After the Jump: Lynn Casper

by Grace Bonney

This week’s radio show was the continuation of a conversation I started a few weeks ago with my friend and fellow radio host, Lynn Casper. Lynn hosts an excellent podcast called Homoground that highlights amazingly talented LGBT musicians and artists. She also organizes and promotes some truly meaningful- and much needed- events for other LGBT creatives in and out of the music industry. The other week Lynn and I met in person to talk about our businesses and how we could collaborate to highlight some of the issues we both were facing as business owners. The discussion turned into something bigger and we decided to keep it going on this week’s show, which is focusing on being paid what you’re worth and ways to fund creative projects.

I love when shows like this seem to come at the perfect time. Just this week as I was sitting down to prep some conversation topics for the show, I received an email from a large national publication that was looking for a blogger to create regular original content for a sponsored section of their magazine. With few details given I requested more information on the sponsor, amount of content needed and the pay rate. I was both surprised and not surprised to hear back that the only pay would be “exposure”. After nearly a decade of creating original content, I feel my time and work are worth being compensated, so apparently that took me out of the running right away. I’m ok with that, but it seemed like a great reminder that even the largest corporations are still looking- and assuming- to get free work from people they respect in their niche- even when they’re being paid additionally by a sponsor to create the content. That sort of situation really makes me sit up and think, so today we touched on topics like:

-When is doing work for free ok and when (and how) should you stop?
-How can content creators work together to protect their niches from people de-valuing their work/time?
-How nice is too nice?
-What are the next steps we can take as a creative community to ensure that we (women, in particular) feel confident enough to ask for what they want/deserve/need?

I’m particularly excited about an idea that came up at the very end of the show and hope to turn that into an actionable project this year. So if you have any feedback on that or requests, please feel free to contact me here or in the comment section below. Thanks so much to Lynn for joining me and to all of you for listening. xo, grace

LISTEN: You can download the podcast on iTunes here, or stream it here on Heritage Radio.

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  • Such a good topic, I plan on listening to this on my headphones while I work today.

    I swear. Are creative jobs the only ones where people think they can not pay you for your hard work? I once had a girl ask me to illustrate her children’s book. Same thing – she couldn’t pay me, but the “exposure!” I also love “it will be a great portfolio piece!” I’ve been a working designer/illustrator for a decade, I don’t need to take a job for a portfolio piece.

    Sometimes I want to ask people if they would go to a plastic surgeon, ask for a boob job and say,”I can’t pay you, but I will make sure a lot of people see your work!”

  • I feel like creatives get the worst deal where this is concerned. Try ask an Accountant or Doctor for a freebie. I also studied for years and run expensive software and equipment that needs paying for. The worst is doing work for friends of friends. It seems to be a “lose lose” all round. I try accommodate everyone, but this seldom works out well for me!

  • Hi Grace,
    LOVED this interview – thank you! Creative types being asked to work for free is a massive problem in Australia too.

    I thought you might get a laugh from this email conversation between an Aussie comedy writer and an agency that asked her to write for free. I’ve never seen a slam down like it – quite hilarious. And they ended up agreeing with her!


  • I remember you mentioning being asked to do something for free at one of your lunches and that the company called your agent to “tell”on you when you balked. Do the people who are asking you to do the work know who they are asking? What you have built? Would they tell Martha Stewart that she would get “good exposure” in exchange for the work she does?

    As a mother of two girls I agree that it is especially important to teach girls/women to ask for what they are worth, but I also think that in this time of the “internship” that it is very important to acknowledge what anyone is worth and compensate all people for the work that they do.

    Exposure, at the right time, can lead to success and financial gain, but it

  • I’m late to the conversation but loved listening to the podcast today (I love all the podcasts, thank you for doing them). This one in particular sent me here to comment.

    I have long followed a small craft blog whileshenaps.com and over the past few years Abby has been transitioning to making money from her blog and by selling products and patterns. She’s really open and straightforward about the money which I appreciate. The mostly female craft community seems to do and expect a lot of freebees. Abby recently started a podcast (also called While She Naps on iTunes) and her most recent episode was about blog montitization.

    Personally my blog is a hobby but I have contributed to other websites and recently a very small magazine and honestly I always expect to be paid and wouldn’t produce content for another source for free (except maybe Instructables because I love them). I am amazed how much folks will do for free and how much larger sites expect freebees. Thanks for addressing this issue.

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