:
All examples must be previously unpublished. We’re interested in launching something/someone new, rather than providing a megaphone for something that’s already out in the world. [emphasis original]
… which reads an awful lot like the traditional, Hey, kids! Exposure! argument that accompanies a lot of attempts to get creative work on the cheap¹. The truly horrible part is that the contest in question had, some hours earlier, read very differently:
We were sitting around and someone said, “We should have a contest for comics on our website.” Someone else said that sounded like a good idea, and no one talked us out of it, so that’s what we’re doing, having a contest for comics, with a $500 first prize in return for a promise to deliver two or so original comics per month over a twelve-month period for the enjoyment and delight of our audience.[emphasis original]
Twenty-four comics, not eight. Less than twenty-one dollars per comic. Although I confess that I’m somewhat surprised that McSweeney’s backed off the twenty-four comics version of the contest, as the pay is far closer to what they normally offer at the website². I’ve seen no acknowledgment by McSweeney’s (as of this writing) that the change was made as a result of the overwhelming negative reaction, nor even that the change was made at all. Make of that what you will.
- The sort of work that the contest may attract will be, I suspect, mercenary and done not because the creator feels it of worth, but feels it may be of some (minor) economic advantage, maybe, possibly, if very lucky. That thought made me think back to Neil Gaiman’ address to the graduating class [sound, vision] of the University of the Arts last week. The relevant part starts at about the 6:32 mark, and goes something like:
I don’t know that it’s an issue for anybody but me, but it’s true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually, I didn’t wind up getting the money, either. The things I did because I was excited, and wanted to see them exist in reality have never let me down and I’ve never regretted the time I spent on any of them.
If you’re a creator, or if you’re not, go listen to the entire thing; it’s twenty minutes well spent³.
- Finally, on both the inspirational (in a natural wonders of wildlife sort of way) and the warning of future disaster fronts: Friend of Fleen and semi-itinerant vagabond Lore Sjöberg would like you to know both what Walmart-resident peacock calls sound like, and what the apocalyptic future portended by the Apple Store is like (this week). Prior to playing either, I recommend you crank the volume all the way to right and break the knob off.
¹ Let us recite together from the Wisdom of R Stevens, as quoted on this page many previous times: People die of exposure.
² From their internet submission guidelines:
There will likely be none. If there is any, it may come very late or in unusual currency.
³ Likewise, there’s a lot of very similar wisdom to be found in another recent commencement address, at least until the value of failure gets distracted by Jizztoberfest.