You Tell 'Em, Harlan

Harlan Ellison's an icon: science fiction novelist/short story writer extraordinaire ("A Boy and His Dog" is just one creepy, post-apocalyptic standout) and screenwriter for Babylon Five, The Outer Limits, and Logan's Run,. But over the course of his long, productive career, the man has had enough -- more than enough -- of writers being asked to do things for free (or the good of the hive) and of writers with the I'll-do-anything-please-notice-me mentality.

The language is - uh - candid, but there's a lot here that's just plain right. Plus, it's fun to see an icon say exactly what he's thinking. Check it out.


Joni Rodgers said…
Right on!

Why should producers, publishers, or magazine editors buy the cow when they can get the milk for free? I'm often asked to speak for little or nothing "for exposure". (My speaking agent's response to that: "Why would you want to advertise yourself as someone who speaks for free?") An extremely wealthy potential ghost client recently asked me to write a book proposal "on spec", which left me utterly drop-jawed. But some other writer hopped right on that bus.

As my kids got older, I became a bull dog about getting "mommy rent" for any time I spent away from my family. That time had great value; I was not about to give it away to someone who had no respect for that.

I have to add, however, that someone in my strata would never get away with that blunt "I don't take a piss without getting paid" conversation. I have to hide behind my agent.
Joni Rodgers said…
And by "my strata", of course, I mean "down here in the trenches".
Suzan Harden said…
Leave it to Harlan to give writers real advice.

And he's very very right...
My new mantra, when asked to do things, is "What would Harlan Say?"


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