After Your First Paying Gig

The dust clears, you’ve finished your first ever paying project and you’re feeling affirmed by the cheque burning the crease of your palm. Your first question, of course, is, Do Credit Suisse accept KiwiBank cheques?

Other questions soon assail you:

  • What are my financial obligations? Do I need an accountant? If I can’t afford an accountant, what’s a handy accounting tool I can use – a spreadsheet or something more powerful? If I must start from scratch, who/where can I get the information, in plain English, to get me started?
  • What is my work worth? What if the producer laughs when I show them the Guild Recommended Minimums? How can I set my price?
  • What are my legal obligations? Do I need a lawyer? If I can’t afford a lawyer, what’re the bare essentials I need to know regarding my contracts?
  • How do I get more work? Do I have to market myself? How do I market myself? Do I need an agent? How do I get an agent? Do I need a manager? How do I get one? Do I have to network?

Yes, your first gig tastes sooo sweet – you’re no longer some wet-nosed I’ll-get-around-to-it dreamer. You’re a professional screenwriter now, baby.

As Spiderman discovered, with great power comes great responsibility.

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2 Replies to “After Your First Paying Gig”

  1. CONGRATS!!! You fully deserved that – it was a long time coming. As far as those questions go – can’t be of much help as I haven’t hit that point yet – I am still “a wet nosed I’ll-get-around-to-it” dreamer. (:-)

  2. thanks, Mr T. it was a just general kinda post, kicked off by someone asking what a professional writer had to be aware of in a business sense.

    i also think you’re far too modest in your “I haven’t hit that point yet” – you’re a self-starter in that you get your money almost directly from your audience, not a worker-bee like myself who relies on producers to pay up (and inherent in that producer-writer relationship are all sorts of strings and steel hawsers).

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