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The Exposure Conversation: How To Protect Yourself As A Creative

Exposure for a creative shouldn't be a form of payment. But how do you protect yourself as a creative in this industry?

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Exposure for a creative shouldn't be a form of payment. But how do you protect yourself as a creative in this industry?

Creatives have it tough. People who spend most of their lives being called lazy, unmotivated daydreamers give the world some of the most beautiful work only to end up on the other side (if they do at all) and not get paid for it. It’s about time for that story to change.

We have been made aware of an email going around asking models to appear in a Sauti Sol dance video production for no compensation. The production email address it was sent from is often used by 3rd party contractors and in this case they clearly got it all wrong.

— SAUTI SOL (@sautisol) February 2, 2018

(Continued) We believe in fair compensation for all work in the entertainment industry and do not condone the “exposure” speak. We believe our track record speaks for itself. Needless to say, we have terminated our contract with the production company involved. Apologies.

— SAUTI SOL (@sautisol) February 2, 2018

In Kenya, it’s tough being a creative. It’s only in the last couple of years that they have been able to gain any respect for the work they do but the battle to get paid for their work continues. If you’re a young creative, it seems all doom and gloom but you can remember a couple of things.

  1. You’re not going to die. I once had the pleasure of hearing photographer Mutua Matheka speak about his creative process and his journey into full time photography. During the Q&A, someone asked the question people usually want to know - What happens when a client thinks your quote is too high? His response was simple. Walk away. If they don’t see the value of your work, then you’re better off moving on. It won’t be your last job and somewhere along the way, someone will be willing to pay your for your time and your amazing work.

  2. If you don’t know your value, you’ll always get played. One of the pain points for agencies is that they get creatives who don’t know what they want to charge. Does this free agencies of moral responsibility? No. But, ultimately it is a business and they will always negotiate for the best (lowest) price. Get yourself a rate card with rates that reflects the true cost of what you do. It shows preparedness and it shows someone who knows what their work is worth.

  3. Make it easy to be found. As a creative, you can put your work up (cleverly) online for people to see. I see artists marketing their work on Twitter all the time. However, how easy are you making it for clients to find you? Are you still using that old email address that reads "[email protected]"? If you are, ditch it. Get a professional one. List your contact information and always respond to queries. When you build a reputation as someone that is professional to work with, two things will happen. One is you will get contacted by professionals similar to yourself who understand it’s business and not exposure. Two, your reputation will precede you and your business will begin to grow.

Think we missed out on anything creatives should know? Drop us a line below!

Written by

Linda Kimaru

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