Freelance round-up: This month in writing

Blogger bites back

We’ve probably all had our unfair share of payment woes whilst we’ve been freelancing. One freelancer, though, decided naming and shaming was the way to get her dosh. Tina Dupuy, a US-based freelance writer, took issue with the Tampa Tribune after an editor there used an article she sent in but didn’t pay her for it. The paper argued that she had never asked for payment or permission to use the article when she sent it in.

Tina was having none of it, though, and she took the unusual method of making a YouTube video about her plight. The freelance community got behind Tina, with one publicist even calling the editor to tip him off about the video. Happily the paper coughed up Tina’s $75.

Even if you can’t see yourself turning screen starlet every time an invoice isn’t paid, the videos are worth watching just for the funny voices.

Headline hilarity

Writers and editors need to have a good eye for detail and it’s a sickening feeling if you ever notice a typo or mistake when something’s been published.

Spare a thought, though, for the poor sub at the News of the World when they spotted the brilliant headline Can Dec Anally match Ant? in print. Of course, it’s a question many of us have been asking ourselves about the Geordie duo for some time but, surprisingly, this headline was actually an error.

The Guardian explains how it happened, so headline-tinkerers out there beware!

Chris de Burgh sees red over review

Do you ever wonder if anyone actually reads your writing? Peter Crawley, a journalist at the Irish Times, probably didn’t anticipate that Chris de Burgh would be reading the review of his latest concert, let alone sending in a personal and lengthy response.

Well, de Burgh definitely had been reading the review and it’s fair to say he wasn’t impressed. In a hilarious riposte to Crawley’s unfavourable review, Chris de Burgh is refreshingly unrestrained, pointing out that an actress has called the journalist a “loathsome little turd” and asking whether he was called “creepy Crawley” at school. He wrote: “I have sympathy for your position, as it must be so poisonous to have to lurk in the shadows, rifling through the garbage bins of despair and avoiding those who think that you are an irrelevance, an irritation to be ignored and laughed about.”

Peter Crawley told Hot Press magazine that it was “almost touching” that de Burgh had taken the time to do his research before writing his response. He also said he had agreed to take de Burgh up on his offer to meet. He hasn’t heard back…

Feedback fury

If you make your living from a professional service, it can be irksome, not to mention awkward, when a friend asks for a freebie.

In a month when quite a few people seem to be getting hot under the collar, screenwriter Josh Olson has also sounded off about just how much this annoys him. In an expletive-littered blog post (don’t click on the link below if you’re averse to the odd F-bomb here and there!) on Village Voice, he lets us in on what is now his eyebrow-raising responses to any chancers who might be thinking of asking him to “just look over” their writing. To paraphrase: the answer is most definitely “no”.

In the blog, Olson, who was the screenwriter for A History of Violence, recounts the times he has been asked to read over acquaintances’ scripts and felt guilty for neglecting his paid work to reluctantly do so.

He writes: “You are not owed a read from a professional, even if you think you have an in, and even if you think it's not a huge imposition. It's not your choice to make. This needs to be clear - when you ask a professional for their take on your material, you're not just asking them to take an hour or two out of their life, you're asking them to give you – gratis - the acquired knowledge, insight, and skill of years of work. It is no different than asking your friend the house painter to paint your living room during his off hours.”

So there.


Sarah Wray 

Freelance Alliance Profile  l  Website



30th September 2009

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