have a special rush project for a global computer giant and introducing a new
software package to the world. They said would you stay the weekend. I said sure if
you pay me $1,500 like you’re paying all these other people that you’re bringing in.
They said, ‘no.’ So I said, I’m not working there for the weekend. But I said
basically, you’re going to be sitting around scratching your butts all day not get
anything done and I’ll be up in Woodstock and have a campaign done.’ They said
‘okay you take small business and go to Woodstock and do what you do. We’ll
have these $1,500 a day freelancers do the large business.’ So I came up here. It
was 250 pieces of copy. Everything from direct, to outdoor, to Web, to emails, to
print ads and TV and radio. I figured out how to do it, using some already client-
approved lines and copy. When it came back, the client loved it. It won all kinds of
awards. Of course my name wasn’t on it.” Sheryl demonstrates the adaptability of
the freelancer and she adds, “Those guys never did anything. Never put a word to
paper. I couldn’t believe it. So there are pros and cons. You do a good job and
move on.
Recently, she made the transition to living in Woodstock, New York full time and working
on freelance projects, which include financial websites and corporate clients. Sheryl
presents the new face of semi-retirement as she draws social security while working
copywriting projects on the side to stay afloat. This is the path that many retirees will have
to take given the recent financial meltdown. After 35+ years in the city, she doesn’t miss
the every day hustle. It is her long-time connections in the advertising arena that are
providing new creative opportunities. Sheryl no longer has to prove herself and is cashing
in her creative chits.
Alan McElroy (screenwriter): Proximity is Critical for Career; So Why Am I in
The decision to move away from centers of creative activity often has to do with raising a
family. Alan explains:
When we had kids, we decided to raise them back here. Here we’d have a couple of
acres of land, dogs and all the things you can’t have in L.A. You can’t live in L.A.
unless you can afford to buy a house for 15-million dollars and then it would be a
fixer-upper or the size of a postage-stamp. So that’s why.” Alan stresses that if he
had to do it over he would have never moved from Los Angeles, “I’ve seen the affect
on my career. Proximity is critical. Getting the job requires being on site and the
damage in the 90s I spent a lot of time in L.A. and not at home with my family. There
was a tradeoff. I wasn’t spending time with my kids. I should of but I was getting the
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