The Born Freelancer on Brief Encounters and Memorable Journeys

This series of posts by the Born Freelancer shares personal experiences and thoughts on issues relevant to freelancers. Have something to add to the conversation? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.


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Talking to strangers on cross-country trains and planes really is anathema to many of you.

I’ve heard your horror stories. Trapped for hours beside the passenger who bores you to within inches of hari-kari or murder. 

My experiences generally have been the diametric opposite.

I’ve heard some amazing stories and life secrets from complete strangers.

Over the years I have written up or mentally filed away dozens and dozens of such encounters. 

Many have found their way, one way or another, into my creative endeavors.

For you see, I’m not just a sympathetic listener. I’m a writer.

And I’m convinced everybody has a story worth hearing.

I am also a card-carrying, professional parasite

We writers are parasites.

That may sound harsh but it’s true. We sift and sort through other people’s lives (not just our own) so that we can write about them – or be inspired by them – in fiction or non-fiction form. 

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Posted on May 3, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer April 25-May 1

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on May 1, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Media Mixer: Freelancer or Employee?

by Shelley Pascual

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Lise Lareau, Tassia Poynter and Denise O’Connell at the media mixer in Toronto. Photo by Shelley Pascual

“We need these media mixers to get to know one another, support one another and more importantly, push each other to advance our interests collectively,” said Lise Lareau, a top union official for the Canadian Media Guild.

Lareau moderated a panel discussion about the distinction between one’s rights as an independent contractor versus as an employee in Ontario at Watson’s pub in downtown Toronto on April 25, 2017. The event was hosted by the Canadian Media Guild and CWA Canada.

Media workers, freelancers, union members, students and journalists came together for the evening to network and to gather tips on how to navigate the media industry from two speakers: Tassia Poynter and Denise O’Connell.

The panelists

Tassia Poynter is a civil, employment and labour lawyer at Cavalluzzo law firm. Recently, she’s been helping the Canadian Media Guild with several campaigns, such as the addition of the newest member to the guild, Vice Canada Union.

Denise O’Connell is a journalist with 20 years’ experience producing for some of the largest broadcasters in North America. She’s also an organizer at the Canadian Media Guild currently working to bring bargaining rights to the reality and factual TV business.

Here’s some of the advice the panelists gave during the talk.
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Posted on April 28, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Ticket giveaway for National Magazine Awards gala May 26 in Toronto


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The 2017 National Magazine Awards nominations were announced last week and, as always, freelancers figure prominently among the nominees. And two of them are members of CMG Freelance.

Congratulations to Alison Motluk, whose piece “A Journey to the Medical Netherworld” is nominated in the Personal Journalism category. And congratulations to Kalli Anderson, whose article “Cannabis Kids” is nominated in the Feature Writing category. We wish them luck at the upcoming awards gala, on May 26th in Toronto.

The Magazine Awards are offering a special deal on gala tickets to freelancers this year. If you’ve been nominated for an award, you can get a ticket to the reception, dinner, and awards show for a discounted rate of $35 (down from the regular price of $135). These discounted tickets are in limited supply, so email staff@magazine-awards.com to reserve yours today.

CMG Freelance has a free gala ticket to give away to one of our members. If you’d like to be entered in a draw to win the ticket, email freelance@cmg.ca

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

CMG Freelance compiling a freelance contract tips sheet

When it comes to contracts, if you’re not sure what they mean, ask for help. Ask your colleagues. Ask the CMG. Use the ‘Lancer email list or the Story Board Facebook group to ask around for someone who has signed (or read but not signed) a contract for the place you’re hoping to work for.

Let’s work together to find out where the good, bad, and ugly contracts are. The Canadian Media Guild is embarking on a new mission to do just this.

So, bring us your contracts! Send them to CMG Freelance branch president Don Genova at freelance@cmg.ca. Your name and identifying details will be redacted, and your contributions will help the CMG develop a tip sheet for members so that we’re all better informed about indemnity clauses and contract literacy. Watch this space for more details.

Posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:19 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Events for freelancers in Halifax May 3

Halifax freelancers, students and media workers, mark your calendars for a couple of great networking and professional development events planned for Wednesday, May 3.

First of all, you’re invited to a free information session and lunch from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Dalhousie University Club Great Hall (1 Alumni Crescent). Speakers at the event include journalist Sandra Phinney, who will talk about expanding your portfolio and increasing your income, and journalist and Canadian Media Guild Freelance Branch president Don Genova, who will talk about the increasing need to know your contracts and know your worth. This event is free to attend and lunch will be provided. Please register for a spot at this Eventbrite page.

Later that same day, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., there’s a free media mixer planned at The Auction House (1726 Argyle Street) that will give you the opportunity to network with colleagues and meet mentors.

Mentors for the evening event include Michael MacDonald (Canadian Press), Allison Saunders (The Coast Halifax), Alexander Quon (freelance journalist), Jacob Boon (The Coast Halifax), Priya Sam (CTV Atlantic), Haley Ryan (Metro Halifax), Andrew Pinsent (News 97.5 Halifax), Maureen Googoo (), Stephen Brake (), Allan April (CTV Atlantic), and Jerri Southcott (CBC Halifax). Free snacks and drinks will be available. For more information or to register for this event check out this Eventbrite page.

Both of these events are hosted by CMG Freelance and CWA Associate Members.

 

Posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:02 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer April 19-24

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

  • Urban Worker Skillshare April 29 in Toronto: If you’re in the Toronto area, come and join CMG Freelance and the Urban Worker Project for a day-long workshop and after party for freelance and contract workers…
  • Media Mixer in Toronto April 25: Toronto freelancers, students and media workers, come out for an evening of networking to talk about myths, facts and tips for navigating the media industry…

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on April 24, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Urban Worker Skillshare April 29 in Toronto

conference.share.squareIf you’re in the Toronto area, come and join CMG Freelance and the Urban Worker Project for a day-long workshop and after party for freelance and contract workers.

It’s happening on Saturday, April 29th from 9:30 to 6 p.m. at Story Arts Centre, Centennial College (951 Carlaw Avenue). It’s an opportunity for freelancers to get together, network and share resources.

There will be lawyers, accountants and other experts leading sessions on the business side of self-employment, including seminars on taxes, setting rates, writing contracts, invoicing, getting paid on time and more.

There will also be some discussion of the big picture issues we’re facing – like access to affordable housing, benefits, childcare and income security and what we can do to make change.

Participants will leave with a package that includes contract templates, resources useful to freelancers and swag from partnering organizations.

Tickets to the daytime event are being offered on a sliding scale: $20, $50 or pay-what-you-can. For details and to register for the event check out this Eventbrite page.

CMG Freelance has a limited number of free tickets to give away for this event. If you’d like one of them, you can email Don Genova at freelance@cmg.ca for a promo code. Priority will be given to CMG Freelance and CWA Canada Associate Members. Please include your CMG Freelance membership number in your email.

 

Posted on April 21, 2017 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , , ,

Media Mixer in Toronto April 25th

Toronto freelancers, students and media workers, come out for an evening of networking and information on April 25th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Watson’s (388 Richmond St W).

This is a free event hosted by CMG Freelance, CWA Canada Associate Members and the Fairness in Factual TV campaign to explore the subject “Freelancer or Employee? Myths, Facts and Tips for Navigating the Media Industry.”  

Speakers will include Denise O’Connell, a Toronto-based journalist, writer and producer and Tassia Poynter, an employment and labour lawyer. They will share their experience and expert advice on how to navigate the media industry as both freelancers and employees. There will be a Q&A session and plenty of time for conversation and networking.

Free snacks and drinks will be provided. Freelancers, Factual TV workers, digital media workers, students, and aspiring journalists are all welcome.

Please RSVP for the event at this Eventbrite page.

This venue is wheelchair accessible and has gender-neutral washrooms.

Posted on April 19, 2017 at 6:00 am by editor · 2 Comments · Tagged with: , , ,

Off The Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer April 11-18

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, publishing, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

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From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

  • Freelance Skillshare and community building opportunities: Considering the freelance route, jumping from the nine-to-five into the freedom of midnight keyboard sessions in your PJs? Terrified but excited, and not sure where to go for information? While there are a lot of resources out there, they’re mostly online with very little of the personal touch…
  • Access Copyright Payback claim period open until May 31: The 2017 Access Copyright Payback claim period is open from April 1st to May 31. If you’re a writer or visual artist who was affiliated with Access Copyright as of December 31, 2016, now is the time to submit a claim for this year’s payment…
  • Media Mixer in Ottawa April 20: Ottawa media workers, students and freelancers: mark your calendars for an exciting evening of mentorship and networking. You’re invited to a media mixer on April 20th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Clocktower Brew Pub…

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on April 18, 2017 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,