The Forgotten Creative

Amongst a world full of guitars, bright lights and loud speakers are small, forgotten people scurrying around like mice that help to keep the industry ticking. These people are the forgotten creatives.

The forgotten creatives have been clearly, well, forgotten. Let me remind you who they are:
– Photographers
– Videographers
– Editors
– Camera operators
– Sound technicians
– Promoters
– Journalists
– Event organisers
– The guy who prints the t-shirts.
– Remember who designed your logo?

All these people have very little respect and almost no recognition. Yet the striking thing about it is that all of these people have worthy jobs, produce work that takes days and yet they earn little to no money, and the sad part is that people believe they should not be paid.

While these jobs can earn money and in some cases a healthy wage, the reality is that there are thousands of people doing these jobs and getting nothing in return. All they want is to be able to have one month go by and think “I can afford my rent this time.” The world recognises that it’s hard for musicians, actors and dancers to earn money because they’re in the spotlight, on stages and people are talking about it. No one starts a conversation saying “How is the promoter? Did anyone pay them?” Of course this is the guy who helped to advertise the event, getting people in the door and most importantly helping to get the artists name out there.

As a journalist, I would like to talk about some of the tasks involved in my job:
– Writing without the use of clichés and producing something worth reading.
– Research and fact checking.
– Photograph and picture sourcing including the appropriate credits.
– Liaising with PR companies (how are those guys getting on?) to arrange interviews. I don’t interview bands because “Oh, I want to meet the band!” No. I interview the band because I want to find out where their music came from, why they play a song in a particular way and which member wrote which part. Upon publishing, no one says “Great questions, they’re insightful.” Little to anyone’s knowledge who isn’t a journalist, those questions would have taken several hours to come up with and then you have to present them ensuring they are written in the right way.
– Transcribing an interview. Record half an hour of dialogue and then play it back and type it up. How long does this take you? Twenty minutes currently takes me about 5 hours if I don’t take a break.
– Responding to emails and promoting posts on social media.
– Remember that little money earnt from my basic day job? That then gets spent on the train ticket to a gig to review a performance. £50 spent, 2 days later and the piece is finished.

These are just some of the tasks required to be carried out by a music journalist. Time and money is spent and the journalist themselves is not paid or even recognised. They did all of that for you, for free. While it is expected of journalists to work for free to build a portfolio, it wouldn’t hurt to just say “good job.” It costs nothing, but means the world because they know they have been appreciated. Writers don’t want millions, or even thousands. They just want to write because they enjoy it and have most likely studied for years to be able to do it well. If they can do it while being able to afford their rent so they don’t live on the street, then that’s even better.

Freelancers have it even worse where they have to pitch stories to big publishers to find no one even responds to their email. Some get promised commissions, asked to write their piece and then at the last minute they don’t pay them and reject the piece as late as the day before publishing is due. Some journalists are told they’re terrible, abused and threatened with physical violence. All these people do is try and find the facts and present them in accessible ways to the world. Yes people screw up and make small mistakes, but they apologise for that and we are all humans. What was the last piece of information you incorrectly relayed?

The next time you perform or ask someone to do something for you, don’t attack them or make them feel worthless. Tell them they’re doing great and that you’re grateful because right now that is all they need.

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