Dex slipped out of bed quietly, trying not to wake
Nursey. It was early, too early for a
day when they had no morning skate, and he had no classes until 11am, but Dex
didn’t want to be late for work. He
needed all the money he could get, both for himself, and to send whatever he
could home to his dad and brother.
“Will?” Nursey mumbled sleepily from his bunk, “What time
“6am Dere, go back to sleep.” Dex whispered as he began
heading for the bathroom.
“I thought skate was cancelled?” Nursey asked, sitting up in
Title:Safe And Sound Chapter: 10/15 Pairing: Eventual Michael/Reader Rating: PG-13 for the series Word Count: 6,678 Summary: Six months ago, your life was turned upside down when you won a recording contract on a singing contest reality show. It’s been a blur since then, and things were looking up for you, but people were starting to cross the line with you, putting your safety in danger. At the urging of your label, your manager found you a bodyguard that you could connect with, someone who would be a friend on the lonely nights of traveling. However, instead of getting the bodyguard that oozed masculinity, you got Michael. A/N: Would you look at that, I’ve actually finished it! We’re winding down to the last chapters, and that means you’ll finally see the end. I have it queued up to post on Fridays, once a week until it’s done!
Recently I had an interaction with someone who wanted to hire me to make a comic that really took me aback. I’m going to analyze how things escalated, and some of the red flags along the way, with the hope that perhaps you too can steer clear of these kinds of potentially awful situations.
So the story goes…
He first contacted me on Tuesday, Nov. 29th, spoke on the phone to arrange a meeting. At this point, I only have a rough idea of what the project is. Something along the lines of making a comic to go alongside the release of a metal music album in Summer 2017. Sounds interesting! No budget has been spoken about yet, however.
I mentioned I would be in Toronto the next day, but time would be tight. I tried to make a meeting happen, but time wouldn’t allow for it. We both agreed to reschedule.
Realizing that I would have to make a separate trip in to meet with them on my own time, I emailed them for more details. This way I could have a better feeling of whether it would be worth taking a half day off work to travel to Toronto to chat, it went as follows:
I just wanted to chat about the logistics before I head to Toronto because if I come down next week it will just be solely to meet you, rather than as part of a bunch of Toronto errands like this past Wednesday. In light of this I’d just like to confirm some details:
-how many pages will the comic be? -cover and back cover I assume? -any intermediary pages? Like ‘introducing’, or info about your band? Just give me a full scope of the project basically -black and white or colour? -what styles of art would you like to shoot for? Aka, what is the artistic 'aesthetic’ of your band? -timelime, you provided some info but let’s hammer down some specifics -budget, how much would you ideally like to keep this between? Giving me a range is okay if you’re not sure. I’ll give you a more accurate quote one way or another of the costs of the work when I have more details about what exactly you’re looking for, so the more accurate you are, the better. I always do my best to estimate how many hours I expect the work to take me, and usually I’m very close.
This will gets the pot boiling for now. Looking forward to hearing back. Cheers! Garth
He then gave me some nice details, the best he could without his partner Dan to help fill in the blanks. 30 pages, colour, front and back cover, maybe some pages in between. Fairly substantial! Was looking forward to it, until we got to the question of the budget.
This was his response:
I don’t want set a budget limit for this right now because I feel like it could interfere with what you think is your best you can do for this project. I would like to know what you think so far based on where we are at after these questions. We want someone’s best work and after seeing some of your stuff, I think you can make a Comic book for this album that will be classic.
This is where my initial red flags began to go up. Most notable from the bold and italicized font above. The rest isn’t too bad, other than being vague.
Let it be known, that having a ballpark budget (even if it changes) should never ‘interfere with what you think is your best you can do for the project’. Also notice how this keeps the onus on the artist as having to do their ‘best that they can do’ while not mentioning how their best will be compensated.
This irked me a bit, so I emailed back hoping to clarify that part, and also adding why I needed at least some indication:
This description regarding a budget question gives me a healthy level of skepticism of whether there is a budget for this. I want to just be able to trust you guys as it sounds like an awesome project to me, but trust alone doesn’t, and hasn’t always worked for me.
The reason I need to at least have some indication of what you’d like to put towards this is so I can know whether making a trip to Toronto is worth it financially, because that’s basically a half day off my other freelance contracts right now.
So with what I know from you in regards to the detail and quantity of pages, I will send you a quote tomorrow with my general (and it will be pretty general) range.
Be in touch soon.
I thought this was pretty fair, but would love to hear from you if you feel otherwise. However, this is when things went sour. Here is his response:
Hello Garth, I could feel your skepticism before the last email. Don’t let assumptions get the best of you. What I meant by your highlighted phrase “I would like to know what you think so far based on where we are at after these questions.” is that we want to know what you can do for what price. I’m not going to throw out a random number and say this is what we’ll pay you. I want to know what you can do for what price and what quality we will be getting. It is not a question of money. It is just realistic business on our end too. We discuss what the project entails, you give us a quote based on what you think it will cost for your time and talent, and we make a deal or not. I think that is a fair way to do business. I am a freelance worker also. I build concerts at the Rogers Center, Molson Amphitheatre, all the festivals in the City since 2009.I have many connections and colleagues in the Concert world. I also know how to make a great rock'n'roll concert and have worked for all of my favourite bands. Dan was a private student of multiple gold and platinum record producer Andrew Shepps, who produced hits by Adele, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica. You could call him a mentor as they still keep in touch. We are both up and coming professionals on both fronts of the music industry Just so you know that we are not fucking around.
Several things I’d like to point out here that, in my opinion, are badly handled:
First red flag, from the first bold segment on ‘not throwing out a random number’, I didn’t actually ask for this, I asked ‘how much would you ideally like to keep this between? Giving me a range is okay if you’re not sure’ and then said that I’d give him a quote after.
Second red flag: “It is not a question of money. It is just realistic business on our end too”. To me, this sounds like he is purposely avoiding the topic of the cost of the project.
One reasonable part is the next bold part, that says: “you give us a quote based on what you think it will cost for your time and talent, and we make a deal or not. I think that is a fair way to do business.” is definitely one of the more reasonable in this, however, I was already in agreement with this, but wanted to feel out if they were as serious about this project as he says they are.
Third red flag is the entire second paragraph, which feels like an over dramatic inflation of self. Making them appear much larger is a common trick, that often leads to the ‘we’ll pay you in exposure’ that so many others promise, and moreover, contributes to my bullshit detector going off about the whole thing. The last sentence is especially promising, with the ‘we are not fucking around’. Dramatic antics ahoy. If you want to prove you’re not fucking around, then give me a reason to believe that taking a half-day off my other work is worth it.
Would a lawyer come and meet you for an initial consultation in your separate city for free?
Soon after the last email was sent, I received several texts, which I’ll respond to individually below:
“Hello Garth, I’ve talked to Dan this morning and we don’t want to do business with you. You’ve missed the first meeting and you are too skeptical”
The immediate back-out leaves my bullshit detector ringing off the handle, and it’s doubled by saying that ‘I am to skeptical’ for asking for a budget. I love the guilt-inducing ‘you’ve missed the first meeting’ when I’d mentioned from the outset that I may not be able to fit it in to my Toronto visit which was already fairly full, and it was understood and resolved from both ends immediately.
The second text:
“We don’t want to waste more time on someone we can’t count on. So for that reason we are going to find another artist.”
So far, the ‘wasted time’ he refers to is a couple emails and a handful of texts. I’m clearly the anchor that is holding the ship back.
A third, unnecessary but hilariously welcome, text to cap it off:
“My advice next time you get an opportunity like this is to have a proper business meeting and have some interest in hearing the music.”
The interesting thing here is that he didn’t actually give me a chance to send him my quote. This feels similar to the all-too-familiar client that tries to get the artist behind their project to the point that they’re the one carrying the flag.
I get that having an artist personally invested in your product or service is a benefit to their ability in bringing their best work to the table, but do you know what’s even better? A demonstration of your sincerity through your investment in the product you want to be have created, so that the artist can bring their best work to the table.
If you want to work with an artist, graphic designer, illustrator, or any other artist, please respect their time as you would any other profession, and don’t be disappointed if they’re not on the front of the ship with you and the rest of the team who are steering it if you’re not prepared to act reasonably on the business end of it.
Friendly reminder: in a world that a) wants you to not be Jewish (or kill you for being Jewish) and b) defines your worth by your productivity, taking the day off of work to go to shul on Rosh Hashanah, if you are able to, can be a radical act.
Or, Miss Willow Pines has one hell of a dream. Thank you so much to @marypsue for all the help!!!
Everything around her was grey. The waving grass, the sky,
the small copse of pine trees (and single apple tree) in the distance, the
carpet she was laying on over the ground, the sun and butterflies… everything
was blessedly drained of color, and she existed only in a world of shades and
It felt like a balm upon her soul, and Willow felt herself
begin to relax at last.
Ever since Uncle Dipper had saved her life when she had
Auriga, her Sight had begun to grow stronger with each passing day. Stronger
and- she ground the heels of her palms into her eyes- harder to control. Every
day it took longer and longer for her to construct the mental shields that kept
the majority of others’ auras out of her head.
Every day those shields seemed to crack and break easier and
easier, no matter what she and Uncle Dipper did.
She curled up into as small as a ball as she could on her
blanket. Here she was no one’s mother, no one’s daughter, no one’s sister, no
one’s niece. No one’s protector. Here she was only Willow, and here she could
freak out as much as she liked about the slow dissolution of her way of life.
She tried to focus on the designs woven into the rug, how they sharpened in
detail near her body and faded away as they went to the edge.
(how it was growing harder and harder to hold on to her
self, her being, harder to keep herself being washed away by the people around
Willow wasn’t usually one to wallow in self pity but a tear
trickled out of the corner of her eye. Uncle Dipper had no idea what to do, no
matter how much he lied to her that he was sure he’d come up with something.
She wasn’t scared of death but the destruction of her mind, of everything that
made her her-
“Oi, what’re you doing laying on that rug? That thing could
be filthy for all you know.”
[The gala was in full swing when Lucius arrived; he was grievously late, but he wasn’t worried in the slightest about it. It was a low-level event, nothing worth charging through the night and taking off work early for, especially with all the department members that had recently been let go following the low-level (even lower level than the status of the party’s hosts, but paramount to him, nonetheless) incidence of forgery.
The foyer of the gallery was lit brightly in a golden hue but was all-but deserted by this time; the guests had long since gone through to the main room, and the sounds of gentle music and conversation were floating up toward the main doors as Lucius entered, taking the steps two at a time and looking around once he was inside. His gaze rested steadily on the main doors of the party, arching his neck just slightly to see if he could catch sight of Narcissa inside…but then his eye was caught by something more pressing in the exact moment. A flash of another’s blonde hair to his right, and soon he was turning to face Clara, familiar smug expression on his face that came along with his plans (seemingly) coming together.]
I’ll ignore that you’re late if you ignore that I’m later.