As a freelancer, especially when you’re first starting out, it can be hard to decline an offer for work. In addition to meeting deadlines and client needs you are also juggling new projects into your schedule. It’s hard to say no but in the long run it’s often beneficial to decline a project that is not the right fit for you.
Many years ago an editor approached me with a lot of money and an idea to launch a series of horror-related comics. His pitch point to me was that these would be “cutting edge” horror stories and I was intrigued and excited and the possibility of taking this project on.
It all went south when I got the first script after signing a non-disclosure agreement. The differences here seemed pretty much the same contrived horror stuff I’d seen and had taken steps to avoid.
A woman who lived alone is terrified by a stranger who at first stands on her front lawn after following her home. She locks herself inside and looking through the peep hole is even more frightened to see the stranger is now on her front porch.
So what does she do?
A- Get a shotgun and take care of this problem immediately.
B- Barricade herself in an interior room and call 911.
C- Shrug her shoulders and go take a shower.
Well if you guessed C you’d be right. I had a disagreement with the editor about the plot point. The script went on to have the woman in peril during her shower where she doesn’t survive the attack and it all seemed pretty mean spirited and gratuitous to me.
I’m not a triggered liberal by any means, I’m not a Beta Male— but treatment of women has always been something that is important to me in movies and in comics. I did a serious a few years ago of men in the female versions of their costumes to show how ridiculous these outfits really are. Seeing Clark Kent’s cleavage or Batman’s bare mid section is not appealing and it doesn’t make sense that women in comics are often fighting crime in no more than a bikini.
The money would have been good, and I told myself I could change the storytelling going forward but in the end I walked away from the project and as far as I know it never came to fruition.
It worked out in the end because another project followed that was more suited to my tastes. A lesson to newbies- don’t be afraid to say no.