Increasingly I’m seeing more and more tweets and emails about competitions and commissions from media agencies seeking new content without the incentive of a production fee for the work.
Is it enough to offer a one-off exhibition slot, to offer an iPad, to be shown on a crowded online platform with amateur and professional work sitting side by side? There’s a place for UGC – YouTube. But when it comes to selling a drinks product or celebrating a work of great literary genius is it enough to ask that people spend their own time making work when there’s only a slim possibility that it will be selected? Or is there an assumption in marketing departments across the land that either animation is just a hobby or that animators are so fanatical about the artform they’d make the work regardless?
Simultaneously as budgets are slashed across the arts and creative industries, expectations have increased that work can be produced in rapid timescales for tiny budgets (or for nada) by anybody. This cannot be a sustainable model.
If you want to get the best piece of work that will have a legacy and be something that truly represents your message you need to offer people support – both financially and curatorially. The commissioner should work with the artist to make work that reflects the aims of the commission and that gives the maker time to experiment.
And how do we change this current mindset? Boycotting such opportunities isn’t enough. Somehow we need to convince the people with the power and the money that animators need to be taken seriously and deserve to be paid for their intellectual property. It’s an ethos all commissioners whether in the arts or the commercial sphere should share. Don’t commission the work unless you can afford to support the talent.