Monthly Archives: August 2013

Take This Job and Shove It. But When?

This article was originally published in 2010.
RC

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Most writers dream of leaving their day jobs (some have night jobs as well) and launching careers as full-time freelancers. In their eagerness to realize that goal, many of them quit as soon as they’ve made a few sales. This decision invariably turns out to be ill-advised if not catastrophic after the author discovers that he did not properly reckon the cost of independence, project the size and flow of earnings, or prepare himself psychologically. Even an author lucky enough to strike it rich on his first book should use the utmost restraint before quitting his job to become a writer. By the time he realizes he doesn’t know what to write for an encore, he may have raised his lifestyle to an unsupportably high plateau.

The questions of whether and when writers should go full-time are among the most common and vexing that agents have to deal with, and if an agent ever had a notion to play God, here is his opportunity. The responsibility for this decision is awesome and demands ten times the prudence required to advise authors about such matters as selecting the right publisher for their books. The number of factors is large and their complexity intimidating. It’s the kind of decision that should be reviewed with a great many people to collect as much input as possible.

An excellent idea is to make a list of pluses and minuses, what you stand to gain and what to lose. Often the right choice will jump out at you when you review this list. The secret is to make sure you have enumerated all the factors. Then you must be brutally honest with yourself. You do not want to subject yourself and your family to needless suffering because you erred on the side of wishful thinking when you drew up your scenario.

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A Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms

We hail Marty Sklar on publication of DREAM IT! DO IT!, his absolutely absorbing memoir about his relationship with Walt Disney and his role in helping The Disney Company become the premier entertainment company in the world.

Marty Sklar was hired by The Walt Disney Company after his junior year at UCLA, and began his Disney career at Disneyland in July 1955, the month before the park opened. He spent his first decade at Disney as “the kid,” the very youngest of the creative team Disney had assembled at WED Enterprises.

But despite his youth, his talents propelled him forward into substantial responsibility: he became Disney’s speech writer, penned Disney’s messages in the company’s annual report, composed most of the publicity and marketing materials for Disneyland, conceived presentations for the U.S. government, devised initiatives to obtain sponsors to enable new Disneyland developments, and wrote a twenty-four-minute film expressing Walt’s philosophy for the Walt Disney World project and Epcot. He was Walt’s literary right-hand man.

Over the next forty years, Sklar rose to become president and principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, and he devoted his entire career to creating, enhancing, and expanding Walt’s magical empire. Dream It! Do It! (The People, The Places, The Projects): My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms, represented by Richard Curtis Agency, is Sklar’s own retelling of his epic Disney journey, a grand adventure that lasted over half a century.

 

 

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