I went self-employed in May this year and although things have been tight on the money front work opportunities have started to come through the door, to the point where I get at least one email every second day enquiring about the availability of my short film scripts, or my help in some way.
While I was trying to establish myself as a self-employed writer, I was happy to let directors have my scripts for a writing credit and a DVD copy of the finished film, but work has been piling up to such an extent I felt I could no longer afford to do this. I have a pregnant wife, a dog and a three-year-old boy to support, as well as a bad Xbox habit....I can handle it....honest!
I had an email this morning from a director asking if I had any new short scripts, ones that weren't on my website. I didn't so I wrote back to the lady concerned and said I was happy to write one for her on spec, but that I would have to charge her for it. If there was a script on my site she was interested in then I might have been inclined to let her have it for nothing, but as writing a new one would involve some work from me, I decided that now was the time to start charging for my services. I fully expect never to hear from the director again, but it's a chance I have to take if I am to be a success as a freelance writer. I don't want to have to go back to full-time work...it would kill me....seriously!
So right now I'm wondering if I've done the right thing? Should I relent and start doing work again for free? But I know I can't really, it would be a backward step, one I am not prepared to take. Scary times.
Wish me luck.