Financial Rewards of Investing in Your Own Creative “Spec” Work

When my wife died, my writing suddenly became an asset to leave to my heirs. Then I realized one’s profession does not make a difference.

Joel Eisenberg
8 min readJun 21, 2024

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Photo by Unseen Studios; Unsplash

Author’s Note

Someone once said to me, “If Steven Spielberg or George Lucas asked you to write something for free, I’d bet you do it.”

I responded truthfully, my professional admiration for those two highly accomplished gentlemen aside: “No, I absolutely would not.”

The question was asked of me decades ago when I was breaking in to the screenwriting world, not recently.

Firstly, neither individual would ever ask me to write anything for free. Secondly, both individuals could afford to pay me. Thirdly, what is now my union has it right. Writing for free is against everything the WGA (Writers Guild of America) stands for.

Unless you do it for yourself, that is, as writers are but one professional class who are regularly exploited by solicitations of free work followed by empty promises of substantial monetary returns.

I will state at the outset, as a creative, I am dead-set morally and professionally against writing for free for anyone but myself.

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Joel Eisenberg

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.