If you've personally met me, I think we can all agree that I'm a pretty laid back Panda. I try my best to have fun with everything I do, and have built great relationships from doing many projects and collaborations.
However, I have begun to learn that I can not work with everyone. And as laid back as I am, I am selective with who I chose to work with. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do, but there are times where I simply have to decline and say "no" to a project or collaboration for the bigger picture. For those I have declined, I hope they don't take it personal, and I also hope that my following reasons will give some insight as to why I, or even other artists, have declined.
1. If you feel I'm too expensive.
I'm pretty flexible. I do payment plans, service trades, you name it, I've probably done it. And something that I'm 100% aware of is I KNOW I'm underpriced. I intentionally leave my price relatively low at the moment for the sake of my portfolio. Once it's solid, the price will probably increase. So, when potential clients gasp and cause an uproar at my already low prices, I simply smile and nod while replying, "yes, this is what I charge. If you find me too expensive, perhaps I am not the right fit for you."
I take my craft seriously. And I don't cut corners. I've invested 7 years of my life carefully studying my craft, and well over $10,000 to $15,000 (Not including the value of my 4-year scholarship) in tuition, equipment, and other miscellaneous education. My goal is to make a successful business and comfortable living from my career. Therefore, I can not afford to "hook you up" or help you "for the low." I invested to bring you the goods, now invest in me to deliver it to you....
2. Gang violence/Crime
Many people disagree with me on this one, especially since the primary demographic in my area are rappers who write songs depicting this lifestyle. Not to mention it's easy money. So easy. I have a strict policy when it comes to real firearms, or violent content, particularly gang violence in my work. Yes, I've turned down money. Yes, I've turned down offers. No, I won't budge. Besides who the HELL wants to be behind a camera when you're pointing a gun at it?!? Nope nope nope...
Gang violence in Chicago is at an all-time high. The fact that the term "Chiraq" is represented with pride infuriates me. Everyday, a life is lost in this city, especially within the youth. I don't want to contribute to this epidemic, even if it's indirectly.
(*Fictional fighting such a martial arts, and choreographed brawls and fights however I am all for, and would love to shoot. =D)
Again, I am a flexible person. Sometimes a little too flexible. I've done favors, and even was taken advantage of (came out of a tedious, daunting, stressful gig with 0 pay. Not to mention, the client was unsatisfied and questioned, why I had not done more.....) And I learned from these experiences. All of them. Most importantly, what I learned is this...
"Respect the artist, respect the craft"
You don't know what we go through behind closed doors as you anxiously await your final product. You don't see the tears, or the sleepless nights we spend trying to reach a deadline. You don't know the balance on our credit cards as we reluctantly swipe them to finance the latest product to boost production value ultimately FOR YOU.
So please, be considerate when we decline you. Be considerate when we quote you. True artists who are passionate about their work won't scam you, and we'll try our best to work with you. It's what we do. So meet us halfway..and respect us.
--Mad Panda Out