The Motion Design Association has issued a Standards of Professional Practice document, asking all Motion Design artists to adhere to a professional ethical code in order to make the industry that we work in fairer and more equitable for everyone. A simple list of the rights we expect everyone to adhere includes: contracts, overtime, on-time payment, getting credit on jobs, and being able to use work in your portfolio. There are expectations of designers as well: to do your best work, act in the interest of your client and represent yourself accurately in your portfolio. We also ask that no designer take on spec work. We encourage designers to do pro-bono and volunteer work for organizations they want to help out.
You may be asking yourself, “Do we really need a Motion Design Association?”, “Do we even need professional standards?”, “I’m an independent designer, why do I need an organization to stand up for me?”.
I think if you look around your workplace and honestly assess the working conditions and standards that we all begrudgingly accept, you’ll find the obvious answer. How many of you plan to be in this industry for 10 more years? How many already have an exit strategy already planned out? How many times do you work without overtime? How many jobs do you work on that are under-budgeted or uncompensated at all? How many weekends are you asked to work – at the last minute, as you are ready to walk out the door? In this industry the deadlines get shorter and the budgets get tighter as the scope of production grows. Something has to give.
Overtime is designed not to reward the worker who stays late and polishes their work until it’s just right. Overtime is supposed to punish the employer who cannot manage jobs on-time or on-budget and uses the brute force of extra hours to compensate. These costs should drive the costs of production up and should also be borne out in expanded budgets for expanded production needs. We urge our member motion designers not to accept spec work and we urge the production companies in this field not to accept uncompensated work as well.
These issues are what the MDA is seeking to change. No longer should Motion Design solely be the discipline of the young and inexperienced. No longer should it exploit the gray areas and gentlemen’s agreements that no one enforces. No longer should it be accepted that everything will always get done, no matter how late we stay. No longer should we accept that we work for months without anything to show for it. Who bears the brunt of that labor? You do. Your family does. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice our health for our jobs.
Let’s make this industry more sane and responsible so we can ALL have healthy, long-lasting careers.
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