29 July 2013

The Disappointment of a Failed Proposal


Land Between the Lakes, TN ©2007 Terrell Neasley
“A large-boned unexceptional young woman. Yet as soon as she disrobed and took her place on the platform, she became not only a bare body but a splendid living design. She became a nude.”
~Maureen Mullarkey

Off the Cliff Edge, Black Canyon, CO
©2006 Terrell Neasley
You know that feeling you get when you stump your little toe and there are other people around? The pain is excruciating as hell, but somehow you are able to stifle the outburst that is welling up like a volcano in your throat so as not to startle or frighten those around you. Funny thing is, those same people will often know exactly what you are going through and the second they see you, they experience a sort of phantom pain in their own toe. You see their faces wince as YOU try to keep a straight face.

Well, that's what I experience when I got a letter in the mail last week from a client who gave me the final verdict on a proposal for a project that was going to net me between $6 and $8 Grand over 2 months of shooting. This project has been in the works for close to 3 months, which was started back in April. Now normally, I don't discuss or show pics of my client work so much. And I'm not going into detail here but suffice to say it was more of the REASON I lost the gig, more than anything. I got the "we regret to inform you" letter and took it in stride, but it was hard to let go without calling the client and making sure I didn't miss something.

Nevada Desert, ©2012 Terrell Neasley

"If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment."
~ Henry David Thoreau 

The "why" was because of my nudes. And yes, my nude work was brought up in the beginning. It was known about throughout the entire negotiation, the planning, and narrowing down of the scope of work and all parties involved. But just as the trigger was about to be pulled to green-light the project, it was the wife of one of the decision-makers who called a halt to everything. Apparently, as she revealed to her husband, my nudes did not set the right precedence the company needed to uphold. I countered with the fact that I did not hide my artwork and many photogs shoot nudes, but the simple reason that I do it and do it so often disqualified me from the association I desired. So this was not an executive decision, but rather the (non-employee) WIFE of an executive who made the call for him. And chances are, they'll take my idea and pay another photographer to help them realize the concept I had them so excited about.

Nevada Desert, ©2013 Terrell Neasley
Yeah, it stinks. Am I over it...no. But understand this. My nudes are mine. I'm not halting or altering my process. I shoot the nude and will continue to shoot the nude as often as I can shoot and edit and find some time to eat and sleep in between. Am I crazy? Probably so. That's never been a debated case.  So as maddening as this is, I have to understand and respect it. I've always held that not everybody will be able to appreciate what I do for one reason or another. Some have a moral issue with it. Some have a religious problem with nudes. Others see it as pornography, plain and simple. Regardless, I still respect their values and opinions. The only difference in this case is that I had every indication to believe we were moving forward and there was a lot of money involved. I feel like falling on the floor and throwing a temper tantrum like my grand-daughter might. But the reality is I have to keep with my respect of other people's tolerances and move on. Its a failed quest. Next challenge, accepted.

2 comments:

trixie said...

Don't just let them "take (your) idea and pay another photographer to help them realize the concept" YOU got them so excited about.... Intellectual property my friend. CYA. ;)

Joanie said...

Sadly, this happens. All the damn time.

But you have to make peace with it and move on. Chances are the real reason you didn't get it is because you would have been very unhappy with the job (but loved the money) and it would have prevented you from the next big opportunity.

As for them possibly running with your idea?

Syl Arena's LIDLIPS (If you don't have the book, get it! In the meantime, here are a few items to consider):



54. If you want something way more than the person on the other side of the deal – be wary

81. The boldest creatives dance on the tightrope when it has no safety net

85. Get used to the idea of other people running forward with your ideas

95. Creativity mixes with safety about as well as olive oil mixes with club soda