I woke up early today to go to a meeting for a new client. It’s another freelance job. It’s writing a concept and a script for a corporate anniversary video. The agency I’m working with is new but the client that we both have is an old one that I had worked for before.
After the creative briefing was done, I found myself asking the agency, “So, how quickly does our client pay after submission of my script?”
They didn’t bat an eyelash. It was a valid question; a question they had an answer to. They told me that it takes this client years to pay but I shouldn’t worry because they will cover all the suppliers’ costs. If anyone will be chasing the client for payment, it will be them.
I was very thankful about this. Rare is it to find an agency that protects its suppliers in this way. I’ve been part of productions and projects were everyone down the line were waiting for the client to release the payment months and months after the project had been finished and released.
This industry is not for the faint of heart. You need to toughen up, be unafraid and unashamed to ask for your money for the work you’ve provided, and to be persistent and patient about it.
And you have to be able to work out your finances so that you will always have money coming in at all times. It’s never constant, it’s never stable this industry. You work and gain a reputation. You make demands and you stick by them. And you don’t stop working so that the money keeps flowing.
I remember when I was working solely on a freelance basis, the money I was receiving for any month was from projects I had worked on weeks and weeks ago. The work was constant for me back then. I was always working so every month I was collecting. I didn’t stop working and the money just kept coming in but never when they said it would.
I made a living that way but I was tired. I was very, very tired.
And I can’t do that anymore. I can’t live like that anymore and I’m so thankful for the teaching job to give me that sense of stability. I really want it to be my regular job and I really want it to pay for my monthly expenses so I can give up this stupid freelance life because it’s not good.
The industry isn’t getting any better. People are waiting longer and longer before they get their paycheck for a project that was already negotiated down and set on a tight schedule. I want to be able to be in a situation where I can pick and choose my projects because I’m sick and tired of being at the mercy of these blasted multi-national companies who earn billions and can’t pay people in time for whatever reason they give.
How is it that it’s come to the point now where I can ask bluntly what kind of client I have when it comes to payment and the agency who is hiring me has a ready answer and takes no offense at the inquiry?
I want to get out. I want to finish my Masters and get to a point where I can live on teaching alone and then work on projects on the side because I want to work on that project and not because I need to.
Write an article that interests me or profile someone who is deserving of it. Write a movie. Do a documentary. Write in a web series. Anything and only because I want to and not because I need the money.
This freelance life is no longer for me. I have spent the last two months asking for payment, working on projects that keep getting delayed and pushed back for no real reason. I’m done. I’m so done with this life.
I’m tired and I have found another passion that is so much more deserving of my time.