One of the struggles of being a freelancer is known as the “Freelancer’s Dilemma.” Simply put, it states that you never say no to a job for fear that they will stop asking. And that’s why, looking back on the first 9 months of 2009, I wonder if I haven’t made some mistakes.
I had a miniseries on the table as soon as I was done with Top Cow. The creators were all about me being on board, but it was a complicated project and I had to make sure I had the right take on it, or I’d be doing them and my career a disservice. Ultimately, while I liked the project, it wasn’t the right thing for me because I knew it wasn’t something I had the ability to make great. With a heavy heart and diminishing funds, I turned it down. Luckily I’m still talking to the same crew about other work, but I have no idea if/when that’ll materialize. For the record, the writer who did take the gig is a much better choice and I think can make it a great book.
I’ve turned down two full-time editing gigs. They weren’t the right fit. When I went freelance, I told myself that this was a no looking back sort of thing, and I’d push as far as I could until there was no writing work out there to be found. I was only going back to staff editing if I got some crazy job (a high level editing gig with Marvel working out of the LA office for example). I was going to make it writing.
I did a treatment for a feature film/series on spec. The intention was that if I nailed it I would write the feature or be a staff writer on the series (they were pitching it both ways). So when the call came in at 5pm that they needed something the following morning, I stepped up big, wrote something pretty damn good (with a twist I’m still really proud of) and delivered what they needed for the meeting. And then they sold the project. The people that bought it wanted to use other writers (I wrote about this in my ‘Be a Professional’ entry way back), so that meant my services were no longer needed. It sucked, but it’s also totally understandable. Especially for this guy, who’s now developed treatments for two projects that have sold, and then he’s been asked off them. It happens, it’s Hollywood, deal.
It hasn’t been all bad. I’ve had Marvel ask me to pitch on projects (which will lead to an upcoming feature in December when a certain book is out – I didn’t get it), I’ve gotten my first story with DC, a new series with Bryan Hill and some fantastic artists at Top Cow (as well as some one-shots), and a long-gestating project at Archaia. Plus another publisher and I have been trying to find something for me to write through some weird circumstances, and it looks like that’s finally happening. I also started a consulting business – Comic Book Consulting. For a guy who was known primarily as an editor before this calendar year, I’m not doing so bad.
I’ve also said yes to a lot of things that never happen. People tell me they’re hot on something or want to do X, and then I’m left holding the phone (usually for months). I say yes, I wait, and then nothing happens. No one told me freelancing was like hustling. And it’s like that 24/7 even when you think it’s going to be smooth sailing after Y. But I’ve read Iceberg Slim, so I’m handling it.
Each mistake leads to another opportunity. I’ve hit every deadline and kept every door wide open. Just need a few more of them to make it through the tough times. Hopefully the Long Beach Comic Con will lead to some opportunities for me. I’ll be attending the show all three days, and hope to see some familiar faces and catch up with a lot of friends.
Here’s my schedule for the show:
4pm – 5pm Top Cow booth #365
2pm – 2:45pm Editing in Comics panel – Room C
4pm – 5pm Top Cow booth #365
1pm -2pm Top Cow booth #365
Other than that I’ll be floating, so give me a buzz if you’d like to meet or hook up.