Andy receives a high volume of emails everyday
that often ask several of the same questions. Please read the
following before submitting a question, as he will not respond
to those that are addressed here:
How do I become a freelance writer and/or
To get started, you first must have a passion
to write and/or photograph and knowledge about the particular
subject matter you want to cover. The fact that you are passionate
about your range of expertise should be your main motivation over
recognition, money and getting to meet a lot of interesting people.
If you have that honest drive, then chances are you'll be successful.
If your goal is to have people recognize your work, complement
you on your column or the fact that you may get to interview or
photograph a lot of "famous" people, you are in it for the wrong
As for the actual process of getting started,
you need to submit a batch of writing samples to whatever creative
outlet you want to contribute to. Use common sense when it comes
to this. For instance, do not attempt to start at one of the most
notable papers or magazines in your area with no experience. Like
any profession, expect to start out very small and work your way
up. You may want to try your town's weekly newspaper, a small
website, ezine, community newsletter, or college publication (most
of which are non-paying jobs but will at least get you the experience
needed to continue). Don't expect to make even the slightest profit
until you've exhaustively spent at least one year of your life
immersed in the subject you want to cover. Shortcuts are not an
option and you'll find that the more projects you take on, the
more people you'll meet and the more prospects you'll have for
work in the future.
I don't know a single person in the media
and entertainment realms. Where do I begin to make contacts?
This one is a lot easier than you might imagine.
Simply spend a lot of time out of your house and in whatever environment
you would like to cover. Andy's own example in terms of developing
media and entertainment industry contacts was to simply go to
concerts, parties and functions night after night and introduce
himself to as many people as possible. Get out there, talk about
yourself, pass out business cards and follow up with those that
you so desire. But remember, in all cases use an extreme level
of tact, be polite and never use anyone as a stepping stone to
get to the next level. What goes around comes around and the way
you treat other people usually comes back to you.
Can you get me a freelance job with a certain
Andy does not hire anyone or have the authority
to do so for any of his outlets (and in some cases it is not his
place to even put in a good word). Note that experience is needed
at the higher-profile publications, and if someone is still relatively
new at freelancing, Andy will not submit a recommendation unless
he feels that a person should be mentioned. (Note that recommendations
occur only in extremely rare instances). Editors and entertainment
industry personnel are busy people and the last thing they need
is to have their time wasted with tons of inquiries. At the same
time, they are always looking for new talent and are willing to
take the chance with someone who shows a willingness to work hard
for that publication or entity.
Why am I having such a hard time getting
into the place I want to write and/or photograph for?
There are two parts to this job. The first requirement
is you have to know the right people. Second, the right people
have to know you. As mentioned above, the more time you spend
immersed in whatever your coverage interest is, the more chances
you will have to meet people. However, if prominent people do
not know who you are and they get an inquiry (whether by phone,
email or through sending examples of your work) chances are they
will not take the time to find out who you are. Instead of sending
unsolicited promotional materials to anyone, try to become visible
to that entity by maintaining visibility at public events and
staying well versed in your subject matter.
In time, that desired outlet may notice your work
ethic, perhaps making note of who you are, and eventually, take
the time to get to know you a bit more. Persistence does pay off
though you have to be careful not to be annoying or overbearing.
Gentle and polite pressure is always the best route.
Can Andy get me contact information to a
particular musician or celebrity? What about concert tickets,
photo credentials to events or backstage passes?
Absolutely not. Andy guards his contact base with
extreme discretion, as it is not appropriate to grant access to
certain bits of privileged information. As a general rule of thumb
in the music world, you may be able to get contact information
to a particular band through their website, a local venue or promoter.
For legitimate members of the press, Pollstar offers a contact
directory through their website www.pollstar.com
that is very helpful when it comes to tracking down record company,
booking agencies and artist management executives.
As for those coveted concert tickets, photo passes
and backstage passes so many people inquire about, the only way
those can be obtained is through those aforementioned outlets.
Andy does not have the ability to get you into an event or grant
you access to any artists so please don't even ask.
How can I travel with a concert tour as
a writer and/or photographer?
This again comes down to the factor of who you
know and who knows you. The only way for this to occur is to be
invited by an artist into their traveling home away from home
for a specific purpose. Andy's time with various tours has comes
as a result of a publication, artist or record label who's requested
his services. He cannot get you a job on a concert tour and does
not need any assistants on any present or future tours that feature
Can I send Andy a CD, manuscript or photo
portfolio for his review, critique or assessment?
Andy does not accept any unsolicited materials
whatsoever. While he does review CDs for many publications, they
are always pre-arranged assignments and never based upon a random
submission. He will not listen to any music or offer any informal
assessments unless it falls under those aforementioned stipulations.
Due to copyright legalities, no manuscripts and photo portfolios
will be accepted and they will be thrown out unopened in all circumstances.
How can I contact Andy and how do I know
if he's received my message?
Andy can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He reads all emails though only responds to those that warrant
his interest or legitimate attention. Due to the fact that he
receives hundreds of messages a day, it is impossible to answer
everyone, though please be patient if writing about a matter previously
arranged or anything else that may potentially warrant a response.