Elf's Treehouse -> Archives -> 2008 -> March

Back on My Feet

2008-03-12 08:26:11 - 3 comments    |     Archives

I've not only been quiet in this blog, but my photo stream hasn't been updated for a couple of weeks, I haven't been at work for a while and I've not done anything remotely creative or something that resembles work for almost two weeks. The day after the revue was over, I came down with the mother of all flues. I can't remember the last time I was that sick, except for the first weeks after my Crohn's operation in 2001.

I've been bed ridden since last Monday, and by Friday evening I also had double sided pneumonia, Saturday morning I got my aching body to the doctor and finally got some medicine. And it worked wonders. So yesterday I started to function again, and today I've actually been outside, taking in lunch with a very charming and pretty lady.

I still get very tired easily, and I take two hour naps in the afternoon. And going from be able to run 20 km with no problem, to having severe breathing problems when climbing the stairs from my apartment, is not something I'm happy about. This is going to take some time to get well from, and I've promised my doctor to take it easy for a while. I'm on sick leave through this week, and next week I'm taking Easter holiday. I'm not going to work until next Thursday and on Good Friday, and that will be mostly home from my living room doing the Easter watch for rbnett. But stay tuned, there are several blog postings coming in the next few days.

I Don't Work For Nothing

2008-03-18 15:28:27 - 0 comments    |     Archives

Today I turned down an offer from Leo Burnett in Detroit. They are among the biggest advertising agencies in the world. As some of you might know, in addition to my day job I work as a freelancer, mostly as a writer and photographer, but I also do a bit of music and acting. Last Friday a person at Leo Burnett wanted to use this image for one second in a national television ad for Pontiac in the US. I said yes, and told them that my minimum fee was $1000. I received a reply telling me that they were only ready to pay $300 for the image. This means that after taxes, and the fee to the model, I would have had about $100 left. For a photo that I spent a great deal of time on, that's nothing. In addition, that's way below the nominal fee which the industry standard fotoQuote sets for something like this. Not to mention that it's a tiny portion of the budget for such a commercial.

Before I turned them down, I posted on various message boards for photographers asking if they thought I was an idiot for saying no. After all, this is a huge agency, and maybe this could be my ticket in to something big. While a few people did claim that this was my ticket in, the majority said that this was a rip off, and that they saw more and more of it these days. Amateurs and semi professionals were given a ridiculously low price for their photos, because the big agencies hinted that this was a huge opportunity. But then you never hear from the agency again, because the next time the agency would be looking for another newbie to rip off.

Don't get me wrong. This is not an attempt to throw mud at Leo Burnett. I gave a price, they offered another one, I said no and they thanked me for my time and moved on. But it still isn't right. Let's say that one of the people working on the commercial was hurt during the making of it, and needed medical attention. Do you think Leo Burnett would say "We are prepared to pay you $100 for your work" to the doctor? No, the doctor would tell them to either pay them is standard fee, or sod off. Do you think an advertising agency can dictate the price for the carpenters they rent to create the props for the set? Why then should I think it's ok to practically give my work away? I expect to be paid for the job I do, just like everyone else is.

Today I received an email from the Norwegian Journalists Union, where they warned freelancers that Norway's biggest media house is currently offering contracts where they ask you to give away your right to being paid for repeated use of your photos. Also, several newspapers on the Norwegian west coast has started using contracts where they stipulate that they papers can distribute your photos freely among themselves, while you only get once. I wonder what NTB would say if any of these papers told them that from now on, only one of the papers would subscribe to NTBs services. The rest of the papers would then receive the stuff for free. The NTB lawyer's head would be going "kaching" for sure...

I don't like this development. And today I decided to take a stand against it. I've been playing nice guy for too long. No more.

I'll close with Harlan Ellisons wise words on this subject:

Online Elfquest Comics

2008-03-18 17:33:48 - 3 comments    |     Archives

BearclawOne of my favorite ongoing comics of all time, Elfquest, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. As part of this celebration, and also because at this time, Elfquest TPBs are going rapidly out of print and there are currently no plans for reprints, WaRP graphics are publishing the entire Elfqust series at their web site.

This is a unique opportunity to read one of the really great fantasy comics out there. Not only were they among the first independent self published comics. They were, in addition to making girls read comics and selling millions of TPBs, also publishing in a genre that wouldn't go mainstream until the late 90s and early 00s.

No matter who you talk to in the comics field, Elfquest and its creators are highly respected, and the series is often quoted in other works.

I especially remember this scene from Fantastic Four by John Byrne. I was at a soccer tournament in Trondheim, and my friend and I swapped comics one evening. He borrowed my issue #3 of Elfquest, and I borrowed his Fantastic Four. These two issues came out with years between them in the US, but by chance they happened to be published at the same time in Norway in 1985. My friend was flabbergasted that I noticed these things...

Anyway, take a step in to the free world of two moons. You won't regret it.

PS! While the Elfquest universe is by no means as complicated as the DC or Marvel Universes, following the timeline can be a good idea. Or just start with the very first issue and enjoy.

Old Heroes Still Rock

2008-03-23 16:01:44 - 1 comments    |     Archives

Jean-Michel Jarre has been in a dispute with his former record company, Disques Dreyfus, for the past five years. In the months after Xmas, Dreyfus has been doing raids against youtube, with the result that a lot of fan made videos where Jarre's music is used have been removed. This, despite the fact that they legally only can ask for music with Jarre's original recordings to be removed, because that's the only thing they have the rights to. If I make a cover tune, they really can't ask for it to be removed, but still they have done just this. And upsetting a lot of fans in the process.

Here is Jarre's reaction to the whole thing:

Is it any wonder he's still a hero of mine 25 years after discovering his music?

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