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Q&A with Film Freelance Writer Richard Schertzer

Film freelance writer Richard Schertzer shares how he got his start writing articles on films and his thoughts on freelancing

  1. Can you briefly describe your job as a freelance writer in the film industry?

I write for three different media outlets related to the film industry. I am a writer for Sportskeeda, Fansided, Medium, and Movieweb. I mostly write opinion pieces and any reviews that the companies need from me. I usually pitch article ideas that may have some relevance in the entertainment industry. I’ve written articles like How Franchise Culture is killing Independent Cinema, and Hollywood’s Sometimes Stigmatizing Views of Miscegenation from Movieweb. I try to work on articles that I know have a good angle and will get enough views for more eyeballs to look at.

2. How did you start working in this industry?

I started writing for companies like The Total Plug and The DMV Daily where I wrote news articles to gain some exposure for my work and then I moved up to more film-related work and journalism. I was writing a couple of hundred articles for each outlet before I called it quits. I would look up any newsworthy content and write about anything that was trending or worth reporting in the news. Many of my pitches got rejected, but that’s how I learned to grow as a writer to see what the reader is looking at and thus grow the platform I wrote for.

3. What does your day-to-day look like?

My day-to-day looks like me writing an article and zeroing in on the subject of the article and it usually takes a while because I might be a procrastinator, but I always get the job done. Because I work for multiple outlets, it becomes challenging to focus my energies on one specific task. I usually pick an entertainment topic that will hold some eyeballs and gain some traction in the cycle once it gets published or possibly retweeted. I always get good feedback from my supervisors, and they let me know where I went wrong and what I did correctly.

4. What is your advice to anyone wanting to work in content writing or film (or both)?

If anyone wants to work in content writing just keep applying to Indeed and LinkedIn for content writing and film jobs. It was easier than I thought. However, there are many drawbacks. They include pitching the right ideas and not covering ideas that are not circulating during the news cycle. You can get rejected a lot for making the wrong pitches. Some people can even get fired for making too many wrong pitches and the easiest way to navigate through that is to research the topic and make your pitch something that people would want to read. Try not to annoy your boss with this and make your pitches concise and to the point. Speak and write with confidence so that it sounds and looks like you know what you’re talking about. Also, try not to burn yourself out with the work.

5. Do you think the freelance landscape has changed within the past few years? If so, how?

Over the last few years, the freelance landscape has changed and has become more mainstream and more accepted because COVID-19 has restructured things in the workforce. I don’t just work as a freelance writer. I am also a videographer and production assistant for other production companies, and I don’t plan on stopping. I know that I said that people should not overwork and burn themselves out, but if you want to get ahead, that may be required sometimes. That seems to be the mainstay for many employees when it comes to freelance work. More people are working towards freelance as their main form of income or as a side hustle. Before the virus, many people were prodded to get a good-paying job/career but now seem more satisfied doing freelance gigs.

6. Anything else you’d like to add:

I also find it incredibly fulfilling that the more content I publish, the more satisfaction I get from my job. I have written so many articles that I have gotten an overwhelming sense of gratitude and satisfaction from it. I have worked extremely hard pitching and writing articles that the work has almost become second nature to me. I have never been so humbled to work in this environment.

Richard Schertzer is a writer, director, cinematographer, and editor.

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