When you make your living as a creative freelancer, you're constantly getting asked to work on spec, as in: "Could you do this for us and if we get any traction there will be some work/money in it for you down the road." The future employment, that's always the carrot dangled in front of your nose.
And when you're starting out, you do need to take on some of those freebies. Because you need to get noticed. Because you need to show what you've got. Because you need to start building professional relationships. But the problem so many of us face is that even after doing it successfully for years, decades even, you'll still get the "We've got no money, but could you whip something up?" calls.
The following are two Friday Fun examples of what you wish you could say instead of "Sure thing. I'll get right on it." They're from the worlds of advertising and graphic design, but they absolutely apply to screenwriting or making TV.
The first is a hilarious e-mail exchange between David Thorne and a prospective client. It's from Thorne's website 27b/6 .
From: Simon Edhouse
Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 4.10pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design
Anyone else would be able to see the opportunity I am presenting but not you. You have to be a f*cking smart arse about it. All I was asking for was a logo and a few pie charts which would have taken you a few f*cking hours.
From: David Thorne
Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 4.25pm
To: Simon Edhouse
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design
Actually, you were asking me to design a logotype which would have taken me a few hours and fifteen years experience. For free. With pie charts. Usually when people don't ask me to design them a logo, pie charts or website, I, in return, do not ask them to paint my apartment, drive me to the airport, represent me in court or whatever it is they do for a living. Unfortunately though, as your business model consists entirely of "Facebook is cool, I am going to make a website just like that", this non exchange of free services has no foundation as you offer nothing of which I wont ask for.
Go read the rest of the transcript HERE, with pie charts and everything. Simply brilliant.
The other example is in the same vein and pretty self explanatory. And pretty funny.
Because they make me smile.
H/T Matt MacLennan H/T Jay Robertson