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Free Failing

, | Working | September 13, 2015

(A friend of mine is unofficially connected to an independent comic and gaming group that produces some stuff online. The owner asks him to go look for more talent for writing the group’s games and such. He knew that I am also an independent author and game developer on the side and occasionally do writing commissions.)

Friend: “So maybe you’d be interested in doing some writing for their [Their Primary IP] roleplaying game?”

Me: “Yeah, I could do that. Would he be offering me royalties or a flat commission rate?”

Friend: “No, no, he can’t afford to give you money in payment.”

Me: “Ohhhkay. Well, I wouldn’t mind some art from [artist of their group] in exchange for my writing then.”

Friend: “No, unfortunately he won’t do an art exchange either. [Artist] needs to focus on other paid commissions so that they can pay for other stuff.”

Me: “So I’d be doing this purely for exposure and my name being on the project?”

Friend: “He doesn’t want your name on the project either.”

Me: *long pause*

Me: “He asked you to go out and “hire” people to do stuff absolutely for free? No compensation whatsoever? And they wouldn’t get to have any credit?”

Friend: “Yeah, I told him it wouldn’t work very well.”

Ugly By Design

, | Working | June 18, 2015

(We do design and printing for various bars and restaurants around town. I’ve only been working here for about a year. I’m assigned a job to create a ‘Now Open’ banner for a tropical-themed bar, but the sales rep has returned the job with vague changes.)

Me: “Hey, [Lead Designer], I don’t understand what these changes mean. Can you take a look?”

Lead: *looks at my design* “Oh, wow! That’s so pretty and presentable! It must not be ugly enough. Sales reps like things big and ugly.”

Me: “So… change it so the text is ugly and impossibly big and crowds out the logos and background?”

Lead: “Yeah, that should do it.”

(I make the text so ridiculously huge and cramped you can’t even tell what it’s for anymore. I submit the job and the sales rep approves it.)

Me: “…”

A Very Badly Written Plan

, | Working | April 3, 2015

(A friend of mine is also close friends with some people that do web-comics and develop their own card and computer games. They’ve asked him to see if he can find them someone to help out with a project.)

Friend: “So [Content Creator] wants to see if he can find writers to help him out with this project for [Their Universe].”

Me: “Really? That would be cool. I always enjoy their stories and the exposure could be good.”

Friend: “Oh, they don’t want anybody else’s name on the project.”

Me: “Okay, I’d have to hear more about the project before I can settle on some ghost-writing fees.”

Friend: “They don’t want to pay up front either.”

Me: “Royalties for such a small group as there’s are a little bit iffy.”

Friend: “He won’t pay any royalties at all either.”

Me: “So, he won’t pay a fee, he won’t give royalties, and he won’t give credit?”

Friend: “Yeeeah.”

Me: “Okay, how about a trade of services? Their art style isn’t really my favorite, but I’m sure I can find something they could do for me in return.”

Friend: “He’s not doing art trades either.”

Me: “How does he plan to pay for the services?”

Friend: “He actually refuses to pay for anything. He just wants me to find him some writers to help out with his project.”

Me: “…for free? He wants me, or someone else, to take time away from our own projects and just help him for no compensation what-so-ever?”

Friend: “Yeah.”

Me: “…”

Friend: “I’ve tried to tell him it’s a stupid policy, but he won’t listen.”

(Needless to say, I did not do the work for the guy.)

Armless Is Harmless

| Right | February 20, 2015

(I work as a freelance airbrush face painter. I’m at an event when two small children and their mother come up. The mother’s attention is elsewhere while I talk to her kids.)

Me: “Hey there! What design would you like?”

Girl: *pointing out which design* “…and can I have it on my arm?”

Me: “Sure!”

(I put the design on her arm, and her brother comes up next, wanting his design on his arm as well. I hear this exchange as they leave.)

Mother: “Both of you got designs on your arms instead of your faces? Man, I got some boring-a** kids.”

He Could Also Do With Less Hot Air

| Right | February 18, 2015

(I am working as a balloon artist and have a very long line. The balloons I ordered for this event weren’t in on time, so I have to buy some balloons of poor-quality at a craft store. Due to the heat of the day, the balloons are popping frequently, and I am getting super frustrated.)

Me: *to the next kid in line, who already has at least three balloons* “And what would you like?”

Kid: “A blue sword!”

Me: “All right!”

(Being one of my quicker patterns, I quickly pump it up and make it. When I give it the final twist, it pops.)

Me: “Oh, shoot, sorry about that!”

(I pump up another balloon, which again pops. At this point the kid’s dad has come over.)

Kid’s Dad: “You’re putting too much air in the balloon.”

Me: *trying to smile* “Oh, it’s not that. I’ve recently switched balloon brands, and these don’t like the sun as much.”

(The third balloon again pops, which rarely happens.)

Me: “Shoot, sorry about that! Third time’s the charm, right?”

Kid’s Dad: “No, seriously. You’ve got to put less air in it, otherwise it will pop.”

Me: “Oh, okay.”

(Having done balloons since I was 10, and having made hundreds of swords, I of course already know this. I make the balloon, with just as much air as usual, and it doesn’t pop.)

Me: “There you are!”

(The kid grabs it without saying thanks.)

Kid’s Dad: “See? I told you.”

(The dad walked away, also without saying thanks.)