Don’t give away the goods too soon

Screenwriter Phill Barron writes a caustic blog that invariably talks sense but entertainingly. This week’s edition of The Jobbing Scriptwriter talks about the danger all freelancers face of being a bit too keen and doing more than you should.

I know, I know, I should learn my lesson and walk away from these things. And to be fair, I am doing so more and more.

What has tended to happen in the past is in order to make the ludicrous deadline, I need to start working before the contract arrives … which I do, because I’m a trusting soul.

Never, ever trust anyone. That’s a lesson to learn right there.

So I beaver away, come up with a bunch of ideas, talk it over with them, incorporate their feedback into the plot and generally hash it out until we (amazingly) have something they like the sound of.

Even if I have (accidentally) forgotten the child-abuse.

Now they need a one-page synopsis.

That’s all, just one page.

Contract still hasn’t arrived, but that’s fine. It’s only one page after all … but they need it immediately. By nine the next morning.

Too Much Too Soon – Phill Barron, The Jobbing Scriptwriter (10 June 2014)

If you never read on, well, you won’t this time either. But imagine this link comes with me guiding your finger to the clicky or the tappy bit of your screen.

Do this and you’ll get a job

The New York Times has been running a short series called How to Get a Job at Google. It’s very much about getting a vocational education, it’s mostly rather down on the concept of getting a degree in what interests you even if that won’t directly set you up for a career in the burger and fries industry. But among the long part 2 feature last weekend, there was this about writing a CV.

Laszlo Bock “is in charge of all hiring at Google – about 100 new hires a week” and says about CVs:

“The key,” he said, “is to frame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.’ Most people would write a résumé like this: ‘Wrote editorials for The New York Times.’ Better would be to say: ‘Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.’ Most people don’t put the right content on their résumés.”

How to Get a Job at Google, part 2 – The New York Times

I read that translating the word job into the words freelance contract – and, actually, also translating resumé into CV – but what he then says about interviews is surely useful advice for any session where you’re pitching yourself:

“What you want to do is say: ‘Here’s the attribute I’m going to demonstrate; here’s the story demonstrating it; here’s how that story demonstrated that attribute.’ ” And here is how it can create value. “Most people in an interview don’t make explicit their thought process behind how or why they did something and, even if they are able to come up with a compelling story, they are unable to explain their thought process.”

There’s a not a gigantic amount more in the full Times piece but see what you think of the guy’s opinion on whether liberal arts qualifications have merit.

By the way, this is the 300th news post on The Blank Screen. Let us raise a mug of tea. Clink.