The (drawing) pen is mightier than the contract

This is my favourite news story in a long time. At a concert last Saturday in Quebec City, the Foo Fighters demanded that news photographers sign a contract allowing news outlets to print their photos exactly once, after which over all rights to those photos would pass to the band’s management company. Photographers would never see another dime, or even necessarily get credit.

Oh, and according to Global News, Foo Fighters’ management had the right to nix any photos before publication.

So how did Quebec City newspaper Le Soleil respond?

By hiring sketch artist and cartoonist Francis Desharnais to draw the band in action. (Desharnais’ vivid, expressive live sketches from past events should make him a natural choice for illustrating a concert, onerous contract or not.)

According to the newspaper’s Geneviève Bouchard,

The restrictions imposed on photographers are common in the concert world, and the Festival d’été is no exception. Other than the demands of Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars, who simply refused to allow professional photographers at their concert, the contract imposed by the Foo Fighters is one of the strictest we’ve ever seen at the Festival d’été de Québec. (my translation)

For Desharnais’ part, he seems a little surprised at the response to his sketches, which blew up on Twitter and made headlines overseas.

Two thoughts here:

First, we have a metric crap-tonne of extremely talented cartoonists around, any number of them ready and more than willing to take on a sketching gig at a concert. And while live sketching can’t hope to capture the detail and realism of a photograph, it can sometimes do more to capture the tone and spirit of the event. I’d love to see more outlets bringing cartoonists in for events like this, on their own or alongside photographers.

(Think about what Liza Donnelly has done with events like the Oscars. Also, if you think this is self-serving, bear in mind I have young-ish kids and haven’t been to a concert in years. In. Years.)

And second, while Le Soleil is right to roll its eyes at the overreach of “throughout the universe” language, phrases like that are old hat to freelancers who’ve been presented with strikingly similar contract provisions by Canadian newspapers. It doesn’t look quite so appealing from the other side of the signature line, does it?

(Hat tip to my friend Neil Polowin for pointing me to this story!)

Hi, this is your passion. I’m not available right now, but if you’d like to leave a brief message…

The best 12 words of speaking advice I’ve seen in a long time came from this article:

WRITE your speech from the heart. DELIVER your speech from your skill.

Your passion is real—but it isn’t always available on command. To convey the passion behind your ideas every time you speak demands skill and practice.

 

Filed under: Speaking, Speechwriting Tagged: passion

Meet “Things of the Internet”… the first Noise to Signal collection!

Things of the Internet coverSo you know that thing where you take the very best of the six-hundred-plus cartoons you’ve drawn over the past eight years and put them in a book?

That’s what I’ve done.

Things of the Internet is the first-ever Noise to Signal collection. In fact, this is more like a prototype, created in a tiny, tiny batch for the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival. Really, you’re getting in on the beta. And because there are only a handful of copies left, it’s like getting into a closed, invitation-only beta.

It includes over 77 cartoons! (“Soooo… 78 cartoons?” “That would be correct.”) An emotionally evocative conclusion! A highly educational (mostly fictitious) colophon!

I also have a few prints left over from the festival, which are also on sale at the festival price of $10. I’ll be putting the remainder up over the next few days, but you can check them out now at the brand-spankin’-new Noise to Signal store.

• • •

I built the new store using Shopify, which was both pretty easy and surprisingly fun to configure. Plus it’s headquartered in my hometown of Ottawa.

I believe crash reports should be worth reading (12)

Every morning, I pray I'll wake up in my own bed. But no: I'm back in that forest, pelted by rain, condemned to live the same day over and over until I can atone for my sin. Behind me a beast snarls; to my right, a twig snaps. And I'm running. On cue, the rumble of thunder—but this time, I whirl and swing up, and catch the beast between its armoured plates. I'm winning, oh god, at last, winning, and my world shimmers almost into reality before my eyes... and the dialog box pops up: "OnePassword Helper Unexpectedly Quit." Blackness... and then rain, wet leaves, and the forest again.Every morning, I pray I’ll wake up in my own bed. But no: I’m back in that forest, pelted by rain, condemned to live the same day over and over until I can atone for my sin. Behind me a beast snarls; to my right, a twig snaps. And I’m running. On cue, the rumble of thunder—but this time, I whirl and swing up, and catch the beast between its armoured plates. I’m winning, oh god, at last, winning, and my world shimmers almost into reality before my eyes… and the dialog box pops up: “OnePassword Helper Unexpectedly Quit.” Blackness… and then rain, wet leaves, and the forest again.

Tangles, the movie

I’m really excited about this:

I kind of reel every time I read even a little of Tangles. Sarah Leavitt‘s graphic memoir of her relationship with her mother in the growing shadow of Alzheimer’s Disease never fails to slide past my defences.

So the news that Giant Ant is working with Sarah to turn Tangles into a feature film is just thrilling. The trailer looks really promising, and I can’t wait to see it brought to the screen. I think Sarah’s the cat’s (or small dog’s) pyjamas, of course. And I’ve long thought her illustrations want to move—and now they’re going to.