My budding career as a fiction writer had taught me one very useful lesson. You can always get a better deal if someone else is doing the negotiation for you. In other words, you can’t beat a good agent. They earn their fee…
That wasn’t something I had as a scriptwriter, Until I had the great pleasure of meeting Rob Jack and Debbie Adderley.
I first got to know them as fellow members of the Audio Visual Association, and learned they were setting up an agency – ‘One Stop’ – precisely to help people like me. With some hesitation I asked them if they’d be interested in signing me up, and was duly invited for a chat at their London office.
Which didn’t go exactly according to plan…
When I got there they were locked out of the office, so after a brief discussion we all adjourned to the pub (which, I have to say, was probably Rob’s natural habitat). I talked them through my experiences to date, and we reached an agreement pretty much on the spot – a decision I have never, ever had cause to regret.
Rob and Debbie were my indefatigable friends and allies through all the ups and downs that inevitably go with freelancing. They encouraged me to charge more realistic prices for my work – and got them for me. (I never, ever begrudged them their cut – because I always got the price I’d asked for.) They found exciting new jobs for me to do, with exciting new clients. One of two of those clients began using me regularly. And when things went pear-shaped they backed me all the way.
On one notable occasion a company I’d done a show for wanted me to script a show for one of their clients. But they wouldn’t let me talk to the client – so I was getting all my briefs second-hand. I put up a red light with Rob and Debbie and – sure enough – the whole job went to pot, because their brief hadn’t been accurate. When they tried to land the blame on me they got very short shrift from Rob. And I was hugely grateful for the backup.
Working with One Stop taught me a lot about freelance – and client – management. Skills I’d come to need myself in later years. (And yes, you’ve guessed it, that’s another story.)