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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 photographer?

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 reasons.

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 company?

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 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 his participation.

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 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.

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Aretha Franklin

Darren Hayes

David Lee Roth


B.B. King

Phil Collins

Stevie Nicks

Aretha Franklin

Darren Hayes

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