Tuesday, 16 May 2017

So, it might be that I'm the highest paid GM in the world?

I was having a chat with a guy online about what it is to be a Paid GM, and we were looking for an analogy, some people refer to artists or movies or such, and as we talked about it, I admitted that I was already a paid GM for years, my first paid gig back in 1992, and he was offended, but curious.. and that seems to be the internet right now on the subject of paid GMs.. offended but curious, and when he asked how much did I make.. well that blew his mind.

  as a Paid GM, 2005 to 2012, from 5 to later 40+ hours a week

I think my 2 cents on the matter, well, matters?

I didn't start at 40 hours GMing, but it was mostly in the last 3-4 years of that maybe 50 hours, running 6-10 groups a week, but when I started I was scraping by for 'costs', bus & food, approx $20 ($5 each player) for a 4-6 hour session. I've been compared to being a prostitute to an artist, my sessions from a glorified conversation, to the equivalent of a theatrical performance worthy of the stage. Some people can't justify paying for a GM, any more than they can justify going to a restaurant, when they can cook for themselves at home. 

The Dungeon Master by KwongBee-Arts
I think (and remember, this is purely my opinion, not canon/law/rule) one of the differences between professional and not, is more about the ability to cope with all the things the average GM never would. As I trained in hospitality (and for some time as a cook) I'll compare as such:

Cooking at home, for friends, you pay for the costs yourself, lighting, heating, food (as would a GM, buys his own books, prep, etc) take the time, because you have it, and if it all goes pear shaped, your friends will accept an apology and a pizza. There is no more expectation than you showing off your ability to cook, and your friends saying "well done, you can cook" (Thanks for a good game, see you next week).. you are getting paid.. in praise and a feeling of success.

A Chef though, having trained for years, day in day out, thinking, breathing, living in a kitchen, is expected to be 'good' as a default norm. He can look in a fridge and prepare a meal from almost any ingredients, without thinking. He knows a classic set of meals, some variants, he can replace any missing ingredient with an equivalent and still make a fine meal.

So, I would say a Pro-GM is someone who has at least 3 years of basic training, daily sessions, 40 hours a week, so if you say been a GM casually, but that includes 10% cancellations, 4-5 hours on a Sunday, then you'd need 20+ years to match basic training. A Pro GM can run a game without a system, just as a discussion and a coin to flip, without skipping a beat, match the game to the players requests (space/horror/western) but not cow-tow to their demands.

You open the dungeon door to reveal... a filet!
Chefs also learn to create their own food, but they also price it, determine its caloric value, its cost to produce in goods and time and how repeatable junior chefs can make the meal. So that would mean the same equivalent of creating dungeons.. not just scribbling a random map and adding monsters, but fleshing out the ecology of said dungeon, how it came about, what existed here to begin with and why it got kicked out. what adventurers already came here and died to determine how the rumours of said dungeon eventually drifted back to towns to trigger the current team to come here.

Prep-time should be amortized over a more realistic schedule, You can't figure in 60 hours prep for a single session, (unless the client knows they are paying for a unique, once off, never to be repeated adventure), prepping a session should give you at least 3-6 sessions x 3-6 groups, breaking down to maybe 2 hours per group per session, If the average wage of your country is $20 an hour, and you run a 4 hour session, then $80-$120 might be viable for an equal -supply vs demand- environment, but until people recognise this proGM level of talent and are prepared to pay $120 (for a group, thats $30 each for 4 players, $7.50 an hour) for a Sunday afternoons entertainment, then you have to charge less.. and as your name becomes known, and your demand increases.. then, like any decent job, you can ask for a higher price.

When you go to a restaurant though, you get more than just a chef, you get an environment, you get to compare this to others who've been to this restaurant, you get to take photos of your food and post it on your social media. So this too could be considered part and parcel of attending a ProGMs game. Some people argue that running D&D isn't fair, because you're using their system, their worlds, you're not doing all the work. Well you could argue that the chef doesn't grow the food, but I sorta agree that while the chef uses recipes that are common to the world, the better chefs use their own recipes.

I've heard it said "make sure you have a doctor and lawyer in the family" so you didn't have to pay for these expensive costs. In my day, family and friends helped each other out. Hairdresser, builder, Electrician or Plumber you had someone to do these things and you paid them for the materials, but in return you supplied YOUR skills for free. Today as an IT guy, I'm often asked to 'fix' peoples computers.. for free?! So if you have a GM friend, it feels normal to get them to run a game for free, they're your friend.. but what service are you supplying your GM friend for free in return? 

At the end of the day, People will pay for an experience that they can't achieve themselves. Some people have a bar in their back room and invite friends, but the rest go to a bar, Some have a pool, but the rest go to a public pool. So if some people will pay to have a game run for them, which has a nice clean start, middle and end, is structured, run professionally, friendly and enjoyable, then more to them.

Now.. how do I get my players to post social media of our games.. lol..

The Little RPG Group - Merinid_DE

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