Assertiveness is scary.

I’m posing for a new place on Tuesday.  I talked to the guy on the phone last night – he’s never organized a life drawing class before, and is being somewhat overenthusiastic and unrealistic.

He loves the idea of me modelling in costume; possibly he got the idea solely because I mentioned to him that I have costumes.  I told him I can be a scary Victorian doll (the costume I have the most props and poses for) and for some reason he felt that was too elaborate and he wanted simpler ideas instead.  Then he started talking about doing half of the three-hour class in costume and half the class nude.  Sure, whatever.  He asked me to email him some more costume ideas to choose from, so I did.

Now he’s talking about having me wear two different costumes over the course of this three-hour class.  The first one being the scary doll.  So, I’d have to organize, pack, and carry two costumes and sets of props, arrive at the venue half an hour early to put on the doll makeup, and spend the intermission rushing to change my makeup and clothes instead of stretching, drinking water, and other things a person might want to do after holding strenuous action poses for an hour and a half.

Initially, I’d told this guy my fees are $20/hour – but that’s when I thought I’d be showing up with nothing but my robe, sandals, and timer.  This is a whole different ball game, and I found myself feeling more and more resentful at how much extra shit the organizer kept piling on top of me.

So I just emailed him being all “Yeah, two costumes sounds totally fun!  I will however add a $15 surcharge to my fee (making it $75 for the night) because dealing with two costumes instead of one means organizing and carrying twice as much stuff to the venue, rushing to change during intermission instead of being able to rest and stretch, etc.”

We’ll see what happens.  He seems like a good guy, and very enthusiastic about me modelling for this class – I don’t think he’ll blackball me entirely.  Probably my “extra surcharge” will have the desired effect of making him scale back a bit and be more realistic.  Or else he’ll stick to his complicated plan but pay the higher fee.  That would also be good.

Also in that same email I was like “what length of poses do you want me to do for each set?  Most of the time, instructors have me do a handful of one-minute poses, a couple of fives, a ten and then maybe a twenty – how does that sound?” – this is so he doesn’t get overexcited and make me do 180 thirty-second poses or something.  Because my goddamned arms will fall off.

I’m fairly pleased with my approach here – I’m asserting the fact that I’m an experienced professional and know what I’m doing, and I’m nudging him in the direction I want him to go without being overbearing.  I don’t want to irritate him by seeming like I wanna take over his job – and also, I don’t wanna take over his job without being paid for it.  So I’m just…offering him some paths of least resistance. 😀

I’ve rarely – if ever – asked for more money from an employer before.  I’ve always been too afraid that they’d withdraw the employment entirely.  But fuck it, I think I’d rather lose this gig than get paid $60 to do so…much…stuff.  By the time you factor in prep time and travel time I’d barely be making more than minimum wage.

And I know that the way to get respect is to demand it, not hope for it, and that the way to create a “cool factor” for myself is basically to act like I’m cool and worth spending lots of money on, so yeah.  Extra fuckin’ surcharge.

I’ll keep you posted on what happens.

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