THIS IS CURRENT A ROUGH AUTO TRANSCRIPT
[MUSIC starts - Bassbeat by Alex Norton: "Funky and upbeat, jangling guitars, a fat bassline and a full horn section create the perfect soundtrack to a late summer block party."]
FRAN: Hello and welcome to On the Outside the podcast that shares diverse views on Outdoors news.
My name is Francesca Turauskis. I am the producer of On the Outside, and I'm here today with a very exciting episode. I was about to say it's a bit of a different episode to usual, but we haven't been doing episodes particularly consistently recently. So I'm just going to say that this episode is something which has taken a while to put together and it's something which we have been talking about in the background since before the podcast started, and that is money. But before I get into the main part of today's episode, I just want to share a bit of news about on the outside because we are officially an award-winning podcast. A couple of weeks ago, the International Women's Podcast Awards took place in London and I was there on the evening and I collected an award. We were runners up in a category that celebrates a moment of calm unflappability.
And this is in particular relation to episode four of this podcast. If you've listened to that episode, hopefully it comes across as a very nice organized conversation. But in the background, there was quite a lot going on that episode. All of the recordings that you hear, we didn't actually have all four of us on the call at the same time. If you haven't listened to that episode, I do suggest going and listening to it. It is the one about climate consciousness, the we too polar expedition and a new cycle route in the uk. It was a really fun episode to record, even if it was a little bit stressful for me. If you have listened to it, perhaps go and have another listen and see if you can figure out where the different conversations were merged together.
But enough of me celebrating old episodes because today this episode is hopefully going to be a big one. As I said at the start, myself and a lot of the panelists have spoken off microphone about money on several occasions, and I know that there are individuals and groups having conversations about money on a case by case basis, particularly in relation to working with brands or working for free. We decided up until this point to not have a conversation about this on microphone because this show is meant to be talking about the news. Admittedly, in a fairly broad sense quite a lot of the time. But still, I didn't want on the outside to be outing individual experiences with payment, whether that was good experiences or bad experiences. But then back in August, something happened that a lot of us on the show thought would be a good way to bring the conversation onto the show for an episode.
Matt Barr, who is the host of the Looking Sideways Podcast, posted an open thread on his own platform with this question, is it ever okay for brands not to pay creatives or contributors fairly for their time and expertise? And that thread had some traction. There are currently 78 comments on there and the responses are pretty telling. I would suggest going and taking a look at that thread for yourselves at some point. The link is in the episode notes for you and Matt Bar, then followed up with a second blog post, which is also linked in the show notes. And that one, summarize the different takes on the topic. I wanted to essentially continue this conversation. Ideally, I wanted this to be a discussion with a few different people, but I also wanted to speak to Matt himself about it. And due to various different circumstances, even getting just myself and Matt on a recording together turned out to be really tricky.
We originally planned a conversation with Matt, myself, and Soraya back in August, but I got stuck on a train whilst travelling home from Scotland. Incidentally, if you want to hear more about some of my train woes, do go and check out that episode four. But Matt and Soraya had already recorded a conversation for Matt's own podcast looking sideways, and they spoke a bit about money in that episode. So I thought it would be a really good idea to share some of their conversation on this podcast. But I also wanted to speak to Matt himself to get a bit of a background on the context for the threat. So this episode today is going to be a mixture of the conversation that I had with Matt, the conversation that Matt had with Soraya. And then afterwards, I'm actually going to share a number of talking heads. So let's start off this conversation with Matt Bar from Looking Sideways, what made him post an open thread? Asking the question, is it ever okay for brands not to pay creatives or creators fairly for their time and expertise?
MATT: I got asked to speak at an event and in this particular case, this event is quite high profile. I'm not going to say what the event is because that becomes then a bit sort of gossipy and tilt. And I'm not, my intention isn't to bag the people involved because it's more the convention. I think that was the catalyst I got asked to speak at this event. This event is position itself as at the forefront of the conversation around diversity and inclusion as a progressive event. All the themes that are currently quite a mode, let's say. So I said, damn much you paying your speakers? And they said, we're not paying our speakers. It was all like, well, we offer networking opportunities. They didn't actually use the, it'll be good exposure argument. They said it would be a great networking opportunity. We really look after people, blah, blah, blah. And I just thought, well, I'm not going to do that for a few reasons. I'm not going to do it because I don't personally see how you can have an event that claims to be committed to diversity inclusion if you're not going to pay people. I mean, that seems to me just to be a fairly fundamental and obvious thing. But as I subsequently discovered, not many people think that.
And I have the luxury of not of saying no to that because I'm sort of financially comfortable enough not to need to do it. Those arguments don't really work on me. I've just been doing what I do for a long time and I've got enough experience to know that, in my view, not to know, but to think in my view that those arguments are quite bogus. I believe personally. The other thing that I'm quite interested in personally is, and I sort of talked about this in that second blog, is just this idea of how people behave without really questioning if it's the right thing to do. So for me it was just a kind of nexus of all these little themes that I'm quite interested in. And I'm a freelancer. I've been freelancer my whole career, obviously I've heard those arguments numerous times over the decades.
And equally I run an agency and I've run my own podcast. So I do employ people and I do pay freelancers. So I've got a view on it from that side of the line as well. So I just thought it was kind of interesting. I mean, one of the things I've try and well I, I've ended up doing it with the podcast is try and spark debate. Think, try and find issues and other different ways of looking at this stuff just because it's the way that it's always been done. Does that mean it's fit for purpose? Is that a good thing? And I think the thing that really made me think the argument that was being presented to me by the organizer of the event was particularly was this idea that it was going to be a great networking opportunity. Cause I was just a bit like if I'm a single mom from in Vanessa who's who you're invited to come and speak at this event and who's going to have to take time out of their work, who's going to have to travel, it's going to entail a big time commitment.
And that's before you even get to the argument about the cost of expertise and experience, which you know, can't put an hourly value on. That's another element to this. What if that person doesn't give a can I swear? Yeah, you know what if that person doesn't give a fuck about networking in a room full of middle-aged white blokes, there's just a big assumption there that that's an appealing exchange of labor and reward. And I was just a bit, that's just seems quite self evidently silly to me. I, I declined. I said, all right, thanks. I'm not going to do it. One of the people involved friends with, so I saw him a couple of weeks later, he was like, oh, hey, you're not going to speak at our event. And I said, yeah. And I kind of said all this. I said, look, I don't understand how you lock can be running this event that you claim is at the forefront of the diversity conversation if you're not paying people.
And he kind of reacts as if that was the first time he'd even thought about that question. And it isn't that groundbreaking an idea to me that one way of improving equity is to pay people fairly. I think that's fairly well trodden ground, fairly well argued ground. So when I spoke to his friend of mine, he was a bit, I mean I might be speaking a term, but he seems to me he hadn't even rethought about that. And he was a bit like, oh, well everyone's got an opinion. They, and I was a bit like, well, I kind of think that's quite accepted <laugh> in the debate. Really all those things. I thought, well, this is interesting. So I'm, I'm going to post about this. And the response was really quite amazing. It was by far the most well engaged <laugh> debate on that page. And there's a lot of opinions and there's a lot of people that disagreed with me.
There's quite a few names are recognized on that thread and certainly could be considered successful. And they were a bit, it's that's how Paige used, that's the deal. And then there was a lot of people who were at the beginning of their careers who were like, well, I've just been told that's hey, page uses and that's, and we're a bit like what You can say no to that. And then there's a lot of people saying to me, well, it's easy for you to say that because of the position that you've got to at this point in your career. But nobody answered the diversity point as in defended the idea that it didn't impact diversity and equity and inclusion there. Nobody could actually answer that. And there was nobody from the other side of the debate, agency owners, brand managers, event organizers, the people actually have the collateral to make these decisions.
Zero crickets, nobody contributing. And I just think it's bullshit. It's a decision. And I've actually a really interest in example of this today at my own business. So we are doing a job for a client that involves interviewing people. I was just involved in this tangentially and I was like, are we paying people? And some of my colleagues were like, yeah, some people are doing it for free. Some people we've offered VA gift vouchers too. And I was a bit like, you can't fucking eat with gift vouchers. What we need to pay people. And to be honest, a couple of people that worked for me were like, yeah, but that's fine. That's, that's kind of the industry standard. And I was a bit like, well, but that's what everybody says. We need to be leading on this. We need to be, I believe it's an opportunity to say, it doesn't have to be like this should be able to find the money in the budgets to pay for people if you're working with big brands, be that hard really.
FRAN: Yeah, I think obviously you and I both do podcasts and interview people and quite often asking people for quite a lot of their time to do those interviews. And I think that that's something which is standard. You don't offer people money to do those interviews. In my view on the outside, and I said this to you and I kind of asked you on and stuff I'm not making any money from this. This is a passion project at the moment. But we do get a little bit in via the Patreon for people that support the concept. Even though I technically am very in debt in terms of the amount of time I spend doing the podcast, that money I do offer to people that I ask onto the show. And the reasoning behind that is that particularly with on the outside, I am asking people for their experience quite often as an underrepresented person within the industry and to come along and say, I want your opinions as somebody that's underrepresented, but I don't value your time enough to offer you anything for it seems quite, it seems counterintuitive to me.
MATT: Well, I admire, admired that when you told me that, that was thought provoking for me, I should say. I've obviously just kind of been quite harsh in a lot of ways. But equally I learned a lot because one of the points I made in the blog afterwards is the power of convention. This idea that, well, that's just the way it's done. And when you said that to me, I think maybe you messaged me or something or it was a comment and I was like, yeah, that's actually a really good point because I'm doing the same thing.
The convention in this case is the idea that people do media appearances because they've got something to promote, therefore it's quid pro quo and you don't ask the payment. And that is definitely in the world of media, that is just considered the total status quo. And when you said that, I said, yeah, I'm doing the same thing. Basically I'm, I've just made the assumption that status quo is fine. And one of my friends who read that thread who's a really experienced journalist, he was a bit paying people to interview him, but I was like, I do think there's a bit of merit in it. And for me, what I decided to do in that case was, so I have my main podcast, which is not sponsored, doesn't have an income, but then I do have a podcast with Patagonia where I do get an income. So for that I'm going to offer people a fee because I think that's, and that was pretty much from your contribution because I just thought, yeah, I can totally do that. And it's the same thing.
FRAN: And that came from the US and that came from podcasts. I know in the US that do kind of that and offer that. And I do think that the journalistic side of things, there's maybe this thing of knowing that your sources are impartial and if you are paying your sources, they're no longer impartial. Whereas in podcast in particular, depending a little bit on the type of podcast, but certainly conversation ones, you're asking people for their opinion and their experience. You're not asking them to be necessarily the voice of a company or the voice of a industry or something like that. And I think possibly there's a bit of a difference as well.
MATT: Yeah, I think it's nuanced, isn't it? I think again, it's just a bit of a blanket approach. I mean, God, I've been a journalist for years and Doorstepping is a convention in journalism. I think most same people think that's a pretty boring practice really. But in that industry it's completely accepted as just a how do job. So I think I agree with you. I think it's nuanced. I think it's depends because another contradiction in my position is I write for a lot of surf and snowboard magazines and I have done for years, and I effectively do it for way below market rate because those titles can't afford to pay proper money really at the end of the day. And I again make the decision to do it for this pitiful ray because I can afford it. And because I talked about this in that blog, the rationale that I've subconsciously, unwittingly I realize once I kind of interrogated it given is like, well, if I don't do that, if we don't do that, those titles will survive, won't survive.
And that will be less healthy for the scene. But is that really true? Because what all it means is the same people just end up writing for those magazines. The people that again, that can afford to do it like me end up in every issue. I've kind of, again, contributed to that really by going along with that, what is really quite a flawed setup. Because if your argument is you should pay people fairly, but then apart from on this occasion, because this look get a free pass. Cause I like the outpour spit contradict, isn't it?
FRAN: One of the things I'd really like to ask you as the person that posed the question in this instance is I've spoken to quite a few people and we're going to have a few different voices in this episode talking about their opinions on it. But one of them in particular, Frankie talked about the idea of what exactly is a brand when we're talking about this conversation as well, because technically speaking on the outside as a brand or the elements as a brand looking sideways as a brand, but was that the kind of brand that you were thinking about when you posed the question? Or are you thinking about profit making, sales, tangible things?
MATT: Yeah, the latter.
FRAN: Yeah. And do you think that makes a difference in terms of the answer to that question?
MATT: I think so, yes. Because I think if are, one of the ways I put it in the blog was if you genuinely can't afford to pay people and you are a profit making operation, you are either being disingenuous or you've got a problem with your business model. Like if you, because look at an event for example, that are charging a lot of money for a ticket and are out there trying to attract brand partnerships. The kind of leverage they've got to bring that income in is the people that are going to be at the event sharing their expertise and speaking, but they're not getting paid, but someone's getting paid. Yeah, I think that's quite clearly a bit of a strange setup. I think if you are in your position and you are not making money, then well, it's such an interesting question actually. This isn't it because it really, it's about the modes of creativity that we have this mm-hmm.
I would suggest that with looking sideways, for example, another kind of gray area really on my sets is I work really closely with my friend Owen Tok, who's a photographer, who's an extremely talented photographer and he charges a lot of money for his work to work with brands, to work with people. He does stuff for me for free onl, looking sideways. I pay him when he does stuff for the Patagonia podcast. We see that as an opportunity to collaborate creatively together without the constraints of a commercial influence because we spend most of our working lives working with brands and doing creative projects that have this commercial element to them. So on that level, when we were thrashing out how looking sideways is going to work and this question of, well how are we going to pay for this or whatever, we justified it as a collaborative creative process partnership, an enjoyable thing that didn't rely on commerce to have an outcome and to have value.
Whereas I think for me, there's quite clear distinction between that and what you are doing and working for Coca-Cola or who who've got clearly got money. And I think there's quite a clear difference there personally. But like I say, these are, that's where the nuance comes in and that's where personal choice in how you approach, that's always going to be a huge thing in terms of how that transaction ends up playing out. So I would say the question, the answer is, yeah, I'd certainly meant profit making commercial enterprises who at the end of the day want to make money. However lawfully and progressively it's dressed up. People that want to run events or advertising campaigns or whatever it is that involve creative talent don't tend to be doing that for a laugh. They're doing it because they want to make money. There can be an element of altruism to it so that in that situation it seems a bit more black and white to me.
FRAN: And then my last question before moving on as it were is that question of what does creative and contributor mean as well? Because the thread came out of the fact that you were asked to speak for free, but another example you gave there is obviously your writing work and freelance writing is a professional life, and yet that's a subject where you say that you have stretched the lines a little bit more in terms of what you do then I'd say that I'm exactly the same in terms of I've, I've never done audio work for free and I've very rarely spoken for free and yet writing, I couldn't even tell you how much writing I've done for free to try and <laugh> get things on my CV and have places to point people to show my writing. So would you say that there's a difference there as well in terms of what types of creative work are
MATT: Yeah, totally values more. It's perceived value, isn't it? Ultimately it's like the old design question, isn't it? It's like oh, well all they're doing is making a PDF or you know what I mean? Or they've just made a logo, I could do a logo in clip. I mean I've literally had that conversation in my professional life where I've suggested we hire a designer, a branding agency, and the quotes come in and it's been to the other person involved, eye wateringly large, and they've gone like, well, I could just do a few doodles. And obviously what's going on there is they fundamentally don't value the process for whatever reason. Certain and creative endeavors of have higher perceived value. And I think if we're getting into it, it's market driven, isn't it really? It's technology and market driven these days because I mean this is another podcast, isn't it really?
But in a lot of ways there are pros and cons to argument. The barriers to enter are a lot lower these days F for each of these endeavors because the gatekeepers have been dismantled in various ways and technologies made it easier for you to express yourself without permission, all these things. But obviously one of the consequences of that is that in the market that's lowered the value of those things really, unless you have the confidence or the reputation to stand your ground. And that was another theme I think of the thread. It was an argument that kept going back was if I don't do it for that, there's 50 other people that are waiting to do it for that. So yeah, I think completely and on the subjects of my journalism, I was a journalist for basically the first probably 15 years of my career really.
And that was what I did. And then when I ended up running the marketing agency, which then started to take off, I actually stopped writing for quite a while, really professionally for probably about seven or eight years because at the time it was like, well, I can't justify the hour the time for what it's going to give me while I'm also trying to do this other thing. And it's only probably last four or five years that I've actually started writing again. And I see it as a hobby to be honest. I really do. And same with the podcast. I saw those things as hobbies, which is probably quite telling. It was like, ah, well, when I set on my podcast, it was like, well that'll be a nice fun creative project that I could just do on my own terms and I'm certainly not going to put any pressure to earn money on from that. It was easier for me to remove that consideration. But again, I was obviously privileged to be in that position where I could do both of those things. So again, I'm also in a way, a strange way undervaluing those things by saying, by treating them like that.
FRAN: Well thank you so much for giving us a bit of an insight into where the thread came from. Yeah, I think right now we're just going to continue in the vein of the thread a little bit. And I'm going to give our listeners a little bit of a taste of some other people's opinions on this question as well. Starting with the conversation that Matt and Soraya had on the type two podcast for looking sideways.
MATT: My kind of take on it is, unless you pay people well, it's not, I mean God, it is just the most obvious thing in the world. Unless you pay people fairly, you can't really have a serious conversation about diversity that that's kind of what I think really. And also it does basically mean that you get a lot of similar voices. If people can only get into into an industry or a pathway of working by basically being able to afford not getting paid, then that just leads to homogenization of the voices in the culture that are being spoken about. And someone on that thread made a really interesting point, which was a really obvious point and put really well and said the diversity conversation's gone on the outdoors. Now it's not enough to tell stories about people. People need to have the ability to tell the stories that they want.
And that's the point. Brands point in their lens people of color or community groups, whoever's great, but it's still a kind of barrier there. There's still a gap there and it's still effectively a lot of the same people telling those stories. And until you had, and that was my whole point in it came about this because I was asked to speak at an event for free, a very high profile event that's really gone on about their commitment to diversity. And I was like, cool, how much are you paying people? And they're like, oh, we're not paying people. It's a great networking opportunity. And I was just a bit what crock of shit <laugh>.
How can you seriously say you've got an event which is committed to diversity if you're not going to pay people because you're going to get these things that you're going to get a load of people from one demographic talking about the issue of diversity and you're going to exclude that. You need to be opening those doors to bring as many people as possible, not charging a really high ticket price and then saying that you're people that you speak. So that's kind of where it came from. And I found your point really fascinating and I found the whole tenor of the conversation really fascinating because say it's one of those things that I think people feel like it's spoken about that as an element of the diversity conversation, but it really isn't that much.
SORAYA: People don't understand it and also people don't a lot. And I think someone else in that thread kind of pointed it out, there's a lot of, oh well I went through that and therefore that's just what you have to do to be in the industry.
MATT: Which if I may say is just on any fundamental level, a flawed line logic that someone making across the channel in the dinghy doesn't prove that our immigration policy is sound. Yes. I mean that, that's just very obvious.
SORAYA: I think people would probably be quite horrified or maybe not horrified, I don't know. But the conversation's changed a lot in the last 18 months I would say. But the number of people who I have done calls with who are on the clock, so they're being paid, and I, until very recently wasn't taking anything from all the elements. And the only way I can take that because I'm very happy to be very open and honest about this, is by taking on paid work, like paid consultancy work, the core costs of all the elements still are not covered. But it's interesting that people quite often don't think about that. So they'll ask for a call and that's my time and it's the time before it a little bit and the time processing it afterwards and they'll be being paid by their organization and it's a discussion about potential work or a potential talk or anything like that. And I'm not getting paid for that time. And before I drop my hours down, I was working four days a week basically to subsidize all the time around that I was doing these calls. I've done over 200 calls now and some of that, I'm very lucky this year Patagonia have given us 1% for the planet funding. So I have some funding to cover some of those, some of that time.
But why is that okay? Yeah, it's not just even the talks which I get asked to do talks all the time that aren't paid. And I'm in a position, I'm in a very fortunate position because I have other work where I
MATT: Can say, you can finance it, you can say exactly.
SORAYA: Or I can turn around and say no because actually all the elements is not a side project anymore. But it was a side project. I am a writer people are always telling me, so I'm just going to say this by just to know, to let you know. I feel like I want to vomit a little bit saying it. I'm an award-winning writer. I am good at writing, I'm a sustainability professional, I have an mba, I can talk. That is my job. So if you're aren't coming to me and you're saying this project that you're doing, which is actually to support the community groups, it's not to make the sector feel better about themselves, come and talk to us and do that for free. No, I don't have to do that.
MATT: No. But again, like you say, and I turn that thing down because I can. But as you say, there's a lot of people on that thread. And the other thing that I found really revealing on that thread is that every single person on there was someone on the receiving end. There was nobody on that thread. And I get to see who's looked at it and I get to see the numbers and a lot of people looked at that and I know a lot of people in the industry looked at it. And no one from brands. No one from events, no one from running teams of athletes, ambassadors, no one running influence campaigns. No, not none of them taking part. The only people defending it like the practice you say people who were like, well, it worked for me. And it's basically making the capitalist argument what's survival of the fist, isn't it? And it's always going to be like that and blah blah blah. Brings me back to what you were saying earlier, it doesn't have to be like that. It's not inevitable that it's people in a room making a decision to do that. And like you say, we're kind of lucky that we've got the confidence and the kind of safety net to say, no, not going to do that. Not cool, but other people aren't as that conversation revealed and it perpetuates the situation that supposedly rule to our solve.
SORAYA: And I think also, and one of the big things that I was saying when I replied to that is the lack of transparency,
MATT: Which is not a really good point actually.
SORAYA: Yeah. It's like new people coming into the sector and there are a lot of new people coming into the sector and there are a lot of new people coming into the sector from underrepresented groups who are like, why does this work like this? Yeah, it seems bizarre. But if they're told you are not going to get paid, sorry, no one's getting paid or they don't say that. They just say, I'm really sorry, we don't have the budget. We
MATT: Don't have the budget. Right is but we charging 500 a ticket and it's 50 grand for a title sponsorship.
MATT: But we don't have the money lads. Sorry.
SORAYA: Yeah, exactly. And then they'll have somebody who's high profile and they'll, they'll pay them couple of thousand and then they'll pay the person who is the coming from a community group who's having to take time off work, who's having to get their family looked after, who's having to travel from wherever to get there. And they'll say, oh really? Sorry. We can give you a contribution towards your travel
MATT: Course on that. I got asked to do that and the sort of incentive for me was it'll be a great networking opportunity. What if you don't want to go to some fucking bro down in wherever and hang out in a bar and get drunk with everybody? What if you just want to go and do your peace and go home to your kid? Why is that not if you've got someone else you'd rather be doing, why does it have to come hand in hand
SORAYA: And why is it implied? That is I think it's a bit much to imply that that's valuable to you. I mean people have said that to me and I'm like, Hmm, I did that work. I have my network now. I don't to, I really don't need that. What I need is to be paid for my time so that actually I can subsidize this other work that I'm doing. Which is the community work.
MATT: Exactly. So you can choose what you get rewarded for your time and then you get to choose what, and that's why I framed it in a couple of more confrontational responses as it's a power thing. It is a power thing. I dunno if Curtis like friend of the pod, I think she, you're both on the alto scheme, right? Yes. And when I chat to a vet about it, she was like, I basically don't feel worthy. I don't have the confidence to ask for it. And I'm like, I mean that's wild. There's a lot of people phoning it in this game. Yeah. Who are charging pretty decent money. And again, that's because you've been, for me, that in itself is a microaggression, isn't it? Because it's somebody being made to feel unworthy by the kind of status quo and then being pushed down this alternative path.
SORAYA: Yeah. It also doesn't take into consideration the fact that a lot of us working within this space are being asked to talk on subjects that are, there's a lot of emotional labor, of course there's a lot of emotional labor more than people realize, more than even I realized when I started doing this work, and there's always the risk of pushback. There's quite often you talk about micro microaggressions, there's also just sometimes just straight out aggression. There is a lot of confrontation. There's a lot of people saying, oh, well why does it matter what the color of your skin is and which the repliers Exactly. <laugh>. Like that's the whole point. But do you really think that there's no one worthy who has a different colored skin to you and that is why there's no one in this space? Is that really what you are saying? Think about that. Really think about that and think about that in all diversity areas. Can you seriously say that? Because that is, I mean that is arrogant, isn't it?
MATT: It's also, again, fundamentally not very logical to be No but to be polite.
SORAYA: No, but that's the thing is it's not logical, but that's how it's justified. Yeah. Well the reason why they're not here is because they're not good enough, because they're not experienced enough because they haven't done X, Y, Z. And that's kind of what I was saying in the thread as well. It's like, yes, okay fine, but look at why they're not there. So you are saying you putting out measurements that and bars are impossible to reach when you are from certain backgrounds and from certain communities because of the systemic bias that is throughout the entire system. And until you can recognize that you actually dunno what you're talking about, maybe just stay out the conversation.
MATT: Well, and that's exactly why I was aggravated by it really because, and then not just to bring it back to the point that we made when we went down this little rabbit hole again, let's actually interrogate the reality of this. Let's not just, well, loads of brands are now doing loads of events, have got diversity on the table and loads of brands are doing shoots with people of color. So therefore the problem solved no meaning change comes from these decisions comes from where it's actually a bit more difficult where you've actually got to say, okay, I'm going to might lose a bit of money here if I actually pay people fairly. And that's fine because that's actually real. Because what's happening is people going, well, I can't afford that or however they're justifying it. But then that that's the reality of the diversity conversation in the industry, not the fact that brand X has done a shoot with. And
SORAYA: I would like to point out though that there are organizations and brands that are doing it better.
MATT: For sure,
SORAYA: For sure. And they are willing, when you put forward a budget that says, I want to pay everyone who comes to this and I want to make sure that we're doing this right. And also organizations that do genuinely come with a proper budget and say, this is how much, or the one that I don't so much is like, well how much do you charge? Which is, I'm like, well, I charge different things for different people because every event has a slightly different budget and it depends on actually what you're asking me to do. And so actually you've just put it back on me. You should know what you are going to pay me the top level of what you would pay for me.
MATT: Well people always do know.
SORAYA: Exactly. So it goes back to this transparency thing again. And I think everyone should be paid the same for the same work. There are going to be people who should be being paid more because they're bringing more expertise because they're doing something slightly different. But the majority of things, it is essentially the same work.
SORAYA: Why are people being paid differently?
ANI: <laugh> getting just established in trying to be considered a creator, contributing to things. So how much I say here is quite intimidating. This
FRAN: Is one of the on the outside panelists, Ani Barber who runs the outside hour way blog for all the elements.
ANI: I have never been paid for any content I've made or been asked to make. I've been given, I've been gifted gear and stuff like that but never paid. On the other hand, I have been given gear and never been asked to make any content for it just because the brand wanted to support me. It's a great fab. I do think people should be paid for the content they make because it does require time, more time than you think. I think a lot of people think and including me before I will put on the thing that's been given or I will go and go out specifically for this thing and it will just take me a few minutes and I'll already be outside anyway. But it takes up way much longer. And then when you get back, you've got to pick the right photos, pick the right content, then you've got to meet your own post potentially. Because some of them are like, we need you to make this many posts, this many this carousel, this story, this real that's all time and work and it has its benefits for me. I think I've always gone on this basis of it benefits me at the moment because any sort of visibility for me at this point is helpful. So that's kind of the currency I'm taking at this point. I don't think that's a currency that everybody's willing to take nor should they be willing to take, if that makes sense. I think there are plenty of people where the brand is actually getting visibility themselves over the person where the person's big enough that they're actually influencing others rather than the brand bringing people to them, if that makes sense. Just you know what I mean? And for that process, they should be paid for I think.
FRAN (to Ani): Do you ever ask for Money?
ANI: No, I'm not there yet in my confidence level. And I know I should be know full well that a lot of people that I've spoken to that are in that sort of community would say, no value your worth. And I'm not there yet in the confidence of going high. Okay, that's fine. So including the stuff you're going to send me to photograph give me money as well. I go, I don't know how to broach that subject sensitively, so I've just not broached it at all.
FRAN (to Ani): Can I be your agent?
ANI: As long as I don't have to pay, you would.
FRAN (to Ani): I will take commission.
ANI: I want to add something else on top of the brand thing. I think my opinion comes from a very toxic opinion where I feel intimidated or grateful for people asking me to do something for them. And that's not a good position to be in, but that's where it comes from. And I'll take my time to break through that.
FRAN: Maybe the next person you're going to hear is Carlos Casas from Colour Up Bristol. He was on the episode about topless climbing a couple of months ago and I knew that we were going to have this episode about money. So I took the opportunity to ask him about pay.
CARLOS: I don't think it's right to not pay fairly to the people that you are using, even if it's not necessarily to drive sales. And it's just because you want your brand to be more ethical or whatever purpose you might have. I think you're using someone's time, energy, and knowledge and that should come with a price and it should be normalized that you demand what you think it's right for you. And that's it.
FRAN: Have you done things for free for people? Whether that's talks or writing and that kind of thing?
CARLOS: Yes. So I did two Talks for free recently. One of them was for another Affinity group, which we are friends with and I'm friends with the person that runs it as well. And then the other one was a local festival here in Bristol and it was their first time ever and the idea and the ethos behind the festival really connected with me. So I decided before they even offered me any money, which I knew they didn't have because it was two students trying to organize a whole festival. I said that I was going to do it for free, which I was very happy to, but it was my decision to do it in this way.
FRAN: Yeah, thank you. I think we're probably all on the same book with that.
CARLOS: And I think you can clearly judge as well who, well in most cases if it's a brand, the original post was saying if it's a brand, they usually will have the resources. They wouldn't approve a project or a campaign or an event without thinking, oh, let's budget some money for this. What brand is that? But yeah, if you're talking about individuals or other sorts of organizations, then the line gets a bit blurry, but I think it's up to you to decide.
KATHI: My name is Kathi and I'm a full-time content creator since 2019. I run a Scotland travel blog called Watch Me See, and also a podcast called Wild for Scotland. I think it's important to acknowledge that every content creator has their own business model and what they consider adequate compensation might vary wildly from what I'd ask for. One of the biggest issues I see is around brands working with creators for whom it's just a hobby. Very often these creators are happy with freebies, which I understand is a nice park. But from where I stand as a professional content creator, it just reinforces with brands that they don't have to pay for creators and that they don't need a budget for future projects and partnerships. And in the long term I think that really hurts people like me who do this full-time. Something else that has really bothered me, especially after the pandemic, is seeing brands that offer paid work to hobby creators who aren't dependent on that income instead of actively seeking out full-time creators who just went without proper work or income for a year after the pandemic. To me, it's not just about whether brands pay or not, it's about how supportive they are of professional content creators in general. Their policies around working with freelancers, their payroll, and whether they see content creators as equal partners in their marketing strategy or just as someone who they can exploit for cheap labor. It is a much bigger conversation than just about money
FRAN (to Steph): ...Organization you are From.
STEPH: So I'm Steph Weatherall and I'm from Everybody Outdoors, an organization working for plus size inclusivity in the outdoors through more size inclusive clothing kits and better representation. I think it's so important to know your value and to see the value that you're bringing and to be unafraid to kind of ask for money. I think no, I think brands should be paying people for whether that's kind of creative content, whether that's more kind of input and learning. I think there are times when doing things for kits or for gear is okay but I think that has to be an option because if you have a full wardrobe of what you need, then that's not as, that's not necessarily the right option. And I think it's also recognizing that some people are in a position where they don't need to get paid, but by not getting paid, you are affecting the position for people who don't have that privilege in a position that if I'm doing some work for a brand, I am not doing my paid job, my freelance job, I'm taking time off of that and that time needs to be kind of recompensed because I can't pay my rent in jackets. <laugh>
Sadly. I just don't think my landlord will be up for it. And I think realizing the contribution we have to make through a lot of this work that we're doing, I think it's honoring the kind of the time and the knowledge and the work that has gone in over how many years.
FRAN (to Steph): I think most people it sounds like you kind of learnt that. Yeah, it's not something that you came in straight away and went, I am Valuable pay me.
STEPH: <laugh> I think it's something I've learned as I've got older for sure.
FRAN (to Steph): Would you give any advice to anyone that is just starting out either working with brands or starting out with their own projects and stuff?
STEPH: I think with brands it's really easy to focus on what you can get from the brand. So often we're thinking about, oh I want some free GI kit or gear or whatever. But it's, for me, it's really important to pause and think about what the brand is getting from you. And for example, I work with a couple of brands and one of them I'm an ambassador for but they don't ask much of me. They just want to support what I am doing because they believe in that. And I think it feels a very different transactional relationship to a brand who is trying to use me for their gains.
Realizing that the perspective and the experience you have that might seem very low value to you. Sometimes the experiences that I've had as a plus size person, that's just my life. I don't feel sometimes I don't think that's something I can charge for the knowledge of, but then I'm work to work with a brand who has no idea of what that is to walk through life and to experience the outdoors as a plus size person. It's like what I bring is of real value to them and will help them make their business more successful, make their products better. And if they're going to pay bring the consultant to do that, they're going to pay them. So I deserve to be paid for my lived experience and for the knowledge that I bring and I'm willing to share with them.
OGE: Hi, my name is Oge and I am one of the London Regional leaders for Black Girls Hike. I'm a hike and enthusiast TEDx speaker and d e I practitioner. And the question is, is it's ever okay for brands not to pay creatives or contributors fairly for their time and expertise? And I think there wouldn't be anyone who would say yes, that's okay. So the answer is no, it's not okay. But I think the other side of that question is what are the expectations of brands from creatives and contributors for their time and expertise? Because I think sometimes the payoff between what a brand is asking and then what they give to the creative or contributor isn't a fair payoff and it can be disproportionate according to the person or the people that they've are. So I've seen in very different circles where brands have unfairly or disproportionately paid different creatives or contributors based on their profile or based on their ethnicity or based on their gender. And I think we need to talk more about the underside of what happens. Whe be all the contracts between creatives, contributors and the brands that they work for.
SONNY: I'm Sonny Piet, I'm a co-founder and trustee of Black Trail Runners. When we started this organization, we really didn't know where it was going to go. We knew we were doing something good <laugh> something of value, but we didn't know whether other people would value it. And because it was something that we were really passionate about, we would often find ourselves feeling it was very difficult to say no to things. So that might be something as simple as, can I come on, can you come on our podcast or can you come and talk to our organization about something? Can we interview you for a magazine or can you write something for us? And we would often say, yes, we'll do that because we knew that that would help us in terms of publicity and would contribute to our organization. But over time we've realized that that does ourself a disservice, both just in terms of capacity but also it fails to acknowledge that what we are doing isn't just a value to us, it is a value to other people and they should reflect that. So that can be in terms of someone wants us to do something, well what are you going to pay for it? It's as simple as that. And
When you put that value on things, it forces people to think more seriously about it. And it also helps to differentiate or make a distinction between those organizations who really are committed to what you are trying to achieve and see the benefit of it more widely and to themselves and those organizations who are really just ticking a box and actually want you to do the work because it's easier than them doing the work. So that's been a hard lesson to learn it and it's something that we have to keep learning. Cause our inbox is constantly full of invitations and opportunities to do things and we have to pick those things which we think will have the maximum impact, but also those things which frankly just aren't taking us for granted.
FRANKIE: Yeah, yeah. Amazing. So hi, my name's Frankie, are you she they pronouns and I'm here today with the Purposeful Adventure Club. So I work in social media and I particularly work in the intersection between outdoors and adventure and change making and activism. With the Purposeful Adventure Club, we've got a community of people who are making change in the outdoors and I help them to raise awareness of what they're doing, shout about what they're doing in order to do it more and to do more of it and to do it to a bigger audience. And I really come at this from a perspective of somebody who works with brands. And I think what's really interesting is that is it okay for brands to not pay Creatives is a really broad brush statement. Who were the creatives? Who were the brands and what are the deliverables? And when we are thinking about brands, I think we are thinking about Trics, we're thinking about rap, we're thinking about Low Alpine, we are thinking about, I don't know, aki, but actually On The Outside is a brand All the Elements is a brand.
There are loads and loads of brands out there who we really benefit when we tell each other's stories, but that telling of each other's stories is actually creating content. And particularly if you are a small brand, getting established, being able to share other people's stories and raise other people's voices is a huge way for you to kickstart your marketing when maybe you don't have any budget at all, maybe you don't have any audience at all, maybe you don't even have a physical product yet that you can talk about. Talking about other people and having other people collaborate on content with you is huge. So I really feel like there is so much scope where we do want to be creating and collaborating on content without a financial transaction involved.
FRAN: So do you think that is a better way to shape the question or a way to kind of look at it is more to do with profit?
FRANKIE: Should people profiting off your content ask you for content for free? Yeah, no, Absolutely not. Should anybody who's making anything, whether it's physical or digital, if they're then going to profit off it, you should also profit off it as well. Completely a hundred percent. And I think that's such a beautiful reframe of the question and really gets down to the root of what the question is answer asking and how that then actually gives content to all that we create. Or maybe we create content that's for a for-profit brand, but actually the content that we are creating is actually on a not-for-profit element of it. It really sets up a structure that we can use to have conversations with brands, I think.
FRAN: Matt, thank you so much for your thoughts on this. And like I say, thank you for doing the thread in the first place. We will put links in the show notes to the Looking Sideways podcast, but would you like to just let people know as well where they can find you and where we can keep up with you?
MATT: Yeah, sure. It's www.wearelookingsideways.com. That's got the archive and the type two link. Then I've been on for about a year, but I've like the last six months say I've shifted my newsletter and podcast. I do really like it over there. I, that's the place where I post all the blogs and the threads. It's quite a nice little innocent corner of the internet really, where people are just quite respectful and there's nice comment threads and I'm quite active on there in the minute. I do a newsletter every week, which is a mixture of links and blogs. So yeah, you and can find the podcast so as well, that's looking sideways.ck.com as well. Yeah. And then it's looking sideways on all the, what do people say? All the usual platforms. All the
FRAN: Usual platforms, wherever you listen. Wherever
MATT: To this. Wherever you get your audio.
FRAN: Yeah, wherever you get your audio. Beautiful. Well thank you so much.
So there we go. That is it for today. That's a bit of an epic conversation about money. We always knew that as soon as you get talking about money, it's going to get complicated and the episode is going to get a bit long, but hopefully this is the start of a much bigger conversation and that's what I always want with on the outside is for these conversations to start here and then carry on with you listening, I want to say thank you quickly to all of the guests who gave their thoughts to me on this topic for free. Carlos Kaas, AGA Zu, Annie, Barbara, Steph Weatherall, sunny Pit, Frankie Duer, Sreya, Abdul Haddi, and of course Matt Bar. I'd like to also thank Patagonia for letting me use some of the audio from the type two podcast with Soraya and Matt. Now, you heard me mention in that episode about the Patreon account for on the outside, and this is something which I don't talk about very much.
In all honesty, I don't like asking for money for this podcast, which is why it continues to be a passion project. However, the Patreon is there and we do have a couple of people that are currently supporting it. If you head to patreon.com/on the outside podcast Support starts at four pounds 75 a month, and that might seem like a bit of a random number, but this is the price of a couple of popular outdoor magazines, and by paying this each month, you are supporting our podcast in the same way. In the spirit of transparency, I'm currently getting nearly 60 pounds from Patreon, and I do know most of the people that are making those donations. If you want to see the full breakdown of the actual costs for this episode, so that's not just the time that the panelists take, but it's also the time that I spend on it, and it is the money that I spend on it.
I am going to be putting all of that information into the next newsletter, which will be out later this month if you want to read that as well as a roundup of the best news and articles and events that catch my eye over the next few weeks. You can head to our website on the outside podcast.co uk slash newsletter, and we heard quite a few different voices in this episode, but if you disagree with anything that they said or you have something that you would like to share from your own personal experience, I would love to hear it and I will put it into that newsletter as well. You can send me a message via email. It's on the outside pod gmail.com. You can get in touch on social media. It's at on the Outside pod, on Instagram and Twitter, or you can send a voice note to me on WhatsApp if you like as well.
The phone number is zero seven eight eight three nine oh five three three six. I realize that not everyone is in a position to support the show financially, but you can still help us. Please, can you share this episode? If everybody listening shares it with just one person you think might like it, we will double the amount of people that get to hear these conversations. And if we're talking about value, that means the world to me. This episode of On the Outside was produced and edited by me, Fran Turauskis. The artwork was by Sophie Nolan. Music is Bass Beats by Alex Norton. This podcast is part of the Tremula Network Adventure and Outdoor Podcasts off the beaten track. To find out more about the other work we do with Tremula, head over to trem.network. I hope that you found value and enjoyed this episode, and thank you all for listening.