Most successful freelancers have been subject to some nuanced, drawn-out, or just plain boring gigs in order to make ends meet. But every so often, a bright and shiny opportunity comes knocking at your door, that makes your heart stop and completely fall in love again with what you do—and why you’re doing it.
We spoke to 10 freelancers on which projects got their heart racing a bit faster than usual:
“One of my favorite projects would have to be working with Jerry Seinfeld to create the logo, branding and website for his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee which will soon be available on Netflix. You can see the full project here.”
Jacob Cass is the founder of JUST Creative.
“Playboy commissioned me to do a ranking of all the characters in all the Quentin Tarantino movies up through ‘Hateful Eight.’ That was obsessive and endless and a lot of fun.”
Noah Berlatsky is a freelance writer. You can follow him at @nberlat.
Pack your bags
“The dreamiest freelance assignment I ever had was when Afar magazine sent me to Osaka, Japan, with just 24 hours notice and no agenda whatsoever. The only thing I had to do was file 1,000 words on my experience. I befriended a punk bartender and ate takoyaki in Osaka, stayed at the cutest little ryokans, took a ferry to an art-covered island in an inland sea, and walked around with semi-wild urban deer in a small town called Nara. It was a dream!”
“The coolest gig I’ve done took place at Milan Design Week, an annual international exhibition for the furnishing and design industries. I spent one week advising top global brands about digital marketing, including social media and content marketing. I also ate a lot of great Italian food, but that’s neither here nor there.”
Josh Hoffman is the founder of Epic Freelancing, where he helps freelancers achieve financial success, creative freedom and lifestyle design.
“So far one of the coolest things I ever got to do was ride-along in the Breitling Jets in Houston and do a story about it for Yahoo Autos. I also really loved doing the story about the fully autonomous Mercedes Benz of the future, a car called the F015. Only a very small handful of journalists got to take part in that experience.”
Abigail Bassett is a full time freelancer based in Austin, Texas. Before making the shift, she was a Senior Producer at CNN in New York.
Danny Glover mishap
“I was a 22-year-old photographer working for the New York Daily News–my first gig out of college, where I studied journalism. One particularly eventful afternoon, the Daily News’ court reporter had been tipped off that Danny Glover was at the courthouse for a meeting, so I arrived at the scene as the lone photog. As Glover exited the building, I said ‘Hey Danny’ and maneuvered to get a clear shot of him. Not wanting to be photographed, he clocked me in the face. My first reputation as a photog was ‘the guy who got punched by Danny Glover.’ These days, I am the guy with the crazy Christmas cards.”
Fan as freelancer
“One of the benefits of freelancing is getting to focus largely on shows I like. Case in point: Cartoon Network’s ‘Regular Show’ was never quite as popular as its early time slot companion ‘Adventure Time,’ but I got to write about it a few times over the course of its run. So, when the show ended earlier this month, I got to moderate a panel at a screening of the series finale with members of the series’ cast and crew. It was a really incredible and sort of emotional experience. If only I could tell my freshman year of college self that pretending to be an authority on cartoons would work out better than he could have possibly imagined.”
Eric Thurm is a freelance writer and the creator of Drunk TED Talks, an event series in New York and launching soon in Chicago. Follow him @EricThurm.
Little column A, little column B
“I’ve had the pleasure of working on a wide range of projects, so it’s difficult to pick a favorite. Some of the coolest gigs I’ve had over the years include ghostwriting a novel, editing website copy for e-learning materials, facilitating workshops on social media management for small business owners, and conducting media relations for a local event. One of the best things about being a freelancer is that there are always new and exciting projects; there’s never a dull moment!”
“My coolest freelance gig so far was working on a story about BoJack Horseman and asexuality for Esquire. I had the opportunity to write about one of my favorite television shows while shedding light to a social justice issue often missed in mainstream media.”
Club rat’s dream
“One of my favorite gigs was working with Universal Music to develop a music strategy for one of the biggest confectionary brands in the world. It was such an interesting challenge because if you think about it, most big brands have sports and entertainment strategies, but don’t really have a set approach music, which is arguably a more important (and less crowded) connection point than both of those. So like, how does Charlie and the Chocolate Factory approach Coachella? I’m a club rat and a fat kid at heart (…and stomach), so you can imagine how much fun it was to work on.”
‘Magic’ Mike Jacobson is an Grand Effie-winning brand strategy consultant who moonlights as a professional magician.
What was your most memorable gig? Tell us below!