How Not To Get Screwed Over as a Freelancer

Zacharias Legal Document Collection - 1743 Power of Attorney

During my travels as a freelance creative (I do photography, graphic design and video work) there have been a few occasions where things have not worked out as I had hoped. Recently I learned some lessons and got lots of different perspectives on how to keep myself safe in client relationships.

Here are the tips I collected:

  1. Create a contract. This contract should have clear terms and conditions such as payment information, cost, delivery method, communication guidelines, copyright information and usage. This site, has some great tips and links to which provides free, open source legal documents for use.
  2. Someone recommended getting referrals to me before working with a new client. Most of my clients have been friends or friends of friends and with these people I have had few conflicts.
  3. Get 50% payment up front (deposit) and have the client pay the balance upon delivery of the finished product. This is especially important for substantial jobs.
  4. Watermark all drafts and content sent before payment is delivered.
  5. Include a creative brief (either in written or oral format) to explain why you made certain choices to the client. This can be helpful in ensuring clear communication.
  6. If someone does not pay you a substantial amount of money and they are a homeowner, it is possible to put a “lean” on their house, and they will need to pay you before they can sell their property.
  7. Get a new job! Freelance work is not for everyone and running your own business can be hard. A different job might be the best thing your your lifestyle and preferences.
  8. Small Claims Court (at least in BC) can help you with amounts over $1000 but will probably cost you more than it’s worth for smaller amounts.

Stay Safe! Thanks to Allison, Jeremy, Sam, Julian, Cedric, Amanda, Jacquie, Jay, Dari, and everyone else who contributed to this list and gave me their wisdom!

Monologue Madness: Long Monologues (5 minutes and over)

In January 2010, the big 'W' sign was put back in place atop the newly renovated original 1903 Woodward's Building on Hastings and Abbott street

There have been so many changes and exciting things in my life recently I have not had time to write about all of them… or even most of them! One of amazing things that made me jump up and down and hop around my hotel room (I was in Indiana for my sister’s graduation from nursing school when I found out) was being accepted into the BFA Theatre Performance program at SFU! I have decided to try and finish two degrees (my previous joint major between Interactive Arts + Technology and Communications and now the Theatre Performance major in addition). Bam! It will be fun. Anywho… in my acceptance letter for the program I was also given my first assignment. I need to come into class on the first day with a 5 minute monologue memorized. No big deal right?

At first I was excited and then I began to see how challenging it is to find a monologue of that length from a published play. Phew! Luckily I have some great mentors who gave me some suggestions. I read ALL of these plays before I finally decided on a excerpt from Adult Child/Dead Child by Claire Dowie. I wanted to publish this list to help others who may be looking for long pieces of text. Break a leg!

Long Female Monologues:

  • Autobahn by Neil LaBute
  • Problem Child by George F. Walker
  • Five Women Wearing the Same Dress by Alan Ball
  • The Shape of Things by Neil LaBute
  • The Occupation of Heather Rose by Wendy Lill
  • Theresa’s Creed by Michael Cook
  • The Weir by Conor McPherson
  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill
  • Lion in the Street by Judith Thompson
  • The Russian Play by Hannah Moscovitch
  • USSR by Hannah Moscovitch
  • My Pyramids by Judith Thompson (in Palace of the End)
  • Instruments of Yearning by Judith Thompson (in Palace of the End)
  • Body and Soul (in Palace of the End)
  • Faith Healer by Brian Friel
  • Medea Redux by Neil Labute
  • Homebody/Kabul by Tony Kushner
  • Dying to be Thin by Linda Carson
  • Adult Child/Dead Child by Claire Dowie

Long Male Monologues:

  • Billy Bishop Goes to War by John Gray with Eric Peterson
  • Lion in the Street by Judith Thompson
  • Harrowdown Hill by Judith Thompson (in Palace of the End)
  • Faith Healer by Brian Friel
  • IIphigenia inOrem by Neil Labute

Further Reading: What I meant was by Craig Lucas (might have something, didn’t get to this one)

Special Thanks to Patti Allan (and all her awesome friends at Bard on the Beach which you should totally go see btw), Deborah Solberg from Theatrix Youtheatre and Dolores Drake for their contributions to this list. I could not have done this without their suggestions and insight.

Hot Yoga 2 Bipolar


Goodness it has been a while! I am looking forward to blogging more soon with updates and discoveries from my fruitful few months but today I am writing in response to a particular inspiration… this is the sort of post I probably shouldn’t publish, that ends up being the most helpful to others so…

Today I did hot yoga for the first time. It was a very awakening experience for me. At the start of the class the teach recited a mantra something along the lines of you control your own experience… choose in the space between stimulus and response… Upon hearing this my reaction was control? I don’t have control. I cry. I feel frustrated. This is how I respond when the unexpected occurs. I have spent lots of time preaching that people can choose their emotions and how they respond to situations. I have fallen from the path. I have preached that true happiness comes from within and that external things cannot create those conditions, and yet I want my soft pyjamas and my fluffy towel and my mango smoothie. These things keep me who I am. Or perhaps they stop me from being who I am meant to be. Sometimes, they keep me in the game…

I have emerged over the past year in a pattern. Every three our four months I stay home for three our four days, sometimes a week. I do not leave the house, and if I have to I wear sunglasses so no one can see me weep. I cry, I feel angry, I feel sad, I sleep. Mostly I sleep. But even then I am unable to separate myself from the never-ending to do list of my life, so I watch movies. I create to-do’s. I stop eating, or I eat too much. Or I make a green smoothie and slowly stabilize myself enough to return to society.

I really identified with how Bukowski described it in this interview…

I wonder as well if these episodes have been a result of high stress situations. Legal disputes, heartbreak, loosing friends, death-related grief, overwhelm… I always end up in these high stress positions. Or I have not yet learned how to manage that. Or perhaps I am managing it quite well.

I first self-diagnosed myself with depression in tenth grade when they called my Mom and forced me to leave the school because I didn’t want to live anymore. That was rockbottom for me. But things went way up from there. Which leads me to a new self-diagnosis: bipolar II. Within those days when I stay home every few months I go up and down. From extreme sadness to optimism and laughter, sometimes within seconds. And then the sun rises and I return to life as I know it. And soon inspiration finds me and I am standing and weeping tears of joy because I am overwhelmed with the ingenuity of humanity and the universe. And so the cycle continues.

But is this just part of the human experience? Do not all people experience great joy and great sadness? Isn’t that the essence of being alive? I would like to find out.

Part of me wants to get and official diagnosis so I can prove that I am a very high functioning person, and that pharmaceuticals aren’t necessary to survive. Part of me is scared it might make things more complicated for me. Even if diagnoses by a physician I would not pursue any treatment. I don’t take drugs (back on the straight edge path) and I do not find counselling helpful. So I guess I just ponder.

Oh, and keep stretching!

Good night.