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Artist Rights

Stephen Silver: “Stop Working For Free!”

Character designer Stephen Silver is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore. Silver, who is the designer of shows like Kim Possible and Danny Phantom, posted an impassioned YouTube video a few days ago urging young artists not to give their work away for free.

Silver’s message is simple but priceless: if you don’t respect your own creative skills, others won’t either. This has always been a difficult idea for creative people to grasp—myself included—because we enjoy what we do for a living. Most young artists don’t enter the animation field because they want to become rich; they do it because they love the art form. But not everyone shares that idealism. Businesspeople and corporations are in it purely for the money, and they will gladly not pay you what you’re worth if it enhances their bottom line.

Almost every creative person eventually comes around to the concept that Silver is advocating in his video. The sooner you do it in your career, the better off you will be.