Monday, May 1, 2017

A Proper May Day Tale of Exploited Labor

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Last week, I got word that a TV campaign I had worked on was greeted with great enthusiasm by the client. Not just one of campaigns, but all of them. And that our collective favorite was in the frontrunner position.

Holy shit, this 44 year old might get something produced.

Of course, that euphoria was short lived. You know, like when you "accidentally" take one extra spoonful of industrial-grade cough medicine.

In my constant effort to keep the freelance train humming, I ran across a help wanted posting on linkedin. A small agency in NY was looking for freelance writers for a last minute pitch. More specifically, they were looking for writers with an interest in football. Not real football, with helmets, shoulder pads, steroids and convicted domestic abusers, but European football, aka, soccer.

I know as much about as soccer as a I know about English Royalty, Russian Literature and Greek Mythology, all loser categories for me when they pop up on Jeopardy.

I self-eliminated, knowing there would be a thousand freelancers in NY ready to feast on that carcass.

I'm glad I did. I heard through the grapevine that the small digital agency doing the hiring had some unconventional thoughts on compensation.

According to my unnamed source, the writers were free to submit as many ideas -- in the form of a one page treatment -- to the Creative Director. He or she would then cull down the pile, paying, are you ready for this, $100 for each accepted submission. That's right, a whole C-Note. (minus the obligatory federal tax deductions needed to pay for Precedent Shitgibbon's weekly Mar A Lago jamboree.)

Pretty enticing, huh? Well, it gets better.

Because should the client decide to move forward with one of the hundred dollar game changing ideas, this small clueless digital agency was willing to pay an extra five Ben Franklins where that came from.

In the course of a week, the industrious and imaginative NYC copywriter could conceivably walk away with a windfall of $600, $700, maybe even $800, in return for setting a worldwide manufacturing of sporting goods on the path to marketing prosperity.

All in all a shameful, disgusting microcosm of where this business is headed.

I began this post with a quote from Charles Dickens.

I'd like to end it with a music video by Terence Howard and Taraji P. Henson.

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