Worthy of Hire?

Harlan Ellison has a wonderful rant on You Tube about Paying the Writer. Watch it and weep, though it could be with laughter or tears. He is so right. But it applies to other branches of the arts as well. My husband, as a woodcarver, was always being asked to demonstrate for the 'publicity' it would give him, no matter that he would waste hours and sometimes days of his time getting to and from the venue, not to mention the expense of staying overnight. After a while he put his foot down and started asking for payment and you know what? Most of them paid up without a murmur.
All writers will have had the experience of being phoned up and asked to do something for nothing. It has happened to me more than once, and I've blogged about it elsewhere on here. Most of us don't mind doing something for nothing when nobody is being paid - but doing something for nothing for rich organisations is another matter entirely. I vividly remember being asked to go to a script meeting by the BBC in Edinburgh - a three hour journey by any mode of transport. But there was 'no money in the pot for expenses.' And this from an organisation that sees fit to pay Jonathan Ross how much? Now I know I may not merit that sort of money. But which employee of the Beeb would be prepared to travel for six hours on BBC business without any kind of expenses?