Lately I've been seeing a big surge of composers, artists, writers, designers, etc. offering free or low paid work, and all I have to ask is, why? Why undervalue yourself that way?
Let me begin by saying that I understand the notion that "Oh, I can get projects easier," or, "I don't have a portfolio yet to score some bigger projects." The problem is, is that all you are actually doing is eliminating any kind of future for yourself and others like you. Now, I don't mean you on an individual level, but when thousands of people are doing things this way, developers and producers on a mass level begin to think "Why pay this guy when I can just as easily find somebody to do it for free." You are degrading the importance of your skill, not only in the entertainment industry, but to your audience and yourself. The simple truth is, if you are trying to find projects to work on, you are obviously comfortable enough with your level of skill to accept paid work. Why spend weeks, months even, working on something that won't mean shit to anybody because you're just dishing it out for free. When was the last time you truly cared about something that you received for free? The things that you create are important, and you need to stand up for that.
If any of this sounds like you, let me give you some advice; a portfolio doesn't have to just contain projects that you were involved with. The most important thing in a portfolio is that you demonstrate that you can kick ass at whatever you do, not show that you can compose some shoddy soundtrack for some guy's lame project that you didn't care about whatsoever, which, in turn, made the overall quality suffer anyway. If you don't have much work to show off just yet, be confident and take some time to create your very best pieces for yourself. I guarantee that the work you create solely for you and your portfolio will be worlds better than anything you create for some cheap developer.