The Place Where You Live
December 27, 2010 8:04 AM   Subscribe

don't we all use ethernet cables?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:15 AM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ask Laura Snyder what she thinks.
posted by CarlRossi at 8:56 AM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Laura needs to read more about boys and dikes.

She's 100% correct in her essay, but her don't write for free admonishment will be about as effective as a just say no to drugs campaign or abstinence only sex education.

I have a policy against writing for free. I'll write for free on my own website, otherwise I need some form of payment. I often do it on a barter system, sometimes for cash, but never for free. I've gotten progressively less money and fewer opportunities over the years to the cyclical result that I seldom look for publishing opportunities.

I work with professional writers and respect them too much to go doing their job for nothing, just as I would get pissed if they started doing tech support because they learned to use google.

I also find it near impossible to write 350 words. I've had introductions to short stories that were four times that long. 350 words is hard to write and seldom satisfying to read. That's Reader's Digest essay length.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:20 AM on December 27, 2010

> I also find it near impossible to write 350 words.

Just need a little practice phrasing things concisely. Like
FidoNet 1:374/14 1986-08-14 If it can't be said in 46 characters, don't bo
posted by jfuller at 9:49 AM on December 27, 2010

I have a policy against writing for free.

I respect your policy. Please note, though, that people have been writing for free as long as writing has existed. And you DO write free stuff for publication. You just did it in this thread. You might not personally categorize Metafilter as a publication, and that's fine. Whatever it is, it's something with writing that people read. And you just contributed to it without getting paid.

Throughout history, all of the arts have had paid and unpaid workers toiling side by side. Some painters work for money, some don't. Same with sculptors, poets, actors, musicians, filmmakers, etc.

Especially when it comes to filmmakers, most of us recognize how we all benefit by having both people doing it for money and people doing it for free. If no filmmakers worked on small, indy projects (for which they mostly make no money or LOSE money), we'd only have Hollywood movies, which are always controlled by the bottom line. Meanwhile, Hollywood steals ideas from indy films and vice versa. Equipment that can only be developed in Hollywood, gradually becomes cheaper and can then be used by indy filmmakers.

I am a theatre director who chooses to work for free. I was on a career path that was leading me towards being a paid director, but I opted out. There is no way I could do the sort of work I wanted to do and get paid for it. If I took money, I would have to compromise to the point where my work wouldn't be mine (as I define it). IF my work has any value to others, that means they too would lose if I started taking money.

But that doesn't mean I begrudge other directors from making money. I go to see Broadway shows all the time, and my own work grows from the experience. Recently, Broadway directors, like John Doyle, have incorporated a lot fringe-theatre techniques into their mainstream shows. So in my view, the art form is much healthier for having paid and unpaid workers in it than it would be if it only had one or the other.

I'm sorry if paid directors think I'm taking work away from them. But since I know the art form benefits from unpaid workers, I'm going to excuse my behavior on that grounds. The art of Theartre is more important than individual directors. That's a value judgement you may not share, of course. But I can't imagine anyone really thriving in an artform -- or adding much too it -- if he thinks the artist is more important than the art. When I work, I am serving -- or trying to serve -- theatre, not myself or other artists. If it would serve theatre for no one to get paid, then (in my view), no one should get paid. Luckily, for paid directors, I don't think that's the case.

I've written four books for money. I love writing, but I hated the paid-writer experience. I've decided that I'll write my next book for free.
posted by grumblebee at 10:17 AM on December 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

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