Shaq is obviously part of the fairly beloved Inside the NBA crew, and this week he’s been in the news after a little back-and-forth with Kobe Bryant.

Last night, though, he tweeted out a message crowdsourcing animation for his upcoming TNT show Shaq Life, a video which TNT also posted on YouTube.

In essence, Shaq wants artists to go to the site, listen to a story, and then create an entire animated cartoon around that story (in less than a month!), and then submit it back so the show can use it. For the reward of $500 and the age-old promise of exposure. Although actually, Shaq promises a bit more in the ad:

“Submit your submissions by Friday, September 20th. That’s right animators. I’m gonna make you famous.”

Is that fame offer a binding one? Because “get one cartoon into an upcoming episode of Shaq Life is probably not the easiest way for an aspiring animation artist to become famous. Nor is doing that kind of work for $500! Creating a cartoon is time-consuming, even in the modern world of digital design. There’s a reason the show isn’t just paying real animators, and it’s not because of some kind of altruistic desire to elevate up-and-coming animators. If it were, they’d have announced it more than a few weeks ahead of time, and they would be offering more than $500.

Update: After the backlash, Shaq upped his offer to $10,000:

Here’s some of the backlash that helped prompt this change.

So, yeah, that’s not a great look. Just pay some professional artists what they deserve; trying to undercut things like this not only solicits underpaid labor, but takes a job opportunity away from animators or studios who actually do this for a market rate. And while shifting to $10,000 (20 times the original deal) is much better, there’s still some deserved criticism here for how Shaq approached this.

Whether anyone actually takes them up on it or not remains to be seen. As does Shaq Life, although based on the likely quality of crowdsourced animation with a three-week deadline, it’s going to remain unseen by most people for a long time.

[Image: screenshot, TNT/Shaq]




About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.