Filtering by Tag: FREELANCING

Don't Give Away Your Right To Negotiate For Yourself (Updated)

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to find a clause like this in a contract for a freelance article.

(*see below for an update)

Image via Magic:  The Gathering

Image via Magic: The Gathering

  1. Read your contract in full before signing it. Don’t skim-read it on autopilot.

  2. Do not agree to terms like these. You are giving away your right to negotiate.

  3. Explain the clause must be removed from this contract in order for you to sign it.

“10. Film/TV/Audiovisual Works: You hereby grant and assign to [redacted] exclusive decision-making, signing authority, and rights with respect to feature film, motion picture, video game, mobile application, television, episodic programming, and any other audiovisual work based on or derived from the Work.

[Redacted] agrees to make good faith efforts to consult with you before signing any such ancillary rights agreements.

Any monies actually received by [Redacted] upon optioning and/or selling the Work (after deduction of [Redacted]’s actual, out-of-pocket costs and expenses, including, without limitation, agency fees and other fees and expenses related to sale and exploitation thereof) will be distributed as follows:

Fixed Compensation.

i) Option Fees/Purchase Price: 50% to [Redacted], 50% to you 
ii) Royalties and/or Series Sales Bonuses (if any): 50% to [Redacted], 50% to you 
iii) Contributor Writing or Consulting Fee (if any): 100% to you 
iv) Executive Producer, Producer, or Similar Fees for [Redacted] or its employees/contractors (if any): 100% to [Redacted].

Contingent Compensation and box office bonuses (if any): 50% to [Redacted], 50% to You

It’s acknowledged that [Redacted] may have a first look or overall deal with a third party, and any guaranteed fees associated with such an agreement are expressly excluded.

Accounting statements with respect to any ancillary exploitation of rights pursuant to this Section and payments, if any, will be delivered to you within 90 days following receipt by [Redacted] of the actual monies and such statements from third party purchasers or licensees of such rights.

It is agreed and understood that the services you are furnishing under this Agreement are extraordinary, unique, and not replaceable, and that there is no fully adequate remedy at law in the event of your breach of this Agreement, and that in the event of such a breach, [Redacted] shall be entitled to equitable relief by way of injunction or otherwise. You also recognize and confirm that in the event of a breach by [Redacted] of its obligations under this Agreement, the damage, if any, caused to you by [Redacted] is not irreparable or sufficient to entitle you to injunctive or other equitable relief. Consequently, your rights and remedies are limited to the right, if any, to obtain damages at law and you will not have any right in such event to terminate or rescind this Agreement or any of the rights granted by you hereunder or to enjoin or restrain the development, production and exploitation of the rights granted pursuant to this Agreement.”

I requested the clause be removed. The editor declined, describing the contract as “writer-friendly.” I declined to sign.

Buy "The Tumor" — my short story that’s been called "a masterpiece of short fiction."

Have Laptop, Will Travel

"Flogging the Freelancer" is a blog post a day about freelancing in the gig economy. Browse the archives here.

I'll be traveling, and blogging, over the next few days, but one thing I try and do as a freelance writer is to do a story every time I travel.

So, when I went to Hawaii, I wrote "Gun Tourism Is All the Rage in Waikiki": "It was like Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California — except for instead of burning incense and selling hemp necklaces, they were hawking the fruits of the Second Amendment."

When I went to Miami, I wrote "How the Biggest Strip Club in America Grinds": "'I like dancing a lot,' she says. 'I’m not shy. I have a lot of spunk.'"

And when I went to Shanghai, I wrote "This Restaurant Is Shit": "I had no trouble eating the desserts that looked like shit at the toilet-themed restaurant."

Freelancing is about starting, and stopping, and restarting. I've found this process of living, and working, and reworking helps me stay in the flow.

You can connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and you can email me here.

How Much I Got Paid: #7

Title: Digital copywriter

Publication: N/A

Date: N/A

Word count: N/A

Payment: $100/hour

Notes: In February of 2011, I was downsized from a full-time job I had as an editor for a popular Time Warner website for women. That day, I wrote a post on my blog titled "Hire Me." Not long after, I heard from a man who worked for a big PR company in New York. He talked to me about doing some social media copywriting. He offered me $100 an hour. I took it. Over the next year and a half, I wrote digital copy for some of the world's biggest brands. My favorite assignment was pretending to be a product that talked to its fans on Facebook. I wrote scripts for commercials, became a celebrity tweet ghostwriter, and billed thousands and thousands of dollars. I was good at it, I liked it, and I could generate the online engagement the billion-dollar companies with which I worked wanted so desperately. I was a kind of Facebook whisperer. As a writer, it was the best-paying job I've ever had. One might suggest that marketing copy is thin and meaningless compared to journalism, but the reality is that every writer is in the entertainment business. The question is: How much do you want to get paid for what you do?

Conclusion: There's no shame in paying the bills.

[How Much I Got Paid]