It’s really a sad thing what some people will do to be famous and it’s even worse when those with power take advantage of them. This week the Washington Post announced that they’re running the “Next Big Cartoonist” contest which I’m sure will net them lots of hits and appear to be a big success. I, being an active cartoonist myself, was drawn to the idea of yet another comic contest. With excitement and giddiness beyond compare, I immediately dove into the legal to make sure what I was getting myself into, the requirements and most importantly, the prize. It was at this point in time that I was struck with the biggest insult I could ever encounter as person trying to make it doing what I love. The grand prize for winning this contest was a big fat nothing.
Now, don’t get me wrong as there is an actual prize but in the end, it’ll really equal nothing. If you manage to win, what you’ll receive is the chance to get your work published in the paper, online or in some form of mobile. And that’s it. So you get in, get to do a bunch of work and then get no payment in return. Sure, the exposure would be nice and you can put it on your resume but that’s not really going to pay the bills, is it? And that is why I’m a bit upset with the Washington Post.
I get it guys, you’re not doing to well as the whole newspaper industry is tanking but does that mean you can pick on the little guys? Money is tight but throw a dog a bone if you want us to do tricks for you. How can they expect a legitimate cartoonist to enter this contest if they can’t even promise the they might consider giving you full time work for winning. It’d be the same as American Idol selecting a winner and then kicking them to the curb.
“Hey folks, here’s your winner and weren’t they great?! Now that they’ve won, we’re going to let them out into the world with out a contract or touring plan but we sure do hope the exposure from our show helps you out”
Come on folks, we all know how that turns outs. Justin who? Yeah, the second place guy who lost to Kelly Clarkson in season 1. Haven’t heard from him in a while but his exposure on the show must have helped him somewhere along the line.
And I’ve recently ran the rules through my awesome legal bot and it’s found some interesting notes. For all of those who plan on entering, know that your work will no longer be your own. Upon entering, you grant the Sponsor the right to unrestricted, royalty-free, perpetual right to display, modify, perform, copy and create derivative work from your work. Yes, you’re legally signing over your idea, characters and story to these guys to use as they see fit (for profit or not). Will they turn out to be some evil company and use your idea to make millions of dollars? I’d bet “probably not”. But I’m sure as hell ain’t going let my creations go against those odds.
For those of you who are adventurous enough and want to brave the wilds of this contest, be my guest, just don’t expect to see Plus One in the mix.
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