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Is ‘exposure’ appropriate as a ‘pay’?

By 1 May 2014 31

I have heard all of the recent controversy about the 100 dancers that were asked to work for 11hours for a Video Clip filming – and then a selection would be asked to perform at The Logies – for free.

The basis of this would be that their pay would be the ‘exposure’ they would receive.

This controversy then seemed to extend to our local FashFest – where a selection of models were offered a paid role… and the remainder would receive ‘exposure’ and ‘experience’.

Is this common? …and is this appropriate?

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31 Responses to Is ‘exposure’ appropriate as a ‘pay’?
#1
Felix the Cat1:33 pm, 01 May 14

Maybe…maybe not. Wouldn’t the dancers been aware of the (lack of) pay before the performance? If so, they agreed to do it andthen decided to have a whinge about it after the event. Kylie reportedly said she didn’t recieve any payment for performing either, but I guess she can afford to do the odd freebie.

#2
pezza1:35 pm, 01 May 14

It’s common, and getting more common across artistic professions. I’ve heard about it with photographers a lot – the Australian Open did the same thing.

As to whether it’s appropriate, well, that’s a slightly more philosophical question. Personally I believe that it’s an utter crock to claim “exposure” as an alternative to pay – if you’re plainly asking for volunteers, whether the event is for profit or not, then that’s one thing. The problem with giving people “exposure” is that nobody has any intention of paying them – you just give other people “exposure” next time, instead.

#3
countach3:04 pm, 01 May 14

“is this appropriate?”

No.

Glad I could clear that up for you.

#4
FourFour3:07 pm, 01 May 14

Yeah I was surprised when these recently discussed incidents have been clearly events that are money-making ventures …not some charity/community event.

I’ve heard on 3 types today alone (Modelling / Writing / Dancing).

So is it a case that until people say ‘no’, then this may still occur?

#5
shirty_bear3:19 pm, 01 May 14

For mine, the only concern is that people know the deal before signing on; if you want to be paid in ‘exposure’, then fill your boots; if you don’t, simple – don’t.

But – a hundred dancers? How big is the local market for professional dancers, for chrissakes? Most of the takers must just be along for sh*ts and giggles anyway. Don’t like the pay? Get a real job.
(yeah, I know proper dancing is hard work … what I’m saying is that the market isn’t there. I’d like to be a professional … I dunno … pinball player. Pogo-stick driver. Space-hopper mechanic. Where’s the market?)

#6
thatsnotme4:06 pm, 01 May 14

‘Exposure’ doesn’t put food on the table. That’s fine if it’s a hobby, or part time job, but if you’re a professional artist, in whatever field, then you need an income more than exposure. I really question the value of that exposure too – it’d be interesting to see whether anyone’s actually earned any money from the exposure they got.

When ‘exposure’ starts to be the type of payment that more and more people are willing to accept, then the people who can’t afford to give away real money stop getting jobs. So anyone thinking that being paid that way is going to give them a leg up so that they CAN get paid real money is screwing themselves over – by the time they ‘make it’, there are no paying jobs left.

At best I think this type of deal is greedy. At worst, it’s pure exploitation.

#7
Rollersk8r4:49 pm, 01 May 14

The issue’s a lot more complex than it may seem. Countless commerical events rely on volunteers to some degree. And how many fulltime professional catwalk models are there in Canberra anyway?

One example – many years ago the Canberra Raiders cheer leaders (Raiderettes) were unpaid. I’m talking back in the mid-90s when it was just a bunch of kids. Their payment was free coaching and the “fun” of attending games and hearing disgustingly inappropriate comments from old men…

#8
Funky15:02 pm, 01 May 14

For my mind, if someone is making money out of it then everyone needs to get paid. If it’s for non-profit or a charity or some other worthy cause, then it’s ok to ask for volunteers or offer “exposure”.

One perfect example of this was the recent LFL (Ladies Gridiron show on 7MATE). The organisers were asking local photographers around the country to shoot their events for “great exposure” and the (full profit making) organisation wanted to then own the images. I’m sure someone would have said yes, but most professional or semi-professional photographers said no.

#9
Roundhead895:26 pm, 01 May 14

It’s a bit like somebody who writes Letters To the Editor being called a journalist. An interesting take, that one.

#10
Masquara5:45 pm, 01 May 14

What “exposure” is one model out of 100 going to get? This is appalling, and needs to come under the same scrutiny as employers who used to use “internships” or “trial runs” to get free work. They’re no longer allowed to. One of those models should take them to court for fair pay.

#11
justin heywood7:07 pm, 01 May 14

Come on, there’s plenty of people who work for little or nothing in the hope that it will lead to bigger things. One of the strategies to gain employment in some preferred industries is to work as a ‘volunteer’ to make contacts and beef up your resume.

Cool jobs are hard to get. There was an airline in the US that got busted because their pilots were effectively paying to fly for them, in order to boost their hours. And I think you’ll find most of the big rock stars started off by doing gigs for next to nothing.

I don’t think they’re being exploited at all. Some people are obviously prepared to do it because, for them, the potential reward (their dream career) is obviously worth the risk that they’ve worked for nothing.

#12
davo1017:31 pm, 01 May 14
#13
Masquara8:05 pm, 01 May 14

davo101 said :

“Artist dies of Exposure”

Isn’t it the case, though, that any profit the Riotact makes will be on the backs of the Poetixes of this site? The ones providing brilliant content for free, that makes the site worth the odd look? So Riotact is quite guilty of similar behaviour.

#14
gooterz8:12 pm, 01 May 14

davo101 said :

“Artist dies of Exposure”

Equal pay for equal work.

Minimum wage isn’t that much really.

#15
goodguybad8:22 pm, 01 May 14

Somebody familiar with fashfest here, last year no models were paid, this year three tiers were introduced depending on experience, models with previous runway experience are being paid $1000, those with some experience are being paid $500 and receiving some training and models with no experience received training prior to fashfest, this was all explained at the castings prior to any selections.

#16
Postalgeek10:56 pm, 01 May 14

If someone ranks ‘exposure’ above money, they are welcome to mow my front lawn for ‘exposure’, clean my gutters coz there’s bound to be plenty of ‘exposure’ on the roof, and follow me around in public shopping centres (carrying my shopping in public no less!) and get great ‘exposure’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8l1M2rCCrA

http://noprobono.info

#17
cleo2:19 am, 02 May 14

For starters it’s illegal not to be paid for work, no such thing as a trial!

#18
gospeedygo10:10 am, 02 May 14

cleo said :

For starters it’s illegal not to be paid for work, no such thing as a trial!

http://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/student-placement-and-unpaid-work/pages/unpaid-trials

#19
rhino1:23 pm, 02 May 14

This sort of thing would happen a whole lot in Hollywood. Many people would want to be extras in just about anything so that they can build a portfolio of things they’ve been seen in to seem more impressive when applying for other jobs. Similar to work experience.

The way I see it, if they knew they weren’t going to get paid at the start and they decided to do it anyway, that’s their decision. They saw it as worthwhile, so who are we to step in and interfere? Unless they were misled about pay or hours or coerced into doing it, I don’t see any problem.

#20
Mysteryman1:41 pm, 02 May 14

countach said :

“is this appropriate?”

No.

Glad I could clear that up for you.

Exactly. If the organiser is not a charity, they need to pay the talent. It’s as simple as that. I’m a creative professional and I don’t do work for free unless it’s for a charity, or unless I’m getting paid in trade. It cheapens the value of your work and encourages leeches like the organisers of FashFest to keep exploiting local talent.

Is it common? Unfortunately, it is.

#21
rhino2:06 pm, 02 May 14

I think they should be free to make their own decisions.

It may put downward pressure on wages for people who are established and can receive regular income in the field, and if that’s the case, I can understand someone in that position not liking it, but if they can’t get any work and they want to gain exposure so that they can use that to help them get a leg up in the field, I can’t see how it’s an issue.

If they were misled or coerced in some way, that’s one thing, but making a conscious decision about what you want to do with your own time is your right as a person.

#22
thatsnotme3:46 pm, 02 May 14

Mysteryman said :

Exactly. If the organiser is not a charity, they need to pay the talent. It’s as simple as that. I’m a creative professional and I don’t do work for free unless it’s for a charity, or unless I’m getting paid in trade. It cheapens the value of your work and encourages leeches like the organisers of FashFest to keep exploiting local talent.

Is it common? Unfortunately, it is.

‘Leeches like the organisers of FashFest’ may be a bit harsh given this statement:

goodguybad said :

Somebody familiar with fashfest here, last year no models were paid, this year three tiers were introduced depending on experience, models with previous runway experience are being paid $1000, those with some experience are being paid $500 and receiving some training and models with no experience received training prior to fashfest, this was all explained at the castings prior to any selections.

I do note that there’s no mention of how many hours of work are expected for that pay though, and I assume that any figures here are pre-tax. No breakdown of how many of the models taking part fall into each category either – if there’s only a handful being paid, and the rest are still working for no money, then not much has changed.

IF though, the training models working for free receive is more than an hour long workshop for 100 people, and IF the time commitment doesn’t reduce the per-hour pay rate to something less than an 18 year old gets for delivering pizzas, then it seems like a step in the right direction.

#23
Mysteryman3:55 pm, 02 May 14

rhino said :

I think they should be free to make their own decisions.

It may put downward pressure on wages for people who are established and can receive regular income in the field, and if that’s the case, I can understand someone in that position not liking it, but if they can’t get any work and they want to gain exposure so that they can use that to help them get a leg up in the field, I can’t see how it’s an issue.

If they were misled or coerced in some way, that’s one thing, but making a conscious decision about what you want to do with your own time is your right as a person.

Except that almost universally, the promise of “exposure” is a crock. In the vast majority of cases it’s just the client’s way of getting free work. FashFest is a prime example. When there are so many models the “exposure” individual models get is useless, and the client knows it.

#24
Grrrr5:40 pm, 02 May 14

rhino said :

This sort of thing would happen a whole lot in Hollywood. Many people would want to be extras in just about anything so that they can build a portfolio of things they’ve been seen in to seem more impressive when applying for other jobs. Similar to work experience.

Hollywood Extras get paid – and if they’re a member of a union, paid quite well. Not sure who these “many people” are that believe being an Extra gets them exposure or a prestigious portfolio.

Work experience is vocational training. Fashfest modelling is not. They are not similar. https://www.fairwork.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/2221/Unpaid%20work%20-%20general%20fact%20sheet.pdf.aspx

#25
Roundhead895:17 pm, 03 May 14

Grrrr said :

rhino said :

This sort of thing would happen a whole lot in Hollywood. Many people would want to be extras in just about anything so that they can build a portfolio of things they’ve been seen in to seem more impressive when applying for other jobs. Similar to work experience.

Hollywood Extras get paid – and if they’re a member of a union, paid quite well. Not sure who these “many people” are that believe being an Extra gets them exposure or a prestigious portfolio.

Work experience is vocational training. Fashfest modelling is not. They are not similar. https://www.fairwork.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/2221/Unpaid%20work%20-%20general%20fact%20sheet.pdf.aspx

I remember reading an entry in the book Working Class Heroes about the recording of Paul McCartney’s Mull Of Kintyre in 1977. After the song became a massive hit, the bagpipe players complained to the Press that they were just payed standard Musician’s Union rates for the recording session and didn’t receive any of the massive royalties. McCartney wrote to each one of them asking how much extra they wanted, they replied with a nominated amount and Paul duly wrote cheques for those amounts and sent them to each of the musos.

#26
jasmine5:59 pm, 03 May 14

This is happening more and more where the enticement of exposure is offerred in lieu of payment. Personally if you are performing a service or providing a product of any sort you should be paid unless there is a personal agreement between two people. For example if I say to my neighbour I will mow your lawn if you trim my hedges (you get the picture).

The Logies and the television media can afford to pay top dollar for celebrities and news personnel, why not those undertaking work in lesser roles. It’s not a good look.

#27
rhino11:08 am, 05 May 14

That may be the case if they were deceived as to what the “exposure” would be. But if they were told to come model at fashfest, and they knew what fashfest was and what they’d be doing and how they’d be seen, then they’d know full well what kind of exposure to expect.

And if they know what they are doing and they aren’t tricked into doing it under false pretenses, then who are we to tell them that they shouldn’t do it? It’s their own decision to make.

And if you can get someone willing to do it for free, why would you pay them? haha. Nobody wants to spend more than they have to. If they’re misleading people, then that’s where it becomes a seriously bad thing.

#28
Mysteryman12:15 pm, 05 May 14

rhino said :

That may be the case if they were deceived as to what the “exposure” would be. But if they were told to come model at fashfest, and they knew what fashfest was and what they’d be doing and how they’d be seen, then they’d know full well what kind of exposure to expect.

And if they know what they are doing and they aren’t tricked into doing it under false pretenses, then who are we to tell them that they shouldn’t do it? It’s their own decision to make.

And if you can get someone willing to do it for free, why would you pay them? haha. Nobody wants to spend more than they have to. If they’re misleading people, then that’s where it becomes a seriously bad thing.

“Who are we to tell them that they shouldn’t do it?”. WE are the creative professionals who know better. WE are the people who have to deal with clients expecting everything for free because someone else once offered them lousy, free work. WE are the ones who have to put up with our work being devalued because people like YOU can’t tell the difference between what’s should be paid for, and what shouldn’t.

Who are you to tell them? I have no idea. Clearly you don’t provide creative services so you’re probably not in a position to be commenting.

#29
Deref12:32 pm, 05 May 14

It’s certainly common in the music industry. Sadly, particularly young musos are attracted by it in the hope that it may be of benefit to them. It never is, of course.

Someone posted a clever parody in the form of a reply letter to a restaurant that was looking for musos to perform, asking that they (the restaurant) feed a few dozen of the author’s friends “for the exposure”.

#30
Ghettosmurf872:13 pm, 05 May 14

Deref said :

It’s certainly common in the music industry. Sadly, particularly young musos are attracted by it in the hope that it may be of benefit to them. It never is, of course.

Someone posted a clever parody in the form of a reply letter to a restaurant that was looking for musos to perform, asking that they (the restaurant) feed a few dozen of the author’s friends “for the exposure”.

That was a very clever little letter too. Made me chuckle and puts it all in perspective a bit

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