Paying or being paid for event?
Is it ok to pay to be part of the event is a question your community could have come upon, or could come upon in a future. The RLFM ambassador Kale, @FrostBricks (link) made some good points in his answer:
"Okay, let me tell you a little about my experiences as an RLFM. Mostly because I'm in a bit of a privileged position not many LUGs get, and that's name recognition. In the last two years I've gone from someone who asks to be involved with exhibits to someone who is asked, more on that in a moment.
Now I don't say this as bragging, but If you're an Australian, and involved with LEGO, chances are you know my name (at least as Frostbricks) I have a certain degree of internet fame, which includes the kind of platform that grants, and while that doesn't make me unique and there are certainly more prominent names, and I do it for the love first, I don't think there's any other way to approach it, but the point here is - people want what I do, and know who I am.
And all of this is a bit new to me. I'm not a businessman, Before this I'd had a mixed resume including being a struggling artist for years. As such, never turned down a gig because I was always the supplicant. That's all changed in the last two years, because of my skill with bricks and photography.
That skill, and it's recognition, also means that suddenly people start coming asking you for things. Lots of people. Including those that want to take advantage because it'll enrich them.
Which is a long way round to get to my point - Who approached who?
If you approached them, then you're the supplicant. Sure, you might have something amazing to offer. Doesn't matter unless you can sell them on it. And guaranteed, they'll have more experience with the art of the deal, because they're businessmen, and you're not. You're going to be left with what they choose to offer. Worse, Some of them will be sharks who only wish to wring you dry. That's the reality. Learn to swim with the sharks. Know that they put on the table is a negotiating position. Be prepared to walk away, because that might be the only power you have. If they approached you, then you are in a better position. It's because you have something of real value they want to capitalise on. So know your worth. And while it's still a matter of negotiation, you're in a much better position. There's also a much greater likelihood those coming to you are sharks. The key part here is to know that it's because you have something of value - and that is what they want - your value. And that because of that value, there will always be others who will approach you, or other places your time and effort is better spent, if they're not going to treat you fair, then those other places are where you should be.
Either way it needs to be a fair trade. If they're a friend, or a not-for-profit, or a charity, well, maybe that's just them buying you a meal, or owing a favour. Here in Aus, the going rate is a slab of beer. Whatever you do, don't just give it away because it cheapens it for everyone involved.
And I want you to take a moment to really think about that. Because if it seems counter intuitive, and you feel otherwise, think about what you did the last time someone offered you a free gift, especially if it was a stranger. Maybe it was a free sample given to you at the mall. The person offering it clearly though it had some value, but what did you do with that free sample? Contrast that against something like a gift with purchase. Getting what i mean?
And so here's the second part, which is definitely influenced by my mild internet fame, and the fact it's blurred the line between business and hobby. If you're dealing with a business, someone who will be using what you have to make a profit, then you should be getting a cut - No 'if's, 'but's or 'maybe's. It's your hard work and effort after all. Again that could just be in the form of free parking, or lunch vouchers, it doesn't have to be monetary - it just has to show acknowledgement of the value you bring and compensate you for your time, effort and the value you bring.
Also on that note though, never accept payment in "Exposure". Exposure is what kills the homeless.
So with all that said. No. You should never pay to exhibit. You, (Or the LUG at least) Should be the one being paid. What we do as LEGO artists and creatives has value. It should be treated as such. At the very least there are costs associated with us being involved. More, for an event such as this, you are something that can be advertised as part of the event in the exact same way as the guests - who I guarantee are having their appearances paid for including a per diem.
And because I know I rambled there. Who approached who? Either way, this sounds like a stinker of a deal. What we do has value. It should be treated as such. And for a large for-profit business to ask this, they either don't see your value, or are trying to take advantage. Either way, maybe your time is better spent elsewhere. "
by Kale, @FrostBricks (link)