Tattle Diary Entry #14: FannibalFest Is Trying To Exploit Artists
Just recently I noticed that FannibalFest has put up an ad or promo about Fannibal artists donating their art and time for FannibalFest to help them promote FannibalFest 3 for this year. Now, why is this a problem? I’ll get into why.
For one, there’s no lack of this issue in this fandom (or many others I assume) of people pretty much tricking talented young artists into “working for exposure”. Like how Jennifer did that to Lauren and several other people on her staff. She insisted that if people did artwork for her for free then they would get exposure and that, in some cases, they would most definitely get an actual professional job with Bryan Fuller or NBCHannibal. Except the catch was they had to spend a ton of time doing artwork for free on the off chance she wasn’t lying.
Artists should never, ever, do work for exposure. People who can definitely pay to commission art, shouldn’t be asking artists to donate their time and FannibalFest, most definitely, can afford to pay someone to do promotional art for their Kickstarter. Hands down. How do I know this? Well, since the end of FannibalFest in 2018, the second one, which like 100 people attended, maybe 200 at most but that’s being generous, so I dunno possibly 150 but I don’t even think it was that, they’ve been raising money on their Etsy, allegedly. They are making sales on their Etsy too and they claim that any and all profits go to FannibalFest and keeping the convention running. They have had 606 sales total and a lot of the art/products are donated to them, ergo when they make money back on that it’s 100% profit.
Though I can’t deny they are probably spending some amount to have some things custom made I do know a lot of the prints they get donated, or they make up prints of donated artwork which is nice. That means some artist is pouring dozens of hours into creating shit for them and seeing absolutely no return just to “support this convention” because trust me they aren’t paying these people, why would they? Fannibals are very gullible and they think that they are helping somehow and this “exposure” will make them famous or something. The thing is, and this goes for any artist, if people already know you’ll work for free they’ll be less likely to want to pay you what you are worth in the future. These Fannibals donating their art and time for this are being exploited especially considering all the money they have to have made on 606 sales since their inception. I won’t claim it’s like millions of dollars but I will say if they can’t shell out $100 for a commission specifically for promotional art then they are assholes. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to pay for promotional art. At all.
Then we have to consider their tweet about this and how they are trying to attract artists, how it’s worded and what it says. Here’s the actual tweet:
📣Calling All #Hannibal fandom artists🎨 #FannibalFest needs a DONATED Hannibal-themed drawing w/ an April 30, 2019 deadline.— FannibalFest Toronto (@FannibalFest) March 9, 2019
Project will feature our generous artist contributors' pieces to help us raise funds getting us closer to planning #FFT3. If interested, please DM.❤️🙏 pic.twitter.com/WC5tcG2euO
Here’s an archived source to the tweet just in case they decide to delete it later because they are super prone to doing that to cover up anything shady that they’ve been called out on, not just by me, but the fandom in general. Let’s break this down and discuss it for a moment.
They say that the project will feature (fancy ass word to make them feel special) the artist in question to help them raise funds to plan out FannibalFest three. Now as you can see this tweet has very few retweets (and upon checking a good amount of the retweets were the women who “work” for FannibalFest) however Janice Poon seems to be one of the retweets and even with her popularity the tweet isn’t really picking up that much attention or traffic. The only benefits anyone would get here is that they would be a “featured” artist for the Kickstarter Campaign and possibly other “advertisements” for the convention. That’s it.
Now, say this was an actual good convention that a lot of people attended like Red Dragon Con. That might be a good idea, especially since you could probably also get some kind of vendor’s table at the convention and barring that you could use the free promotion to sell your crap on Tumblr. I mean, I’m still standing by my initial statement that artists shouldn’t work for free or for exposure but I will say that if you’re going to be stupid enough to do that, at least do it for a project, convention, or website that will give you a chance to get your work seen by people who also might be interested in getting a commission later. Except, FannibalFest isn’t that convention and it’s not that website. My website, this one right here, vastly outranks FannibalFest.com in popularity and web traffic. The actual convention, as in the number of people that attend is under 200, and out of that, they are always the same freaking people with a few new people here and there. Any artist would be a fool to spend their time doing this, even worse because FANNIBALFEST CAN DEFINITELY PAY THEM.
With the money these people bring in via Etsy and their other stupid endeavors, not to mention the Kickstarter which will surely get tens of thousands of dollars again, somehow, even though no one can explain how, or why, or where they are getting that much money, you mean to tell me they can’t pay someone $100 dollars for some promo art? Really? There are insanely talented artists in the fandom who will make them something very nice for $40-$80 dollars which is basically nothing considering how much money they stand to rake in and probably will rake in. They are also vastly overstating the kind of traffic they get and the kind of attention that an artist will get by using the word “feature” as if it means something. Even for the second year of the convention, on the kickstarter, it only had a little over 150 or so backers. That’s it. You’re going to do art, for free, for that. Really? And they somehow always manage to get decent art too. It’s like they know these people will just throw away hours of hard work on them and they won’t have to do jackshit to pay them or EVER ACTUALLY EXPLAIN WHAT MOST OF THEIR BUDGET FOR THE CONVENTION GOES TO OTHERWISE.
The fact that somehow 100 people have enough money to dump on this convention for three years now, to get it up to 40 thousand dollars last year is the most concerning thing of all. How are they doing this? How is this possible? What kind of rich ass trust fund kids and trophy wives are in this fandom that they can shell out this amount for a very horrible convention that obviously ripped them off the entire way through, both years? A convention where the cheapest ticket you can get is $170 dollars and it barely allows you to do anything? What are they doing with all this money? Where is it going? How are people not complaining about it being a rip off? Why can they not afford to pay an artist a decent amount to commission promotional art but they can afford to get every last director on the FannibalFest committee a luxury suite in the hotel where the convention is held? Maybe if they actually knew how to budget and weren’t clearly scamming people out of money (and yes at least one of their directors was exposed as a scam artist and Betsy admitted it publicly) they’d be able to get their art and treat their artists fairly. Still, no one is questioning any of this, it gets funded out the ass each time, and where the actual money goes? No one has any clue. If these were anywhere near normal people and not a cult, they wouldn’t be in a position to do a Kickstarter for FannibalFest 3. I really hope this one fails and people have wised up to what a fucking rip off it is. My faith in humanity is already so low I don’t think it can tolerate even more disappointment.