Free Art

Here's a topic starter. I keep seeing ads for writers or producers looking for free art for their projects, whether it be pitches, shorts or webseries etc. Some even want free animation. Sometimes they are offering the opportunity to the artists to "work" with an established or famous talent, or exposure. There is sometimes a promise that if the series sells then the artist would be attached (BTW that is a promise that can't be kept as the network/studio makes that decision) The other promise is a share in revenue, but usually no share in rights.

So, my question to would be writers or producers out there is, would you be willing to trade writing for art? Like a first draft of a screenplay in exchange for design and animation or a treatment in exchange for concept art? Or if you are a producer, exchange producing services with no compensation for said artist's personal projects?

Just wondering...

Raymond Negron

Yes, Bob! Awesome! There is nothing like bartering one craft for another. I'm a screenwriter and have an animation that's 3/4's of the way done and I am looking to barter. Always have to see if the animation talent matches my likes to my script. Great, idea!

Martina Cook

I would love that, but I'm a novice so the question is what CV would you expect from a writer? I guess you would consider experienced writers who won multiple competitions or had few movies produced. Or would you give anyone a shot? :)

Bob Harper

Hey Raymond - congrats on almost getting your script completed. I'm sure you could find someone to help you our.

Martina - I'm not really looking, I only started the discussion because I have been getting a lot of requests for free work. I guess you would find animators at the same level of experience and collaborate on a project or projects you both would share in ownership or figure out a fair trading scenario.

Dusty Jones

Almost always the artist is left behind and taken advantage of. Creators (artists) would be better off writing their own material, even if it's the most simple of ideas (which is a good idea anyways). Just create your own short, feature or series. If you're going to do a barter, make sure to know current copyright law. If you don't license your art or work, then you can sue their asses for using it, even if they payed for it. Only unless it's a work for hire, or you signed a W2. Otherwise, if you haven't licensed your work to them, you have the upper hand and it rightfully belongs to you. I know this because I had work I did on a reality TV show where the Executive Producer and star of the show demanded that I remove my work from my reel. After my lawyer explained copyright to me, I then knew that I was in the right and if I wanted to take him to court (costs money though) I could have sued him for not having a license for my work and using it on national TV, even though he payed for it. That includes editing, cinematography, stills, music etc.

Make sure to have a service agreement with anyone you do trade or barter with. It protects you and them. Anyone can forget what they agreed on verbally so it's good to keep yourself in check. In my opinion, the only way to collaborate is to have a service agreement (contract). Your work is worth $$$! Don't let anyone use you and your talent by dangling celebrities and exposure bullshit in your face. If it's a big network, they can afford you. Important or connected people usually have plenty of animators and artists to pull from anyways unless it's self funded... that's when they dangle who they've worked with and know. As if that matters, you'll never meet them or work with them. Just my experience. Work with someone who is transparent and willing to sign an agreement. If what you collaborate on makes lots of money, you'll be really happy you did.

Raymond Negron

Always love collaborating! RJN

Jimmy Messer

I have been asked to do that exact thing by writers, as an actor and an digital artist/animator. I understand people want to create I think it's an urge we all have. but when it comes to something you stand to make money from you should pay pure and simple. Also as an artist I have a licensing agent, they would contract any production company into a royalty deal that the studios would have to take into account. they would more likely want to renegotiate of course but getting contract in place is very important.

Becca-Chris M


I'd think trading services could get tricky. Who goes first? How high is the bar set? Once I reach it, then wut.... a pull-up? Why? I don't wanna.
Then you gotta deal with the exchange rate. I get that artists should be treated as King Candy, but what would the exchange rate be on a first draft to concept art? If it's like the Ruble, I'd pass. At that point I'd just write a novel.
If the script is already written then I would rather pay for services. Have a fair contract. But giving over some of the rights? Meh... I could easily do 50/50 in revenue, or what is worked on, or if art was re-used, etc.
Now, collaborating from the start is a different story, 50/50 all the way baby.

Robert Franklin

I have given away material in the past.

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