Apparently, creatives are terrible at business, well how can they not be, imagine creating something purely for the passion of it, with the thought of money far from your mind… But of course one has to eat and you cant eat adoration….
Capitalism will come through and squeeze from creatives until what was once a labour of love becomes a tedious task.. I have seen this, I have done this, the soul killing work of churning out content for money to the highest bidder…
In Zimbabwe I have also witnessed creatives such as musicians and artists who were household names while we growing up, reduced to paupers who could barely afford to take care of themselves, let alone bury themselves when they died, leaving that to the mercy of well-wishers and fans… What happened to all that money they seemed to be raking in..
“Most of our departed colleagues died literally impoverished,” says Albert Nyathi who was then chairman of the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association in a 2011 Herald interview on how Poverty Stalks Musician’s Families and a decade later this still holds true..
Some say this is from poor management and failing to plan for the rainy days when the fame can no longer put food on the table. But there’s also exploitative practises by organisations which will claim to be promoting creatives yet looking at the fine print of the contract, you’ll see the tentacles..
A local brand had to do some firefighting after a leaked copy of their contract agreement (pictured above) went viral on Social Media….
I hope the new contracts are more balanced. I don’t think I would have signed the contract above, I have learnt not to sign contractual agreements without fully understanding what I am getting myself into. Sure thing, I might not have a head for business but I wont be rash about some things. My banker once told me to leave the financials to a professional and work on simply being a creative and let him do his job. In the same vein get a lawyer to look over your contracts if you can.
And dear creative remember to take care of yourself, balance your earnings, pay yourself, save money to treat yourself, take yourself out. The internet has free resources such as Calculator.me which has a family of easy to use online tools like the Budget Planner which can help you breakdown your budget, work on savings plan. There’s even an interesting tool that you can use to forecast your Lifetime Earnings and see that given current earnings at what age should you retire, it was a very sobering exercise for me.
UNESCO declared 2021 International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development .. and the world needs to start treating creatives better… before you contact a fellow creative to do something for you, ask yourself, do you fully appreciate the work that goes into the creative process and are you paying enough or at all. Don’t just say oh I would love to read your review or thoughts on this…
Also yeah, the pandemic has affected us in different ways, some have thrived and had time to be more creative and others need physical audiences. Imagine being a spoken word poet used to feeding off the energy in a room, now your audience is just names on lil faces in lil boxes on the screen and you cant tell how they are really receiving your performance. Sure they can tell you its great, but was it really..
I have typed LOL when I wasn’t even laughing, not out loud, certainly not even at all..
Here’s to creatives, may we see them, may we hear them, may we be them and may we pay them…