Life as a freelance writer is easily summed up in one word: temporary. One day a publication may need you to write movie reviews, the next day restaurant reviews. The day after that, they may not need you at all. That’s why you have to keep moving and keep scrounging for more work. It’s like being a shark. If you stop, you die. In this case, your writing career dies and you’re relegated to day job hell.
Anyway, when you’re first starting out, you’ll end up writing for anyone who’ll print your work. Unfortunately, the kind of publications that hire no-name writers are typically new, fly-by-night affairs that don’t pay. It’s important not to get too invested in these kinds of publications, because they rarely make it. You should be doubly wary of E-zines or Webzines, since you’ll essentially lose your tear sheet if the site goes down permanently.
Which brings us to tonight’s story. A while back I found a publication through MySpace called MNZ Magazine. They looked like a low-rent FHM or Maxim, focusing on kitschy nonsense and hiring shapely models: male thinking in a nutshell. In fact, I don’t think MNZ stood for anything. I think the MNZ was actually pronounced “menz.” Anyway, they were looking for movie reviews and I saw this as a great opportunity to get on some studio invites to film screeners. I got myself added to the Warner Bros. list for the 300 screening as well as the invite list of an LA PR firm that handles most movie events out there. I was stoked because MNZ agreed to print my reviews and now I’d be seeing the latest movie releases before everyone else.
Well, to make a long story short, after I turned in my reviews, MNZ stopped communicating with me. Furthermore, they didn’t publish my reviews. Even worse, they printed their resident movie buff schmuck’s reviews instead of mine. And this guy was horrible. His reviews barely covered the movie at all. His review of 300 went so far as to say something like, “You’ll see this movie anyway so I won’t bother telling you about it.” Ridiculous, right?
After repeated unanswered emails, I said screw it and just wrote them off. That was a year ago. Out of curiosity, I swung by their home page recently. Apparently, the site’s gone and is now being squatted on by some porn site (the model on the landing page is quite alluring). The MNZ MySpace is no longer being updated as of September of this year. Looks like another publication in a long line of crappy publications has bit the dust.
And the world is better for it.