Open up my literal freelancer’s writer-broadcaster toolbox and you’ll find microphones, digital and analog recorders, umpteen cables and adapters, a couple of different cameras, a bunch of notebooks and various pens and pencils. But open up my figurative toolbox and you’ll find tools needed for my profession that are a little bit harder to describe, but ones that I’ve learned over the years.
Those tools include a knack at writing pitches or query letters to editors and producers, and knowing what sells for their particular publication or broadcast.
The other handy tool in my figurative box is another learned skill. Being able to look at a contract offered for my services and figure out how and why this ‘agreement’ meets my best interests. And then there is a very rare tool: the ability to negotiate a better deal when the contract or offer doesn’t meet my best interests. This is the tool I think many freelancers need the most help with.
And help we have, in the form of two workshops offered by the Canadian Media Guild Freelance Branch in Toronto and Vancouver. I think we’ve put together an excellent line-up of professionals to help freelancers of any level of experience learn more about pitching and negotiating. We are also giving attendees a chance to listen to and meet some of the key people who direct freelance opportunities at CBC Radio and VICE Canada.
I think we have a great lineup that will appeal to those of you who are seeking some solid tips on pitching, and especially on contracts and negotiating skills. And we have a ‘speed mentoring’ session where you can get personal feedback on stories you’re working on.
Toronto, Tuesday, April 26th: For pitching we have Jane Auster, a PWAC Editor of the Year who has written hundreds of pitches as a writer and reviewed hundreds more as an editor. Our contracts and negotiating instructor is Alison Motluk, a frequent contributor to CBC Radio and publications such as The Economist, The Walrus, and The Globe and Mail. She says she can’t remember the last time she signed a contract without negotiating changes. Tanya Springer from CBC Radio’s The Doc Project will let budding radio stars know how they can sell to CBC. Our ‘speed mentors’ include Jane Auster, Arif Noorani, Executive Producer of CBC New Programs, and Josh Visser, Managing Editor, VICE.com Canada.
Vancouver, Thursday, April 28th: Our pitching guru is Jennifer Van Evra, award-winning instructor in the UBC Writing Centre’s Freelance Journalism courses. I’ll be talking about contracts, (20 years in the business) and Patty Ducharme, CMG Western Staff Representative will talk about negotiating. Patty has an impressive background in negotiating both personal and collective contracts. CBC Radio Executive Producer Shiral Tobin is our direct line on pitching to shows in Vancouver, and our mentoring panel includes Jen Van Evra as well as Roberta Staley, award-winning freelance writer, editor and documentary producer. Roberta has written for BC Business, Vancouver Magazine, ELLE Canada, The Georgia Straight, Maclean’s and Reader’s Digest.
The workshops are free for existing CMG Freelance members. Non-members pay $150, which includes a year-long membership to our branch, with all of its many and varied benefits. http://cmgfreelance.ca/en/member-support-package/ Oh, and LUNCH is included!
Attendance is limited so we can bring you the personalized mentoring experience, so sign up soon!
Don Genova has been freelancing for 20 years with the CBC, Globe and Mail, National Post, enRoute, and a host of local and regional magazines and newspapers. As the President of CMG Freelance, Don helps negotiate and enforce the collective agreement freelancers have with the CBC, and has been instrumental in setting up an independent membership for the Freelance Branch to serve the needs of a growing segment of our media population, the self-employed.