This month, we sat down with Boston native Michael Nadeau. to discuss the freedoms of life as a freelancer and the lessons learned from writing on Scripted for over ten years.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Sure! My name is Michael Nadeau. I'm a writer, employee, aspiring boxer, hardcore Celtics and Red Sox fan, and knower of every line of dialogue to both "MacGruber" and "Starship Troopers."
A man of culture, I see. Well then, “Welcome to The Roughnecks!” Where are you from?
I was born in Massachusetts, but I grew up in America's most exciting state - Connecticut! Actually, there's nothing exciting about it. Our hockey team moved to friggin' Carolina (RIP, Mighty Whale). I went to high school and college in New Jersey, and once I got sick of Yankee fans, I came back home to go to grad school in Boston. I've been here in Boston, then, since 2006; right now, I live in Somerville, which is really an extension of the city one drunken Uber ride away from Harvard Square.
How did you become a freelance writer?
I've always been doing some type of writing. I grew up writing up my own Boston Red Sox game stories, inspired by Peter Gammons and Bob Ryan and the other great sportswriters of the time. I went to grad school at Emerson for print journalism, intending on pursuing sportswriting; of course, I went there from 2006-2008, when newspapers were imploding and tripping all over themselves with the online takeover. So, that really discouraged me when it came to going the traditional print journalism route. After I got done with school, I went into PR/marketing to pay the bills.
While I was working behind a desk, I started writing screenplays to scratch the creative itch. I hosted my screenplays on a site called Scripped, which - I believe - was a partner of Scripted back in the day. So I noticed Scripted's advertisement one day, sent some samples of my writing in, and BAM, I was in. I think I was one of the first five or six writers on the platform, actually. So, ever since then, I've been writing - full-time when I'm between gigs, and part-time when I'm actually working a 9-to-5.
You were a really early adopter. Scripted has come a long way since those days! Have you maintained some of the same clients over the years? Are there any strategies you’ve developed for finding work on the platform?
Honestly, I'm not sure if I have one overall strategy for finding work these days. I've been writing here for over 10 years, so I've got an excellent body of samples for clients to look at, and I think that's the most important thing. I also don't limit myself. I don't get intimidated by the industries or asks. I know I can write anything for any client, so I'm open to whatever is out there. I also know how to work with clients; my background in corporate PR and marketing, actually, has given me a great background in establishing project guidelines, asking the right questions, etc.
I've always thought that the actual writing of the project is the easiest part. I make sure to understand the project backwards and forwards before I type a single sentence. I remember doing those little assignments all the way back in order to get my samples up and show people what I could do. It's been a climb, yes. But it's been fun. And productive.
What makes for a good proposal?
Conciseness. I don't ever write more than two sentences. In my experience, clients don't want to read a full, detailed outline. They're too damn busy. Also, if they're the type of people that would appreciate and look for a full outline, then they'd probably be the people that would just write the stuff themselves. So I keep it lean and I reflect exactly what they're looking for in the proposal brief.
How have you been able to balance your work as a freelancer with the rest of your life?
Well, it's been interesting. I recently went back to working a 9-to-5, so I'm going to take a few less projects on Scripted just because a big chunk of my day will be taken up by corporate work. But I actually really enjoy freelance writing - not only for the paycheck, but because I really do enjoy keeping the mind and writing skills sharp by learning about all the different things clients want. So I actively look forward to doing freelance work for those two hours at night or three or four hours on the weekend. I don't look at it as work, really. It's something I like to do that happens to pay me well. When I did it full-time? I loved it. I loved the freedom that it gave me.
For the entirety of 2019, when I freelanced, I got to travel around the country working when I wanted to, seeing ballparks and trying different breweries. It was a glorious time. It couldn't last forever, but it was glorious. So my best advice? If you're freelancing, appreciate it. It's something to be savored. It's something that a lot of people think they can do, but it's something that not a lot of people actually can do. Know that.
What advice would you give to new writers on Scripted?
Don't limit yourself. Apply for a lot of different things. Get your work done ASAP. If you have five days to do a job, get it done in two. Ask a lot of questions to your client. Know your job before you start it. Run everything through Grammarly and Hemingway. Don't get discouraged if a client doesn't like one thing or the other - this is an imperfect art. Keep at it. Build up your portfolio, and save your work somewhere! You never know what samples they might ask for.
Is there anything you’d like to plug?
How about my website? FLANKTWOCREATIVE.COM.
You can hire Michael on Scripted today. Start your 30 Day Free Trial now and find excellent writers like Michael in your industry.
Listen to Michael on The Scripted Podcast: Episode 1 where he discusses how to write SEO-friendly blog posts.