Pay Our Creatives!

Business in the creative industry

We are socialised to believe that success is only realised when we grow up to assume the roles of traditional jobs. Many can attest that the dream job for them as a child was to become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or any other traditional job you can think of. For the vast majority, it is never “When I grow up, I want to be a graphic designer, a photographer, a talent…” However, as time progresses, with the rise in technology, many occupations within the creative industry are becoming increasingly popular, acknowledged, and demanded. The circumstances of the pandemic especially have resulted in, what I would like to call a need for creatives.

One of the greatest challenges, however, is that our creatives are immensely overworked and underpaid, for the most part. I am able to speak with such conviction because I have experienced first-hand some of the challenges within the industry. It causes me to explore the various outcomes of some experiences I encounter from the perspectives of other creatives.

The Struggle is Real

Everyone tends to see the finished product but never the worn hands of the creative manufacturer. Being a creative, or a good one at least, requires that one pays keen attention to detail. It is important to understand the intricacies of striking that balance between providing quality work and satisfying the needs of your client. A challenge at the forefront of the industry is that many clients think they know how to do your work. It is crucial to satisfy your customers’ needs but they do not always know best considering creative decisions. Take for example a client who is ‘hard and fast’ about a graphic having gray text on a black background; a true creative understands that a request as such is counterproductive and dysfunctional. A stubborn client though would be adamant that this is what they want regardless of the advice of the creative.

The Price is Right

On top of the drawbacks that creatives encounter with strong clients, there is the expense of audacity. Clients who seek to hire creatives are generally very audacious when it comes to the moment of truth regarding pay. Many consumers underestimate the role of creatives in realizing the objectives of whatever projects they are assigned. People tend to want quality work but are not necessarily willing to pay quality money. The rhetoric of “Why is it so expensive? You can charge less.” is said ad nauseam within the creative industry. I think this is particularly owing to the fact that many people are not familiar with the manufacturing process to reach the finished product. Though the common practices within the creative industry are unconventional, resources are needed for optimal results. The cost for entry into the creative industry is extremely significant. Think about it this way, half a million Jamaican dollars is grossly insufficient for startup equipment for a videographer, for example, considering at minimum an appropriate camera, a drone, editing software, adequate cloud storage and lights. So, the next time you think of dissuading a creative from the proposed cost for his services, think that considering the expense of his resources, the price is right.  

The Process

            Like I said, people only see that beautiful billboard after it is designed, the final video from hundreds of takes or the final script for the show. What they do not see is the lack of inspiration to put meaning to art and how creatives have to dig deep to find it, or the hours expended to make a clean transition for a one-minute video or the multiple takes and sleepless nights, respectively. As a host, my community often sees the clips after they are edited but never the preparatory interviews to understand what my purpose is, or the script that sometimes requires several run-throughs or the several retakes for angles and many other elements. Many do not realize that a one-hour award show may have taken months or weeks to plan, record and execute. Creatives are tremendously important, and it is time we treat them as such. Without our creatives, life would be bland. There would be no beauty in the way our thoughts are displayed. There would be no logos for your businesses. There would be no sense to your advertisements. Creatives are the foundation on which all other businesses are built. They are the bearings of a machine, the frame of a car, the battery to a phone – things just will not work efficiently without them.

So, trust the process and value those who add value to our space. Pay our creative manufacturers.