(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Fat (Rodney Dangerfield Edition)

I have held many jobs in my time. My career path has been bizarre and wandering. I have never gotten less respect than I do as a writer, and since I'm feeling 'bemused' rather than 'angry' about that right now, I'mma gonna write about it.

When I say 'respect' I don't mean personally, like 'You're no good at this'. I mean professionally. I got more professional courtesy in my time working fast food than I have as a writer.

This comes to mind because recently I was approached for a writing job. A friend of mine and seven of his friends are making a game, and my friend (who I will call Tiny) asked me if I'd be interested in doing the writing. Hey, a relaxing side project. Sure, sounded like fun. Then a couple of weeks ago I found out that no, they're serious, and they offered me money. 500e is not huge in the scheme of things, but it means they're serious. So I got seriously to work, and after checking every step along the way if they liked the ideas, I was told to scrap everything because I had misunderstood the project. So I got into contact with the project lead, who seems to have not actually gotten any of my messages or had any of hers passed to me. I'm not sure, because when I ask her questions she lectures me about writing instead of answering them. And now she hasn't answered my email in a week. I'm hoping THAT is just the holidays, but damn.

That project still may work out, it may just be communications problems, but I'm less than hopeful because it's not exactly new.

See, early in the year I got contacted by an animation studio. Honest to Celestia animation studio in India, established and at least moderately successful - I checked. They wanted to produce a cartoon for the American market, and needed a writer. They professed to love every idea I gave them. Then they got slow answering my emails. I was told the marketing department wanted to develop a certain character idea. I thew a pitch at them. They told me they liked it and wanted more development. I threw a more developed version at them. It's been about six months, and they never answered my email. The person I know personally in the company told me that they weren't upset with me, but to forget about them until and unless they got back to me. Probably marketing canceled the whole project - that's really common in animation. But damn, the professional discourtesy in being unwilling to tell me, right?

Or I could go back to when I tried to submit for freelance to Klasky-Csupo, carefully following their submission instructions and providing the proper waivers, only to be told that they no longer accepted submissions. See, they'd changed their policy to only working with a set of preapproved agents, but they hadn't bothered to change the phone line that explained how to submit. PROFESSIONAL COURTESY.

And the 'Next issue!' magazine debacle...

Whew! That was fun to get off my chest. Am I just unlucky, or do all writers get treated like they're expendable?

1 comment:

  1. (First attempt at a comment got eaten by a redirect loop...trying again.)

    I think writers have it worse than most professions, because deep down everyone *thinks* they can write, but very few people actually can. I think, however, that this is also a general problem for freelancers. You're not an employee, and you're someone they've probably never met, so when they decide they don't need your services you seem like a service they can cancel, like an unwanted newspaper subscription. They don't feel the twinge of breaking a human connection the way they would if they fired someone who worked in the same office as them.

    I think this is why people who are well-known enough to have some clout tend to insist on up-front contracts that promise payment in return for certain milestones; that way they get *some* compensation for their work even if the project fizzles. Otherwise you're basically working on spec, which means you end up doing a lot of work for free.