Negotiation: always worth a whirl
THE FREELANCE presents some more small tales of freelances fighting that good fight not to work for free... Freelance A, asked to appear on BBC1's One Show as an "expert", enquires about the fee and the director tells him "unfortunately we don't pay". Helpfully, he advises Freelance A that his "exposure would be more valuable than money". Freelance A's stout contribution to our war of counter-attrition was to just say "no".
However, others pitched into discussing this in a freelance email group exchange. They'd had different experiences of different bits of the BBC. Freelance B was invited to do an expert pundit spot on Radio 6 Live. "The initial offer of nothing did not attract," says she, informing the booker. An offer of £50 came straight back. The not inexperienced freelance "then referred them to central accounts to see the level of fees I had been paid for a variety of BBC national and regional transmissions over the years". This very Beeb reference to "central accounts" is a wheeze new to onlookers. A few days later the proffered £50 became £100 and Freelance B accepted.
Most freelances who occasionally chat on the radio agreed £50 or £100 is generally what can be squeezed out of a brief but firm negotiation. Freelance C, however, pitched in with a recent personal best he'd achieved for a bit of talking-headery: £200 plus travel expenses.
To close this pro-wheelerdealing, don't give 'em something for nothing burst of anecdotary, we report Freelance D asked to talk on a Channel 4 doc. Offer: zero. So no go. "Well, we don't normally pay contributors but if we do it's £100." "How about £200?" Further increase refused, job refused by Freelance D, but negotiation had occurred.
Them as doesn't ask, don't get. Asking is always worth a whirl, never did no 'arm no 'ow.