Browsing through Karen J Lloyd's Storyboard Blog, on Ian's recommendation, I stumbled across a fascinating post by Karen on the topic of animators working for free (or peanuts). The article is titled Ask Yourself These Questions Before You Work for Free.
If you give the article even a cursory browse, you'll quickly realise that Karen believes that working for free is for suckers, even if you're a student looking for experience. She does qualify that by saying that there could be rare exceptions, but not many!
I (and my fellow SBIT Animation teachers) are approached on occasion by people who have grand ideas for animated projects, hoping to recruit students (or teachers!) to work on them. Over the years I've grown increasingly wary of these approaches. A lot of them have been (predictably) dead ends, although some have paid off.
I myself did a free job for Channel 31 a couple of years ago (a Flash-animated intro for a rather cheesy dating show) and had great fun. I had creative control and the deadline gave me a bit of motivation - which can be a very good thing for a procrastinator like myself. But I had the luxury of time and financial security (I did it over the school holidays, and used some of the material in classes the following year). Students generally lack both of those things!
Does anyone have a strong view on the subject of students working for free/peanuts? Any experiences you'd like to share? Post away!