A brief editorial.
I try not to editorialize too much.
We regularly get contacted by "filmmakers" looking to add animation or graphics to their piece. It's understood that independent artists -those making short films especially -are fairly tight on cash. Animation, though, is a time consuming process that involves expertise, capital, and years of training. These things have monetary value. That said, we've (almost) never turned away a project that was good for budgetary reasons. As long as there's a budget to be discussed.
There are other forms of payment in addition to cash considerations -after all, there needs to be an exchange of considerations for any contract to be valid. A primary additional consideration is credit. Credit for the work, not your MasterCard (though I wouldn't turn that down). The size and placement of the credit is a payment of sorts, about 1000 times less valuable than the lowest hourly rate but it's something.
"For your reel" is not a form of payment. It's hardly worth addressing it's soooooooo not a form of payment.
The one thing which bugs me most, and we've been hearing this a lot is "exposure" in lieu of greenbacks as a form of payment.
The obvious problem with that, of course, is "what? huh?". If someone can't even afford to pay the people on their film exactly what sort of "exposure" will it be getting? Will it be good as the network television work that we do? Or the feature films? Or making something on our own dime and putting it online? How, exactly, I am benefiting (i. e. getting paid) by this "exposure"?
Deeper than that, the promise of "exposure" shows a fundamental misunderstanding of animators in general (and hints, by extension, at a lack of understanding of the process). The promise of "exposure" is attractive to Donald Trump types who love the sound of their own voice, even if they're parroting vapid lines. The animator who seeks that sort of thing is very rare -that's why they gravitate towards the anonymity of the lightbox or desktop.
So, really, "exposure" is no form of payment at all and if that's what someone is offering their offer is, in fact, a net negative considering the greater "exposure" an artist would get if the committed the time to the creation of their own work instead of using it to make a gift for an aspirational entrepreneur.