Animators don’t like to work on spec. It’s a simple lesson that former basketball player Shaquille O’Neal is learning the hard way after he released a video asking animators to create animation with no guarantee of payment to promote his upcoming TNT and TBS docuseries Shaq Life.
The creative community has called foul on his “Shaqtoons” idea, with hundreds of animators and other artists in creative fields lambasting the concept.
In the video, O’Neal invited animators to produce entire short films about him in less than a month. He wrote that any shorts chosen for broadcast would then be paid $500. He also offered “exposure,” a common tactic used by people who ask artists to work for free. “That’s right animators, I’m going to make you famous,” O’Neal said in his pitch. (Ironically, the animator who created the animation for this pitch video was not credited.)