Sunday, July 19, 2009

Other Photographer turns down a model who wants full editing rights

I wrote this in response to someone in the General Industry forum on Model Mayhem.

Depending on the model, I might sign like this (release where the model wants full editing rights, ie. she wants to be able to say yea or ney on whether any of the photos get published). If the model wasn't worth it, you did right by not agreeing. But I could think of situations where it might be worth the risk of the model nixing all your photos. In fact, you hear about this more and more with celebrities or models who know they have leverage with a photographer who really wants to get known. If I were a rising or established celebrity, I may be trying to control my "brand" and how I'm perceived in the media. The successful brand are the ones that are professionally and closely managed. Know what I mean. Your model friend may be trying to do the same. She may want to make sure none of your photos that get released have some expression or whatever that she does not want to make public.

I worked with a model once who asked me to not publish any of the photos that had her in profile. Everything else was OK, but she was really concerned with the ones that had her looking to the left and where we could see that her nose was a bit long. I complied because I respected that she was trying to create a persona and her profile expressed some things that didn't fit into that persona. I can respect that.

I encourage models to really think about what THEY want out of the model release, not just agree to my terms but really think about what they're saying and cross out the things they don't like and add in things they want. Then I read it and do the same.

Most of the time, models just skim it and sign the release.

Models, you DO have power here. You are 50% partner in the endeavor.

Negotiation is an art.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Kevin Kelly's 1000 True Fans: a Method to Success for Creatives?

This is about an older article from The Technium, but it's so good that I just have to talk about just how great it is. Kevin Kelly says people who make things should stop trying so hard to get a few wealthy patrons and also not count on trying to sell a gazillion cheap items. He says what creative people like us should be doing is looking for 1000 true fans. These 1000 true fans are people who are willing to spend a day's wage, once per year, to support your endeavors.

Graphic © Kevin Kelly

Kelly goes on to say that true fans are people who:
...will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can't wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.
I bolded one of his sentences above for a reason. You see, at first some might say that his theory is a pipe dream, and that it's actually quite difficult to get 1000 true fans. In fact, some people like John Scalzi have really pointed out some major obstacles and roadblocks to attaining this goal, and they have a pretty good argument, I have to admit.

However, as I mentioned, I bolded a line above about people watching items in eBay. This is because a young woman is doing exactly what Kevin Kelly talks about, and from what I can tell, she started doing it before Kelly even wrote his article.

Abbey Ryan paints small oil paintings once a day and puts them up on eBay where they are selling for $80 to $250 each. I don't know exactly how successful she is at making a living at doing these paintings, but she is actively engaged in what we're talking about here: getting true fans and she's generating a buzz, so it's definitely working for her in that respect (not to mention that her paintings are actually pretty cool as well). In fact, some of you are going to go to Ryan's site right now and be amazed at what she's doing. You're going to bookmark her page, blog about her, and maybe even jump on eBay... just like Kelly said. This is how it happens, folks.

Back to Kelly's article....

Kelly knows he's making it sound easy. He writes that it does take time and that it is hard. But isn't this exactly what it's all about if you make a living being creative? You work hard to appeal to your true fans. One cannot just take a photo or make a painting, frame it, and expect people to want to buy it. There has to be a reason, an appeal, an affinity, and all creatives have the tools available in this day and age to attain a steadily growing fanbase of supporters by building that affinity, but you have to use the tools and you can't stop. If you want this to be your living you have to make it your living and that means working hard to get those 1000 true fans, because they are out there!