Sunday, November 6, 2011

pbeach's Work-For-Hire in the Real World.

. . . . .
Sometimes in life, we must make compromises.

As a career freelance creative, designer and illustrator, let it be said that I am categorically opposed to WORK-FOR-HIRE, in principle and in definition, across the board; that said, in practice… in real world scenarios and situations, in the daily freelance trenches trying desperately to support yourself and/or family and survive in a brutally competitive creative discipline… in an exponentially more brutal economy, compromises must be made and here is my best example:

For approx. 10 years, from 1985-1995 give or take I freelanced for Hasbro, illustrating instructional lineart for countless toy lines – Transformers, GI Joe, Playskool, Star Wars, Mr. Potato Head, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys to name just a fraction. They were my first, bona fide GREAT client and I love them to this day. Honestly, the Transformers literally built my studio… put me on the map as a freelancer and were responsible for me finding the courage to finally go full-time [along with a supportive and understanding wife]. During those years, I averaged 20k+/year with them alone [wow, where have THOSE years gone?!!!] - Hasbro helped in great part to support my family of two kids and all that goes along with it.

The illustrations, in the beginning, were pen&ink on mylar… yes indeed - [yikes!... though truth be told, I miss those golden days] … and later, were produced on the computer. Those familiar with the typical instruction booklet that comes with a Transformer toy know the type and style.

Point: I didn’t want to own the art… I could care less if I ever saw it again… I didn’t care if Hasbro owned the art - I was paid well, LOVED producing the material, LOVED working for them and man, they kept me afloat and alive during some tumultuous economic times.

… now… had I declined to sign Hasbro’s Work-For-Hire agreement, who knows if I would have ever survived in those early years or become a full-time freelancer at all.

Summary: as with anything in life, compromises are necessary - the line between convictions-in-theory and in convictions-in-practice is often unavoidably blurred.


[ a key portion of a poignant response to the above comes from Mr. Paul Burton, founder of the Professional Artists League: "The uphill battle boils down to creatives allowing this practice to continue by signing documents without understanding the consequences ... and, it’s an issue we all face as independent creative professionals at one point or another." ]

~ Peter Beach ;-) | LinkedIn

© Peter Beach / pbeach! - All Rights reserved under any and all U.S. and international copyright laws to which the work is subject.


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