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VICE, like crime, doesn't pay

After a couple days spent back and forth with VICE magazine’s video channel, fixing for them for a story they wanted to do here in Taiwan, I get the following footnote:
“Lastly and we haven’t talked about this yet but I really appreciate your help. We can’t offer anything $ wise but we can give you a credit on the video. What were your thoughts on that. I know we’re all good Samaritans at heart but people should be compensated for their work but this is a pilot season and all we can do with this fixed budget is a credit. Does that work for you?”

Um, no, actually, it doesn’t fucking work for me. Here’s my reply:
“Well I was digesting the fact that you want a local expert who has invested years on the subject to spend a couple of days to give you advice, call in favors and arrange and cajole and negotiate to get you access, while you get to fly over here, stay in a hotel for a couple days having a trip making a cool and exciting eye-candy story that makes money for your company that pays you a salary, yet not be prepared to offer even a basic fixer’s fee? As a photographer, I make almost no money from my work on the Betelnut Beauty culture, yet when I take my production coordinator with me to arrange and translate, I pay her something out of my own pocket because without her there would be no story.

I have a day job so I don’t need the money, it’s the principle of the thing. And remember that a credit is a given, offering it as a form of compensation is insulting.

Anyway I’ll spare you the rest of the lecture, (I have a long one, I get to use it every now and then) because I’m sure you’ve heard it before. So no, just on principle – not interested.

Best of luck with the rest of your production. Tobie Openshaw"

So I get this instant reply:
“My sincerest apologies. Let me know what we can do to work something out. I really wasn’t trying to be disrespectful. We were just having budget restraints due to the amount of stories we were looking to do out there but I’ve realized what we want to do is unrealistic. We’ve now cut our stories back to 3 in 5 days rather than 6. Can you let me know what you are looking for? I do understand if you have moved beyond this conversation.

Again, my sincerest apologies for being so disrespectful. It wasn’t my intention, I’m just a bit new to this and didn’t understand the basic politics of it all. Lesson learned."

Yeah, no shit, the answer’s still no.


by BignoseTW at 2012-09-26 07:52:11 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

I don’t f**king get this anymore… Why this kind of work isn’t considered work?

Last week a communication agency offered me a job, end client being a big airline company, to do a two evening shoots (same event):

- promotional event
- outside, in a public place
- Friday and Saturday evenings
- a very crowded spot in Milan (especially during the weekend) with plenty of youth “having fun” (=drinking) in an area where there are bars and restaurants
- working hours 5.30 pm – 00.00 am
- the photographer was supposed to bring along a backdrop and at least two flashes (apparently they had done some “research” related to their assignment…)

And the pay? €150 a day, that is appr. USD 193. Oh and the payment will be due after 60 days.

Didn’t know if I should laugh or cry.

Too bad I forgot to pass by those days and take a look if they had found someone stupid or desperate enough.

Bravo Tobie, it seems you managed to make your “client” understand something. I also made a little rhetorical speech to this communication agency, saying among other things that I hope little by little things will change…


by Laura Larmo | 26 Sep 2012 12:09 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
I was offered 1€ for the use of a photograph in a documentary film and asked to sign a contract that included -

“You agree to indemnify us against all and any costs, claims, expenses and liabilities (including, without limitation, legal fees and any sums paid on the advice of Counsel) resulting from breach by you of any of the agreements and/or warranties on your part contained in this agreement.”

I was told that the 1€ didn’t reflect the value of the photograph. They just had to pay something to make the contract legally binding!

I waste so much time with this nonsense and am at a loss to see why anyone would think this normal. The worst of it is that if cost of all the man-hours spent in stupid negotiation were added up, I’m sure it would amount to an acceptable fee.

by DPC | 26 Sep 2012 13:09 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
So, their “sincerest apologies”, and they “want to work something out”, did you send a bill at this point? If they want to work something out, how about some money? I mean they’ve used up some of your valuable time, you should ask them to show their sincerity, and cough up.

by John Louis Lassen Perry | 26 Sep 2012 14:09 | Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States | | Report spam→
Wow Eros – that’s pretty damning. My instincts from the first moment were correct then. Thanks for that input.

by BignoseTW | 27 Sep 2012 02:09 | Taipei, Taiwan | | Report spam→
More and more I am convinced of publish a black list of undesirable medias. I was submerged in the shit of an agency and other media in the past. The main problem and at the same time a solution is they don’t lasted too much in a list to be useful information. But, in between I will try to get the keywords clare here. Stay Away from vice. Thanks Eros

by Hernan Zenteno | 27 Sep 2012 03:09 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→

by BignoseTW | 27 Sep 2012 07:09 | Taipei, Taiwan | | Report spam→
I was contacted by VICE early in the year to see if I had pictures of protests and events about the 30th anniversary of the Falklands/Malvinas War. Since I was going to shoot whatever happened that day, I said yes. They were upfront in that they had a limited budget, and we ended arranging a payment that was OK for them and, given the exchange rate, was OK for me for a day’s work. They paid on time, so no complaints. Well, other than them using the same images each time they run something on the issue, which is sort of a different deal…

by Patricio Murphy | 27 Sep 2012 10:09 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
Your post is interesting Tobie. I think its a poignant reminder that as photogs/fixers/whatever, we must be upfront about the business side of things before anything moves further (i.e..before you even get close to picking up your phone and call in favours). And secondly, be just as upfront about payment schedules and usage rights (though how or whether these are adhered to is another story I guess). Next time you pick up the phone, its best to say ‘sure I’ll help you make your film in three days but its going to cost you this’. Look forward to seeing your name at the bottom of their next Taiwan film then? ;) ;)

by Amin Musa | 01 Oct 2012 18:10 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
I would have told them my fee before I lifted a finger to help. Or I would have done it not expecting to get paid. You can’t have it both ways….

by Damaso Reyes | 02 Oct 2012 12:10 | Barcelona, Spain | | Report spam→
Good on ya Tobie.
This shit is becoming all too common.
My standard responce to any such request is “Do you get paid for your job?, well don’t be a fucking dick then”
Request from BBC and The Atlantic in the last monthwho “don’t have a budget for photography”, Really? stop printing photographs then you wankers.

Sorry for the swearing but I’ve had it with this kind of bullshit,.

Expected better of Vice, but now I know.

by Adrian Storey - Uchujin | 02 Oct 2012 14:10 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→

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BignoseTW, Videographer/Photographer BignoseTW
(Tobie Openshaw)
Taipei , Taiwan
Laura Larmo, Photographer Laura Larmo
Milan , Italy
DPC, Photographer DPC
Paris , France
John Louis Lassen Perry, Photoanthropologist John Louis Lassen Perry
Califon, New Jersey , United States
Hernan Zenteno, Photographer Hernan Zenteno
Buenos Aires , Argentina ( EZE )
Patricio Murphy, Musician, photographer Patricio Murphy
Musician, photographer
Buenos Aires , Argentina
Amin Musa, Amin Musa
(Visual Communication)
London , United Kingdom
Damaso Reyes, Photojournalist Damaso Reyes
Barcelona , Spain ( BCN )
Adrian Storey - Uchujin, Photographer/Film maker Adrian Storey - Uchujin
Photographer/Film maker
Tokyo , Japan


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