"Do What You Love. Love What You Do" is definitely a mantra that I have been guilty of saying to myself several times in my life. In the article, it cautions that this particular mantra may be devaluing how we see work by allowing individual’s services to become merely expected and gives license to ignore acceptable compensation (i.e. money) in exchange for them.
Being in the film industry, many of us are trying to grasp at the total-film experience by simply ignoring that working in film is indeed work. Sometimes, I have to bite my tongue when I hear someone exclaim “passion project,” because I know this generally means that there will be no money involved. This mantra seems to work in at least two ways that I’ve personally observed. Often you’ll see those in the industry who are enduring long hours and no pay as side effects of “Doing What You Love.” Or, there are also those who use this mantra to get the extra mile out of their crew while hoping that they’ll be okay with compensation “if we get the money” or at least with a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches.
I believe many people have been on both sides of the fence, especially when it comes to your own projects. I certainly know that I’ve been in both camps. It is incredibly hard to make something that one is proud of within the very limited means that we’re all dealing with and not be forced to cut corners.
This paragraph from the article has helped to put a few things in perspective.
No one is arguing that enjoyable work should be less so. But emotionally satisfying work is still work, and acknowledging it as such doesn’t undermine it in any way. Refusing to acknowledge it, on the other hand, opens the door to exploitation and harms all workers.
For me, I would like to go forward by assuming that someone should always be paid in some kind of way regardless of what level you see yourself at: indie, no-budget, student, etc. How much and the terms should be fairly assessed and discussed between you and the person working for you. Above all else, any disagreements on value should no longer be brushed aside by simply doing it for the love of the craft. And for me personally, to treat what I’m doing as a business that should be subject giving those who work for me the respect they deserve.
**Any moments of hypocrisy are now fair game to my being openly mocked for not sticking to my own personal epiphanies.**