I’m adding a new category to this blog. I’ve been meaning to do it for ages. It is for assholes advertising for unpaid “interns” to do creative work for free.
I’m not talking about people hiring “interns” at $10 or $15 an hour. Most of these are real, entry-level jobs. But there are a bunch of asshats out there, and they ask in their ads for things like “15 years web experience” (chuckle chuckle), or Creative Suite “pros,” then go on to say, “well, we can’t pay you, but this is a great portfolio-building opportunity.”
I’m hoping to post some of the most egregious “intern” requests regularly, as I continue to scour the Internets for paying work. Some recent examples should suffice to get us started:
Graphic Design / Web Intern (East Village)
Date: 2009-12-05, 11:49AM EST
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Television producer looking for a graphic designer with HTML / CSS skills for a really fun project. This project is pitch & pilot for a comedy series for adults featuring puppets for the [adult swim] type crowd. The first four shorts are currently in post-production and will be pitched to networks and branded entertainment partners and be submitted to festivals.
I need someone to create web graphics from existing footage, logo design and web page design. The ideal candidate is comfortable with HTML and CSS and able to prep, slice and post. There are also graphic design needs for the first batch of shorts including title treatments, designing cutaways to computer screens with fake websites, as well as some background design as the footage is shot on green screen.
This is a great opportunity to for the right candidate who wants to gain exposure in the entertainment field. Credit will be given on the website.
Please reply with a link to your portfolio website.
- Compensation: Unpaid Internship, Credit will be given
- Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
- Please, no phone calls about this job!
Wow. This person has actually confused college “credit” with getting a “credit” on his yet-to-exist website. Let me go spend the next six months working on this hot project, eh?
Creative Intern Needed (Chelsea)
Date: 2009-12-04, 5:25PM EST
Reply to: email@example.com [Errors when replying to ads?]
Headquartered in New York with offices in Cincinnati, San Francisco, Chicago, and Toronto, ‘mktg’ is among the leading marketing and sales promotion companies in North America. ‘mktg’s platform of core competencies and promotional expertise is supported by US Concepts. With a broad list of blue chip clients across a range of categories and distribution channels, ‘mktg’ is nationally recognized as a best-in-class competitor.…Job Description:
Work closely with the Art Director and Traffic Manager of a very busy event marketing agency with well-known clients.
You will assist the CD in print design layout, illustrations / renderings of events as well as on-going production responsibilities. The right candidate will be creative and detail oriented and will possess a strong work ethic.
You must be a Mac lover, and be completely proficient using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Basic knowledge of PowerPoint, Indesign, Excel and Word is beneficial.
Some of the responsibilities include:
• Layout of print collateral, such as invitations, ads, program books, POS, collateral materials, event renderings.
• Preparing files for printing (In-depth knowledge of printing procedures and requirements is mandatory)
• Proofreading including possessing excellent grammatical skills
• Researching online photo banks and downloading photography
• Taking direction from Creative Director while working well independently
• Juggling multiple jobs at one time and meeting tight deadline
● Preferably has or is currently pursuing an Undergraduate or Graduate degree
● Must be proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet
• 1 unpaid internship
Location: New York, NY
Compensation: Unpaid and/or College Credit
Yeah. Sounds like an “intern” to me, eh? One of the “leading marketing and sales promotion companies in North America” needs to have its marketing collateral created by some schmuck for free? I can’t wait!
Fortunately, some folks are starting to get equally pissed off about this, and there is a bit of a Cragislist backlash brewing:
Artist Strike (NYC)
Date: 2009-12-05, 4:32PM EST
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Artists, Illustrators, Photogs, Graphic designers…I’m posting this to pledge allegiance with all of you. Do not work for free – and more – avoid working for exaggerated low rates or so called internships. If you are a student, there should be more than enough resources at your school to present internship possibilities.
If you have an interest in a project that can’t pay you right away – suggest to the poster that you may be interested in signing on as an equity partner. Meaning you are going into a business arrangement with them that can benefit you somewhere down the line.
If you are really itching to get some new work out there, try a collaboration with some other creative working in a complimentary form – graphics people need photographers, illustrators need zine or small press publishers, etc…
So often I see posters asking for interns, and then go on to offer a JOB description in the body of the post. Legally an internship is supposed to benefit the intern in her or his area of interest. For the business owner, this creates a highly qualified candidate for their particular business. That’s the way it was done for hundred of years, and it works.
Contrary to popular belief, art, expression, and creativity are extremely important. This people that belittle your work with comments like: ” if you are good with ( insert medium here ), it shouldn’t take much time!” Are fucking dreamers, to be frank. If their business is legit and really going places, paying for distinctive quality work will not be a problem, trust.
Best of luck to you all, and hello to the other art and craftspeople posting below me!
Date: 2009-12-06, 10:42PM EST
Reply to: email@example.com [Errors when replying to ads?]
Its remarkable, how artists are perceived as these childlike, carefree souls; free of financial obligations, willing to take any project for free in the hopes that one day we might actually be tossed a bone or two for doing what we live to do, creating art; which apparently has no real world value. Artists apparently inhabit this juvenile fantasy world without families to support, student loans to pay off, groceries to buy, children to support, utilities to pay, and in fact, most of us have families who subsidize our eccentric lifestyles. It seems our abilities are so insignificant in the real world, that we should be grateful for any opportunity; unpaid, tiny stipend, (we’ll pay for materials and buy some beer), just to be able to pursue our irresponsible bohemian lifestyle. Its mind boggling, the number of unpaid internship ads that require very unique and advanced skill sets. Its been stated in the ads; ad nauseam, that these will be wonderful portfolio building opportunities, that could lead to other paying jobs. The harsh reality is that this only perpetuates the idea that there will always be someone available to work for free. Why should they be willing to pay next time if its perceived that there will always be an artist out there willing to do anything to feed their need to be creative, paid or not. In fact every aspect of our society is heavily reliant on art, from the art hanging in innumerable museums, the beautiful architecture around you, to the graphics and illustrations on cereal boxes. Art sells products. Art creates the ambiance in restaurants and churches. Fellow artists, don’t be fooled into believing your time is not as valuable as the plumber. or electrician or the numerous entrepeneurs starting clothing companies who’s success relies on the eye catching art, you provide. Stop taking these freebies, and people will have to start paying a fair wage. The only experience you will receive from doing free work is the experience of getting screwed and wasting your time.
- Location: Everywhere
- it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
- Compensation: fair wages
I’ve really come across some gems; as I come across them in the future, I will share the best in more occasional “Craigslist assholes” posts.
friend of mine works at a big cable/tv network. Interns, people who studied communications and media studies, are plentiful and will take any position even unpaid.
Media and publishing has been hit hard, more people now read their news online and on TV. and IT tools are automating the jobs that used to use many layout and production people.
Specialization and being unique are the keys to keeping a job today.
If you wanna have some fun, send fake resumes in. use a gmail account and keep stringing the sucker along