advice on working for free?

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aoi_tori
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advice on working for free?

Post by aoi_tori » Tue Aug 21, 2007 11:54 am

My friend is currently developing a children's book for her tutoring curriculum, and she asked me if I'd be interested in creating a character for her class and book series (ala Doraemon). I'm thrilled to have such an opportunity, and even though she has brought up compensation matter, I have pretty much decided to do it for free, since A) she's a good friend and B) I'm not a professional illustrator (I have a full-time day job). However, I would like to know if there're things I should be aware of in taking the job, which may later turn into a bigger, more time-consuming project. Should I ask to retain the copyright of my work? Is working for free a bad idea, considering the amount of work it may require down the line? I've never done any freelance illustration work so I have no idea how that works. Any advice would be appreciated!

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Scott Hallett
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Post by Scott Hallett » Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:01 pm

Being new to all of this myself, I wouldn't take my advice as gospel, but some things to consider: It never hurts to retain the copyright to characters whenever possible. Things happen, friendships go sour etc. The other possibility is that the book could generate some sort of monetary interest if it's well done. Without some sort of rights, you would be no longer entitled to that. I know it sounds harsh because you're working with friends, but it's not an unrealistic request. Hope that helps.

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rohwer
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Post by rohwer » Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:09 pm

I am in the same boat right now. I am working part-time for a gaming company that has yet to find any investors, that means that I am working for free right now. This is what I have done:

A) I have a copyright on all the concept work that I do.
B) I have a partial copyright on any work that is derived from my ideas (this is a sticky one, my boss has to agree and so do I).
C) I limit the amount of work I am willing to do for them without getting paid (I only work about three hours a week).
D) Anything beyond my "normal" workweek, I am paid (food + $10/ hr).
E) I have options to be part of the creative team if and when the company goes live.

This has worked well for me so far. Hopefully it helps you too.

-Rohwer

aoi_tori
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Post by aoi_tori » Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:53 am

Cool, thank you, both of you...that helps a lot. One more question for you though, rohwer. Do you have a written contract when it comes to your copyrights or is spoken agreement just as good?

Now I just need to concentrate on coming up with a good design. :)

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rohwer
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Post by rohwer » Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:13 pm

Most of it is in writing. My brother is a lawyer and my boss works for and intellectual property law firm, so I am lucky that I have not needed to go looking for this stuff myself. As far as the shared copyrights, those are mostly verbal contracts, I only have one of those in writing even though I should have six. It is a point of contention between my boss and I, he thinks I don't trust him, but I just want my butt covered in case he sell the company or something like that.

-Rohwer

aoi_tori
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Post by aoi_tori » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:27 am

Thanks again, that was very helpful! I'll keep that in mind as I move along w/ the project.

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jshamblin
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Post by jshamblin » Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:22 pm

I think if you are having any doubts about working for free, then don't do it. You'll only regret it later, especially if some good should come to them from it and you're not included. Free art is a gift and gifts shouldn't come with any attachments.
Image

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neil
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Post by neil » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:02 am

jshamblin wrote:I think if you are having any doubts about working for free, then don't do it. You'll only regret it later, especially if some good should come to them from it and you're not included. Free art is a gift and gifts shouldn't come with any attachments.
Sage advice.

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