Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Testimony I Had to Share

The writer of another fantastic props blog (Meredith Ries at Malaprops) is taking a break from professional work to go back to school. Before leaving the world of freelance she has written a fantastic call to arms for props masters

For me the essay served as a reminder of how unique my job is, and how hard it is (if you want a great rundown of what it is I do you should read it). The job is often thankless and there are no easy shows. She urges prop masters to recognize how valuable we are and to demand a fair wage. It's a reminder I need sometimes, especially after a recent conversation I had about a prospective job.

I was contacted by a friend about propping a show in August. I have worked with the company once before and found that they often have unrealistic expectations for their budget. I told the production manager that I was interested, but I would like to have a conversation with the director before signing a contract, to make sure that we were on the same page. I was proud of myself for standing up for myself and thinking before jumping into a project. Later, I found out that the director had gone around the production manager and recruited an actor to do the job because this actor would agree to do the job for 1/5th the pay. 

I was offended that someone I worked with had such a low opinion of my work that he believed anyone could do it. But I realize that I don't need to lower myself to the situation. In the end this company will likely get exactly what they pay for from an inexperienced person who doesn't have the skills and sources I do. If I were to take the job for less pay, this company would start expecting me to do good work for less pay. Instead, I'll find other work to do in August and trust that eventually this company will be burned by recruiting people who don't know what they are doing. When that happens they will come back to me and I will be able to ask the fair wage that I deserve.

1 comment:

  1. Jesse,
    Thanks for reading! Dont worry, Im only retiring from propping, not from ranting online. I love your blog -- it makes me miss Chi-town, my original home!