Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What do you REALLY want as a freelancer?

My freelance career, such as it is, needs a reboot. Although I am making about four times as much per month as I was when I started this blog, it is still not enough to cover what I need to cover at this point.  I am also getting seriously burnt out -- even testy, which is a sure sign that something needs to change.

I picked up a book called The Wealthy Freelancer at the library. I think I'm going to buy my own copy because despite the cheesy cover -- which shows a low-slung cherry red sports car that looks like something out of a male midlife-crisis fantasy -- the book is encouraging and I think will both spark practical ideas and help me believe in myself, as corny as the latter may sound.

So far, I just read the introduction, which invites readers to dream big dreams. The authors suggest we write down the answers to four questions: What type of projects do we want? What type of clients do we want? What income do we want to earn for our project work? and What lifestyle do we want for our freelance business?

The authors write, "We can't stress enough how important it is to dream big. Don't hold back or try to rationalize or settle." The idea is that even if your goals are not attainable right now, by holding them up as signposts, you'll be heading in the right direction.

I did answer the questions for myself. Though I don't think I have the guts to share the answers publicly, I do think the exercise was beneficial.

By the way, all this talk about dreaming dreams reminded me of Susan Boyle's famous performance of the song I Dreamed a Dream on Britain's Got Talent in front of Simon Cowell.  Ironically, the lyrics to that song are bitter and angry -- about dreams that will never come true -- the exact opposite of the optimistic message conveyed by The Wealthy Freelancer. But, of course, in real life, Susan Boyle's dream did come true, though not without some difficulties along the way. 

And speaking of Susan Boyle -- I just Googled to see what she has been doing recently, and it turns out there is going to be a documentary on Ovation tonight at 10 pm ET called Susan Boyle: Her Secret Struggle, where she will talk about living with Asperger's.  (Weird that I was thinking about her tonight for no particular reason, and it turns out a documentary about her is about to air in 45 minutes -- though unfortunately on a channel I don't think I get.)

I wonder if Susan Boyle ever sat down, long before her breakthrough moment on TV, and did an exercise where she wrote down the most audacious, impossible dream she could think of  -- perhaps a wish to record an album which would become a #1 best seller around the world.


  1. Hey May.

    Interesting (and I really mean "interesting", not "interesting") that you would use the Susan Boyle video in this post. I seem to remember an interview with James Cameron in which he attributed part of the "success" in finally getting Les Miserables on film to Ms Boyle, as her inspirational story (so to speak) brought attention not only to the "ugly duckling" aspect of her entering the public eye but also had people getting more interested in the source of the song she chose to pry open a spot for herself in her chosen dream.

    Another song that I would suggest to readers would be from "Sunday in the Park with George"-- "Putting it together". (skip to 5.20 for the song).

    Though it can seem rather crude, the lyrics of this song try to bring the "artist" into the steps that follow the elaboration of the dream, the realization of the inspiration. Sondheim is clearly stating that, whatever the art may be, one must not only dream and take advantage of inspiration but must also collaborate with one's fellows on many different levels. It is the work of the artist to manipulate and construct all parts that will lead to his/her whole.

    And who would think that such could be said in American Musical Theatre (and remember, this is the same guy who wrote: "Keep away from her / send for Chino / this is not the / Maria we know!"-- West Side Story)?


  2. revel -- That's interesting that Susan Boyle's singing that song enabled the movie to be made. I did not know that. (By the way, I signed up to read the novel Les Miserables for a book group, but I think I may chicken out, as it is VERY long. Though everyone I know who's read it, loved it.)

    I got very excited last night because I Googled "Ovation" and my cable company and saw that the cable company had actually signed up the station a few months ago. But when I went to watch the special, I found out that the station wasn't on the (cheap and meager) line-up of stations I'm subscribed to.

    I'm really interested in hearing about how Boyle copes with Asperger's. Maybe the documentary will show up for free somewhere, sometime.'

    I've never seen SITPWG -- and after seeing that clip, now I want to. Was that Patinkin playing Geoge? Great energy.

    I had a darker take on the song though -- I thought it was about an artist fed up with the need to kiss up to the people who would finance his work.

  3. The entire video with Bernadette Peters and Mandy Pantinken (sp) is on YouTube somewhere, it's a recording made in 1986 (and the clip I offered is from that same video). I had the wonderful experience of working in the costume company when the show moved to Broadway, got to meet both Peters and Mandy (Bernadette was a doll, very sweet, Mandy was an asshole, full of his own talent and fame; however, the actress who took the cake was Barbara Byrne who played his mother in the first act and the art critic in the second act, not only a wonderful actress, but also a wonderful person, aware that despite her "fame" she was still a working person who respected others who worked in theatre despite not being seen-- she was also Constanza's mother in "Amadeus" the film). The entire creation of the show was magical and inspirational and seeing it in previews (when things were still being written and tried out!) was a special moment in my life in theatre.

    Do read Les Miserables. I downloaded an ebook version for my new intelligent phone, it is very, very long (like five volumes, each with a number of books inside), Hugo does wander but offers so much historical and cultural background (I learned soooo much about the battle of Waterloo, probably more than I wanted to, doesn't have much to do with the actual story but certainly was educational). I've got reading material for the next year in this "novel"-- if I'm not wrong, part of the length was due to the thing having been serialized, like Dickens' novels-- but it is so cleverly written, so full of detail and story, it's really difficult to imagine that those French writers thought they could make a musical out of it.

    As to the darker take, well, in part you're right. On the other hand, this take is a bit because seeing the clip out of context. In the first act, Georges Serraut is castigated specifically for NOT kissing ass, thus dies young without having reached fame. In the second act, his supposedly great-grand son, George, has achieved fame in the art world of his time through that ass-kissing his ancestor refused to do.

    Thus, at the end, when his great-grandmother appears to him and tells him to "move on" with the lyric "stop worrying if your vision is new / let others make that decision / they usually do", the George seen in the song "putting it together" realizes that despite what has to be done to be seen, what he is showing comes from himself and not from the actual placement of lips to arse.

    Do watch the video, only Sondheim can make a musical out of a painting with such complex themes and make it work. I heard that there were lines of producers eager to produce a piece that had begun as a simple workshop piece on off-broadway. It is now a classic, much more so than "Urinetown", for example! ha.



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