Print

Print


--- On Mon, 12/3/12, Matthew Merlo <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> What I find disgusting is the attitude that someone should
> pay upfront for someone of another skill to work with them.

Perhaps you've never worked with a contractor or vendor of any sort? It
could very well be the case that I've missed a key part of what you were
actually asking for. If you're looking for someone to partner with you in
creating this world, maybe writing stories from it or co-authoring a novel,
or doing some independent work within the shared-world -- then I certainly
agree that seeking payment for specific work is over the top, and I really
don't think anyone here would suggest such an arrangement. Naturally,
you'd have to work out an equitable arrangement for co-authored 
compensation vs. individually created works within the shared world.

But if you were looking for someone to work with you on making one or more
languages from within the world, but are not looking for any further
partnership, then I stand by what I've said already. It doesn't matter that
you've already done some work on the language(s) or that you have ideas or
plans for their overall shape -- many people looking for a language creator
do already have plans and ideas coming in to the marketplace! That's really
no different than buying a piece of marble and then asking a sculptor to
create a statue with it. You'd be providing raw material either way.

As for payment up front, I think it is certainly fair, upon contractual
agreement, for you to pay your contractor some percentage up front. 25% to
50% down and the rest due on completion is well within usual practice for
paying an artisan to craft something for you.

> The argument that "I'm putting my time and effort into this
> so I should get paid" is invalid because the person doing
> the asking is likely putting more time and effort into it.

This of course is rubbish, if I may be so bold. This is like saying to the
artisan: I want you to build a cabinet for me; I've already bought the wood
and have drawn some sketches and have cut a few pieces of wood -- so I
don't think you need to be paid for your work, because I've already put so
much effort into it. Yes sir, that's nonsense. Unless you are inviting the
artisan to live in your home, share in your life and take part in your
other activities, he has the right to fair payment for the work he does
for you, even if you've already "put [some] effort into it".

I certainly appreciate that you have put much thought and work into your
world -- but the fact remains that you are asking someone else to do some
work for you. As I said previously, there is absolutely nothing wrong with
either seeking a collaborative partnership or a contractor, depending on
your particular needs and desires. There is nothing "disgusting" at all 
about this, nor is it inappropriate for a prospective *contractor* to 
either seek monetary payment or to talk general terms of contract.

I could have missed something earlier in the discussion, but I don't 
recall seeing a *specific* mention one way or the other from you. I had 
gotten the impression that you were looking not for a full partner as it 
were, but rather someone to do certain pieces of work for you. If you
did and that's not the case, then I apologise for the misunderstanding. 

> To which the next point someone falls is "Yeah well I can do
> what you're doing" which the Artists claiming the writer has
> no skill and whatever skill said writer does have it can
> easily be matched by the artist as if drawing a picture
> automatically qualifies a person as a good writer. The
> entire world of creative people seems to be rife with mostly
> these types of people. 

Well, I haven't seen anyone insult you or your skills as of yet. (Nor have
I seen any of your skills in action, so comment in that regard either!) If 
this sort of thing happens in general, I can't really speak to that. As I 
said elsewhere, you have clearly stated that constructing languages is not 
your forte. I would take that as an admission of insufficient skill. And 
also as I said elsewhere, I (as a potential reader of your work) 
appreciate when the author knows his own skills well enough to know when 
to ask for help.

> I don't think it's wrong to ask for money in some cases, but
> I do think it is wrong to go in with the idea that every
> project should be paid or your not going to have anything to
> do with it.

Well, it's certainly not the case that we (conlangers, folks here on this
list) think that "every project should be paid", etc, etc. Nor has anyone
insisted that every project ought to be a paid endeavour. I honestly think
you have read far too much into what has been said! Either that or have
mistaken what others are saying. There is certainly plenty of room for
creative partnerships hereabouts, and many of us have participated in one
way or another in such arrangements.

> It's not unreasonable to ask in general as
> certain people seem to think, and it's not unreasonable to
> say that I have a project and need your help.

Not at all. No one ever said it was wrong to do this, that I can tell!

> If we work on
> it and it becomes something that we can make money from then
> good we make money from it, if not we're in the same boat.

Of course -- such partnerships are generally done for the pure enjoyment
of doing it. 

> Quite frankly the opposing view has always been silly at
> best to me.

Well, you're certainly welcome to the opinion! Though I'd really like you
to try it some time on a home contractor or any other skilled artisan and
see how far you get.

> A lot of creative types are broke so one
> demanding the other pay them, instead of them working
> together to possibly get paid more than either could
> separate and if it's a respectful relationship where both
> sides are contributing equally then it is even more
> ridiculous that one wants the other to pay.

Well, if you're broke, then you probably won't be able to afford the
services of a hired artisan -- conlanger or otherwise. Your options then
are to do it yourself or find someone willing to become a partner in your
creation. I don't know which might end up being more expensive, though...

One way, you lay out some money and the job's done and boughten. The other
way, you lose some amount of control and must share creative decision
making and risk letting the project get out of your control. Neither the
contractor nor the partner are your slave, but at least the one can be
fired if he isn't coming up with the goods.

> But, the main thing that I think money should be based on is
> more so what type of relationship there is between the two.

Well exactly. I don't think anyone's been saying anything different. It
could be that I've misunderstood your plan, but I certainly agree with the
above. If your relationship is some kind of artistic partnership then I
think considerations of money ought to be out. If the relationship is
one of contractor then clearly the issue of money for goods produced is 
central.

> If someone comes along and asks you for something done
> exactly like x, then that person should pay. That someone is
> not giving asking for an equal partnership but rather using
> your skill to do exactly what they want without input from
> you. 

True. This is rather how I've read several of your posts! You want someone
to create several conlangs for you!

> However if someone comes along and asks if you want to
> write a story together and they have the basic plot laid out
> with characters and their willing to change it based on your
> input and they have this idea for costuming, but nothing
> exact or or whatever they have their willing to listen to
> why this or that is better... at that point it becomes
> unfair for the artist to ask the writer for payment, but
> there is equal creative control.

Exactly so. This may become a more complicated arrangement, especially if
things go sour, but I largely agree. This is more of an arrangement between
two people who are sharing in some project they both love to work on!

> If I wanted the former I'd be willing to pay, even though I
> don't have the money, but I am asking the latter. 

Alright then! At last, a clear statement of intent. So throw out all
comments from me and everyone else that pertains to the former, then!

> And personally, I don't find much value in the former because
> people work better and care more about things they have a
> hand in and those things tend to come out better in the end.

That's your opinion. One thing you're not taking into account: we're not
unskilled laborers that simply do a job. We are skilled artisans whose
passion is the construction of languages, some of whom are offering those
skills to folks wanting them. Yes, they expect payment for the service,
but in the end, you will get an excellent product because your contractor
is someone whose passion is what he's doing!

> I have no interest in those who are the former even if I
> could pay such an amount. I'm not challenging the price tag,
> because I literally don't know from experience in this case,
> but I'm just not interested in the type of relationship that
> implies.

As I said before, that is certainly not a problem! I'm not sure why this
has ballooned into such a long and impassioned discussion, but I might
suggest in hind sight that you could have avoided it by making this
intention clearer at the outset!

And you later wrote:

> Let's say I randomly had money. However much I would need to hire 
> someone. How do you think it is that one would be able to adequately 
> judge a conlanger's/artlanger's skill 

If you go through LCS, for example, you would be working with experienced
conlangers who are competent to judge the work and skills of others, and
you'd also be able to choose from proposals offered by interested 
conlangers; you'd be able to discuss with the LCS any artistic as well as
contractual concerns.

It's not like just picking a random name out of a hat.

> and why do you think that regardless of that skill that it is worth 
> $1000.

Since the LCS started this service, that seems to be the average rate. Some
jobs pay higher (and may require much more work, travel, etc), other
jobs may be far simpler and pay far less.

> You claim it takes a long time, 

No one claimed that at all. Making a language is not something that can be
done *well* in a day or two; but it can generally be done well within a
couple months to six months, depending on the depth you would require.

> but clearly a simple language 

There's no such thing as a "simple language". There are such things as
"language sketches", which I did mention earlier, and those certainly
require less work and ought to command a lower rate of pay.

> could take a very short amount of time and for those who do not know 
> enough you could simply create something like a cypher from existing 
> language like someone suggested earlier and even showed earlier.

Indeed. I don't think any of us would do that, though. I would say that's
terribly unethical to fob off a cypher and charge money for it -- UNLESS 
that's what you as the project owner want.

> I know that artists for example all overprice everything they do 

You know, for all your carping about us, you yourself have some pretty
bold speech!

> because they think they're worth that because they have heard that's the 
> standard rate or what not.

Frankly, I think one thing IS becoming clear here. The more I read about
how you don't like us, as a group, and obviously don't trust us, and have
very strong, very disparageing opinions about us; the less I'd actually
want to either work for you in a contractual relationship or form any
kind of creative partnership with you!

> I can tell you that if I hired an artist for a comic it takes about 8 
> hours to draw each page and there are 20 pages in a comic, which comes 
> out to about 400 hours and depending on minimum wage ~$4000. 

Um. You're paying MINIMUM WAGE? I guess that's a pretty big red flag there!

> But that's the thing. not all artists take 8 hours to produce a page and 
> not all can produce it at the same level. Would you suggest that every 
> artist should be paid $4000 per 20 pages? 

Talking the way you do, sir, I'd suggest that you might find it difficult
to get anyone to do anything for or with you! You just have a negative
opinion about everything and everyone around here, and that's pretty bold
for someone so new around here and who has already admitted to lacking the
skills you're looking to borrow from others. At first I was rather 
sympathetic towards your situation -- but I think I've gotten to know you
well enough to just stay away entirely.

I know I can come across as rough and opinionated, and some people don't
like me for that, but for goodness sakes, if I need help from someone, I
don't knock on their door, insult them, tell them how to do what I want
done (but I can't be bothered to do it myself!), and you obviously charge
too much to do it but it's only worth minimum wage anyway, and all I really
want is for you to join my little world of happiness...

> Even if you say yes we then 
> have to modify the art situation to the conlang situation which is more
> like I could be hiring someone who can't draw anything but stick figures 
> and knows nothing of framing or panel layout. It could be that not only 
> is this person incredibly bad that it takes them double the time to 
> produce each page. And what's worse is that when it's all said and done 
> I'm not allowed to look at the pages, but rather i have to send them out 
> without ever looking at them. Do you still think that $4000 is fair?

Honestly, I don't think you'd be satisfied with anything, so maybe your
best option really will be to take Aesop's advice: when you want it done
right, do it your own damn self.

The rest is snipped. I don't know who you are, or who you think you are, or
why you think you're all that, but I've read enough to get a good gauge of
what sort of "partnership" anyone here would be in for, and I don't see
much gain -- either monetary or artistic -- to be had from an 
association with you. Sorry if I came across as insulting, but it seems as
if you are well able to dish it out, even if you don't take it too well!

Padraic