The Weekly Wrap: Creative & Freelance News

Six-Figure Freelancers on the Rise

Over 20% of full-time free agents earn $100,000 or more, up from 12.5% in 2011, the 2018 State of Independence in America report found.

Professional services is a hot area, with IT, marketing and biotech/pharma among the industries where these high earners are well represented, says a Forbes article.

The average freelancer isn’t doing bad either, at least not compared to the average worker, the article adds.

Full-time independent workers averaged $69,100 in 2018, while the median U.S income for a family was $59,039 as of 2016, the most recent year the data is recorded.

Plus, the report also found that 79% of freelancers say they are happier working on the own, and well over half reported that it’s better for their health.

Hollywood Scam Targeting Freelancers

Freelancers ranging from hairstylists and military advisers to photographers and cinematographers have been scammed out of thousands of dollars through an elaborate scheme that leads them to believe they’ve landed an opportunity with Hollywood power players.

The victims are convinced to go to Indonesia for an assignment. And once they get there, they’re asked to dish out money to cover upfront costs for things like transportation, translation, tour guides with the promise that the expenses will be reimbursed.

The average financial hit is between $5,000 and $7,000, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but some people get lured in multiple times. One photographer says he wiped out his savings, losing about $65,000.

At the center of the scam is a female who is described as a master impersonator. She portrays herself as figures such producer and philanthropist Gigi Pritzker, former Paramount head Sherry Lansing and Amy Pascal.

In addition to changing her voice to near-perfectly impersonate each person, the mystery woman also has extensive knowledge about those individuals and the victims, including in-depth knowledge of freelancers’ work.

Listen to the differences between two audio clips of the woman obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.



This scam has claimed victims in the U.S. UK, and elsewhere in Europe. Some of those being impersonated have hired high-end corporate investigations firm, K2 Intelligence, and investigators say they believe this is an operation that involves multiple people and they’re likely spread across different jurisdictions.

Nicki Minaj Claps Back At Freelancer

Wanna Thompson, a Toronto-based freelance writer, says she wasn’t prepared for what would happen when she tweeted:

You know how dope it would be if Nicki put out mature content? No silly shit. Just reflecting on past relationships, being a boss, hardships, etc. She’s touching 40 soon, a new direction is needed.

She told the New York Times she just wanted to spark conversation.

First, Nicki simply replied with this list:

But the next day, NYT says Nicki called Thompson “ugly” and wrote,“Just say u jealous I’m rich, famous intelligent, pretty and go!” She also tweeted making it clear that she is only 35.

Thompson said she received a direct message from Nicki that was so “disgusting” she wouldn’t reveal it because she believed it would hurt her writing career.

In addition to that, Thompson said Nicki Minaj’s fans have come after her on  Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, by email and even on her cellphone.  They’ve posted pictures of her 4-year-old daughter and told Thompson to kill herself.

If that’s not enough drama, Thompson also lost her internship at the entertainment blog KarenCivil.com.  Nicki Minaj is reportedly a client of Karen Civil’s, but Thompson said she did not know that.

Now, she says she’s considering therapy. And it all started from a tweet.

Cancer-Faking Blogger Hasn’t Paid Fine

Australian blogger Belle Gibson lied saying she had cancer and healed it with diet and alternative medicine. She also lied about giving money to charity. And an Australian court fined her $410,000 for telling those lies.

But she hasn’t paid it, says JezebelAnd she reportedly made $420,000 from blogging and selling her cookbook.

So, Consumer Affairs Victoria has applied for the ability to prosecute her for contempt of court if they determine she’s able to pay but is refusing. And a contempt conviction could send Gibson to jail.

Chinese Police Arrest Critical Blogger

Chen Jieren, the man behind the blog Jieren Guancha (Jieren Watch) was arrested last week with his wife and two brothers for suspicion of extortion and running an illegal business, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported.

Chen commonly posted articles on his blog that were critical of Communist Party officials.

At the end of June, he wrote an article alleging that the Hunan Province’s Shaoyang city party secretary, Deng Guangya, was involved in a corruption cover-up. On July 2, he published an article questioning the authenticity of a regional party member’s resume.

He and his family were arrested on July 4 and remain in custody, says CPJ.

Instagram Freelancer Exposed For Stolen Photos

Hong Kong-based Sadelle Young has been exposed for posting images on Instagram like they’re hers when actually they came from travel websites, blogs, and Google, says BuzzFeed.

Young, who describes herself as a freelance beauty and fashion model, is an Instagram influencer with over 90,000 followers. She’s worked with companies including Givenchy, Lancome and Estee Lauder.

Now she has earned herself a parody page on Instagram, copywithsadelle, which shows examples of content she allegedly stole. A U.S. woman named Michele runs the parody page and says they will continue posting stuff until Young apologizes.

Young has reportedly deleted some of the photos that were called out as duplicates.

She claims she was using the images “to space out” other photos and says everyone makes mistakes but there’s no need for everyone to blow them up.

“Our lives should not just revolve around one thing…we have to move on instead of focusing on the same thing over and over again,” she wrote in reply to a critical follower.

YouTube Launching Copyright Match Tool

YouTube is set to launch a copyright match tool to help creators detect if their content is re-uploaded on other channels without permission.

After a creator uploads a video, YouTube will scan other videos and notify the creator of potential duplicates under a matches tab in the tool, Adweek explains.

When matches are found creators can ignore them, reach out the creators who uploaded the duplicates or use YouTube’s copyright form to request that the content is removed. Those removal requests can be submitted with or without seven-day delays, which gives channel-owners some time to work out issues on their own.

The feature will reportedly start rolling out to channels with 100,000 subscribers next week.

Meero On-Demand Photography Coming to U.S.

Meero, a French on-demand photography service, raised $45 million in a recent financing round and announced that they’ll use the proceeds to open offices in the U.S. and Asia.

Meero allows a client to a find a photographer from over 100 countries. After the selected photographer shoots whatever he or she has been commissioned to, the photographer uploads the photos as-is, and Meero uses AI-powered algorithms to edit them.

Since photographers don’t have to select and edit, they are available to take on more projects. And all photographers use standard prices, contracts and processes, which keeps the experience consistent for customers.

Meero currently has 40,000 clients, says TechCrunch.

Austin’s Creatives Facing Affordability Issues

The 2017 Creative Space Survey revealed that creative space in Austin, TX is too pricey for a lot of individuals and businesses.

The survey included over 500 creatives, art organizations, and creative businesses. Of them, 38% reported they had paid for a space they couldn’t afford and 12% say they either don’t have a space right now or are in immediate danger of losing it.

One of the broad trends that emerged from the data says CultureMap Austin is that creatives are finding it hard to stay in Austin.

Another revelation from the data is that people want smaller spaces. Of the individual artists that were polled, 81% said their ideal space is 500 square feet or less and about half of businesses and organizations want spaces that range from 1,000 to 5,000 sq. ft.

If you’re in Austin and you want to lend your voice to this year’s Creative Space Survey, it underway. Participate here.

The Briefs

The 26th annual Anime Expo in Los Angeles attracted over 110,000 manga and anime fans from July 4 – July 8, reported Publisher’s Weekly. Although that’s slightly less than last year, the event was considered a success with manga vendors reporting strong sales.

More manga publishers are starting to sink the bulk of their marketing dollars into the  Anime Expo instead of the upcoming Comic-Con San Diego, and some are skipping the latter altogether says Publisher’s Weekly .

Your Twitter followers may decline, or at least it may seem that way because Twitter is going to remove locked accounts so users know how many real people are following them.

This move will wipe out tens of millions of locked accounts. Twitter expects most users to lose four or less followers but says the more followers you have the more significant the drop you’re likely to see, reported Adweek.

Microsoft Whiteboard is available free for all Windows users. Whiteboard gives you an “infinite canvas” to makes make notes or sketches with your finger, keyboard, or pen.

The company plans to launch iOS and browser-based versions in the near future, says TechCrunch.

The Greater Worchester Community Foundation awarded $69,000 to creatives for 11 different projects. The funds were deployed through the recently launched Creative Spark pilot program. GWCF has another grant program in the works that’s yet to be revealed, reported Worchester Magazine.

Richmond and Stockton, California partnered to launch the Digital Workforce Development Initiative, an effort to provide training and support that will grow the cities’ independent economies.

The focus on freelancing will include everything from writing job proposals and contracts to managing project timelines, says The Sacramento Bee. The initiative will include skill-building courses as well as digital and live tools and a mentorship program.

ArtUp will launch the Memphis BusinessHub for Creatives Program, a resource that will offer support from business mentors, business classes, and business planning education with the aim of taking creatives from gigging, part-timers to thriving business owners.

On the 14th, there will be an open house. On the 16th, there will be creative entrepreneurs panel. Interested? Get more info here.

Popular Kazakh blogger Sunkar Kilazh, was killed in traffic accident in Russia on the way to the World Cup. He used the nickname Stence. His father and cousin were also killed in the crash, reported Crime Russia.

Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider and Dr. Strange, was found dead in his apartment, police confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. Ditko was 90. No cause of death was announced.


Art-Inspired Writing Contest: LitLaguna is accepting submissions for an art-based writing contest based on Jeff Rovner’s photograph Yangon Monastery Myanmar.

Entries must be 500 words or less. There will be two $250 prizes awarded. The deadline is July 27, 2018. Here’s more info.

Inspired by Charmian Kittredge London Writing Contest: Jack London State Historic Park is hosting a short story contest inspired by Charmian Kittredge London.

There is a 2,000-word  limit.  The entry fees are $20 and $35 for park members and non-member, respectively. The first place prize is $1,000. The deadline is September 1, 2018. The details are here.

Inspired by the Land Photography Contest: Jack London State Historic Park is hosting a photography contest. The image can be landscape, nature, wildlife or architecture but must be taken at the park.

The entry fees are $20 and $35 for park members and non-member, respectively. The first place prize is $1,000. The deadline is September 1, 2018.
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