Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Underpaid? Join the downwardly mobile caste

Playwrights are underpaid????
I just saw almost exactly the same complaint on FLX, A freelance writers bulletin board, about the $1 word rate which hasn't changed (at top mags) in 25 years...
When I began reviewing in small weeklies 20 years ago, the going rate was $50 per. When I stopped after 15 years, the weeklies were paying $15 per review. Now they're stopped running reviews at all, and most small theatres are only being reviewed by web sites or blogs-- which pay zilch.
When just out of college I taught acting/improv for kids in after school programs in this area, I was paid $10-$12 per class, and 3-4 classes per week paid the rent on my 2 bedroom apartment. The same apartment now rents for more than $1000 per month, and the same kinds of kids' classes still advertise for acting/improv teachers and pay them $10-$12 per class.
My friend who teaches as an adjunct at a local college makes less per section today than I was paid for a similar job in 1986.
My "computer guy" husband is unemployed. The only offer he's had in the last 6 months is for a low-level operations job of the sort that he worked 25 years ago-- at a lower rate of pay than the skill set commanded back then. Not lower when adjusted for inflation-- the job that paid $16 in 1985 is paying $12.70 now.

It's not a just writers' problem. The entire lower level of the intellectual work force has been radically devalued --in a single generation.

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