Gosh, what a week!
I knew that the pictures of the book in Paddington 2, when compared to the pictures of my Pop-Up London book kind of spoke for themselves, but I really didn’t expect such a strong reaction!
On Wednesday, The Telegraph covered the story in their news section and online, the journalist I spoke to could not have been more sincere, professional and supportive. The facts were correct and the article was sensitive and rightly cautious.
On Thursday, The Mail Online ran with it, sadly I didn’t get to speak to anyone, so a few facts were incorrect. My actual fee that I quoted Studio Canal was 30k to be split between myself and the paper engineer for 6 months of solid work, not as The Mail stated, purely 30k for me (I wish!) and the reason I didn’t get the job was actually unrelated to my fee, here’s the line from Studio Canal’s email:
“I think that we are planning on going with the graphics company that could not only illustrate the book, but also make the physical copies.”
This seemed perfectly reasonable and honestly, I didn’t mind at all, until…
I saw the trailer in a cinema with my Mother and daughters, they didn’t notice as they were busy chatting and as I didn’t want to spoil the day, I kept quiet, however, I was clearly deeply distracted as leaving the cinema car parking space, I reversed into another car! Then the tears came and I had to come clean.
It was upsetting to say the least.
There have been so many generous offers of legal help and advice, suggestions of crowd funding, insurance against losses and legal representation for me. I am SO incredibly grateful for all of these offers and have been overwhelmed by people’s kindness, it has completely restored my belief that the majority of us are good people. Really good people.
I decided against facing the High Courts, not only because of the huge financial risks involved, but also, judging by the correspondence we had received (I was represented by the wonderful Teacher Stern), the defence would be incredibly bullish and fierce. The case could take weeks or months and not living in London, being Freelance and having a family, would hold its own complications and implications.
I was advised that there was a strong chance that they would settle (and hopefully apologise) out of court, but after months of legal correspondence they were very firm in their denial and we reached a brick wall.
So I took a deep breath and decided to ‘go public’ as I believed, to do nothing at all, would be an act of complete submission.
I feel so strongly that as Artists we are treated with huge disrespect. We are underpaid (“we have no budget, but will tweet/Instagram about it” is a usual response to payment) and we are copied. Cases of plagiarism by the big companies of small individual creatives are more and more frequent.
So for the sake of this wonderful creative community, I decided I just had to make this known and if in some small way, my story can help prevent further imitations of Artists work, then all of the upset and horror of it all will have in the end, been kind of worth it…