A while back, Danny Stack posted about working pro bono. It was, of course, an excellent piece – a case for being careful, weighing up the risk, and going in with your eyes open.
I’m with the New Zealand Writers Guild – “no writer should work for nothing”, particularly if you’re already a professional writer.
The following came to mind when I read Mr Stack’s post: casting director Di Rowan – who introduced the world to Anna Paquin and Keisha Castle-Hughes – said in an interview with Onfilm:
“[People] say to me, “Could you just cast this one part? And you’re not going to charge me, are you?” That puts me in a terrible position. I feel like saying, “Hang on a minute, I’ve got a builder here at the moment, I’ll just ask him if he’ll do this day for free and if he says yes, I’ll do your day for free as well.”
2 Replies to “Pro Bono or Bust”
Hi, I’ve been enjoying your blog for a month or so now. Very interesting reading. This particular post, “Pro Bono or Bust”, is relevant to me. As a “new” writer, there is no way I would hsve been able to be paid from the get-go. I have used the last year to pound the keyboard in as many forms as possible and have managed to secure an unpaid column in my local paper (which now has a sponsor and I get a paid a few dollars!), and am now onboard with an online business publication – and being paid.
I realise that you are referring to professional writers, and I am a professional marketing consultant by trade, but sometimes you do need to do something for nothing, if only to get your name known!
Looking forward to continued reading of your blog.
A Brit in the Boonies
thanks for your kind words, Helen.
i agree that sometimes unpaid writing must be done in order to get some work down the track. i’ve done my share – or, as Mr Friedman nicely put it, less than many but more than some – but what galls me is the expectation that i will just do the writing and trust that ‘we’ll sort out some payment later’. (thus i have a manager who gets to say, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”)
that’s not to say i won’t open up the laptop without the sniff of a contract – i’ve worked on projects gratis because they’ve turned me on, and been glad to.
oh, and the blog where i get to ‘witter’.