Monday, April 2, 2012

Why does art cost so much?

More and more I get people who want me to do something for them, their business,etc, then get some kind of sticker shock at the cost. Want to know why it costs so much? Because it's like any skilled labor. I have a skill. You need it. I work in the fields of entertainment, music, games, movies and advertisement, which are multi-billion dollar organizations. What I do helps you or your business to make money. It takes money to make money, and I also have expenses to pay. Forget about a roof over my head or eating, let's just look at the costs to create your work for you:
1. A computer- I don't just walk into a local retail chain and buy some off the shelf brand computer.I need specialized equipment with a lot of power and RAM. Those aren't cheap. Neither are the monitors, although prices have come down, again, I don't just use whatever monitor you're using to check your facebook or play solitaire.
2. Software- Have you ever thought to buy image editing software? A copy of Adobe CS suite costs around $900, and it upgrades every single year. A copy of 3D creation\animation software costs about $4000, and again, it needs to be upgraded all the time.
3. Education- like many specialized fields I went to college, earned a degree, and got work right out of school. It was a private art school, and while you think we were probably just spray painting gold paint onto macaroni shells, we were learning how to market products, create opening titles for movies, visual effects, etc. And like all professional colleges, it was very competitive and not cheap.
I've had people come to me with the most ridiculous requests: Create this and we'll pay you if the client uses it. Work on our game and we'll pay you once it ships. Make a short animated film for less than minimum wage. I don't get it. What do you think we do? Not eat? If you can do it, do it. If not, pay me what I'm worth. Not sure about the rates? Do some research. You're going to be very surprised. You'd rather outsource? Go for it. Have fun understanding that "English", just don't expect those rates from me, because I'm not that kind of "Indian".