From the Annals of Freelancing: Object Lesson #1

So I became a freelancer 100% as of February of this year. For awhile I was scrambling around for work and I wanted to take everything that came my way. I quickly learned this was a bad idea, but not before a few interesting experiences.

Probably the most interesting involved doing re-told Bible stories for young adults. I was really appreciative that my friend had recommended them and I read through all of their extremely horrible instructional information soberly.

As part of the indoctrination, I then took a conference call with the CEO and their creative director. I really didn’t know what to expect, except that they would be telling me more about the project.

What I did know upfront is that for their version, they were changing the name of the snake to something like Scottie and having him tell fart jokes…in addition to tempting Eve and all. That probably should have tipped me off.

So I get on the phone and the creative director tells me right off the bat that he’s an ex-comics executive, in a ham-handed style right out of Used Car Salesman Don’ts, adding, “This ain’t like writing for your penny dreadfuls, Jeff. This is mainstream audience. This isn’t penny dreadful work, Jeff.”

Okay…what the hell is a penny dreadful, was my first thought. And where can I get me some of that?

Followed by: “You can’t go wrong if you just think of Adam as being like Batman, except without parents.”

Batman, without parents. Okay…

And then, this kicker: “Pitch me the Tree of Life, Jeff. Pitch me the Tree of Life.”

Me: “Pitch you the Tree of Life? Um…what?”

“Ya know, how would you deal with the Tree of Life.”

“Um. Mysterious. Unknowable. Dappled in sunlight?”

And it just went downhill from there.

I wound up not doing anything for them. But it was an instructional experience in freelancing. Most definitely.


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