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At Pacific Content we love to work with good freelancers. We use freelance contributions on most of the podcasts we produce. This is your guide to what we’re looking for, how to pitch and what you need to know about working with us.

STEP 1 - Our Podcasts

We’re launching several new podcasts in 2017 and would love to include your stories in these podcasts. Here are the themes:

  • Stories about how tech innovation is changing society for the better.
  • Stories that help make sense of the complicated world of (non-romantic) relationships.  Think This American Life meets Psychology Today.
  • Stories about everyday acts of bravery, and stories from people who wished they had been more brave at certain moments in their lives. From the courageous to the quirky, bravery comes in all sizes, and we want to hear about all them.
  • Stories about the internet and how it’s made our lives more or less secure.

STEP 2 - Pitch us

earphone with laptop on the wood desk, music

Tell us about the story and why it’s a good fit for one of our podcasts. The pitch doesn’t need to be elaborate or long, but we need to get a sense of the story and who the central characters are going to be.

Send pitches to pitch@pacific-content.com. Note in the subject line which show you think the pitch would be best suited to.

After you’ve sent us a pitch, here’s what you can expect:

  • We read all the pitches that come in, we promise.
  • We’ll get back you you after we’ve read your pitch. We get a lot, so it may take us 2-3 weeks.
  • If we want to move ahead and commission the story, or if we need some more information or need you to rethink the pitch, we’ll send you another email within a few days.
  • If you don’t hear back from us within 2-3 weeks, it means the story just isn’t right for us, or we might already have a similar story in production, or it doesn’t fit the mix of content we’re looking for right now. 

Please remember, we often get multiple people pitching the same idea. This happens more often than you might think. And how you approach a story is just as important as what the story is. So if we get multiple pitches of the same idea, we pick the pitch that’s the best for for our podcasts, not the first one that came in.

If we’re interested in the pitch, we’ll ask you to prepare a short treatment. The treatment is a couple of paragraphs and needs to give us a good sense of the shape of the story. We want to know things like…

  • What is the story focus?
  • How are you going to tell the story?
  • What’s the hook off the top that will keep people listening?
  • What are the obstacles and challenges that the characters face?
  • Where is the tension in the story?
  • What’s the payoff?
  • What is the reflection or lesson learned?

Once we greenlight a treatment, we’ve engaged you to work on the story. We’ll assign a producer who will work with you through production. They’ll be your main point of contact.

Please note: before moving forward on production, we will require you to sign a contract outlining our working relationship, statement of work and rights ownership.

As well, we’ll get your direct deposit payment details so that when the work is done and invoiced, we can pay you quickly.

STEP 3 - Let's make some audio

Microphone with EQ audio computer background.

Most of our segments move through the following steps:

Chase > Interviews > Scripting > Story editing > Voicetrack > Editing/sound design

Chase – Lining up your interviews and other sound elements

Interviews – Ideally recorded in the field with a digital recorder. When required we also do interviews over Skype or even the phone as a last resort.

Scripting – Once you have your tape, you start to edit it down and shape the story. Edit the clips you’re hoping to use, in whatever editing software you normally use and reference the clips in your script. Most of our items have narration. Talk to your producer about style and format before you start writing.

Story editing – We work in Google Docs. It makes sharing scripts easy so that you and your producer can go back and forth shaping the story and making changes to the script. Using Google Docs allows us to make notes & feedback directly in the script and share with other members of our team. Please do not submit scripts in Word or other formats.

Voicetrack – Once the script is finalized, you record your voicetrack. If you’re in Vancouver, you can come into our office to record it. Otherwise you’ll do it at home or wherever you work. We usually don’t book studios for recording voicetracks. We may set up a Skype or phone call so that we can direct your performance as you record it. In rare cases, depending on show format or other production considerations, we may get someone else to perform the voicetrack for your item.

Editing / sound design – We’ve got great sound designers/editors on our team. They’ll work on the final mix of your item. How much you do and how much they do depends on your comfort level. Some freelancers deliver almost fully mixed items, others just deliver a rough assembly with their voicetrack and roughly edited clips.

FIELD RECORDING

Field recordingMaking your piece sound great is really important. So whether you’re new to recording audio or have been making audio art for years, we put together this short guide with some of the stuff we want you to be thinking about on the technical side of things.

Click here to read our tech tips

FAQ - You've got questions, we've got answers

How much do you pay?

It depends on the item, how long it is and how much research and work will be required to put it together. But this should give you a sense of the range we pay for the types of items we commission most frequently.

Streeter / vox pack (usually 2-3 min)    $200 – $500 
Short item (3-5 min)  $500 – $750 
Longer feature (5-7 min)  $750 – $1000

The exact fee for your item will be agreed upon when we greenlight an item, before you begin work.

We reimburse expenses only if you get specific approval in advance.

We pay Canadian freelancers in Canadian dollars, American freelancers in US dollars. International freelancers will be paid in Canadian dollars.

As soon as you finish an item, just send us an invoice to the producer you worked with. We make payments within 30 days of receiving an invoice. But we know what it’s like to be a freelancer, so sooner if we can.

In exchange for the fee you’re being paid, you grant us the exclusive rights to use the item on all platforms in perpetuity.

We also require exclusive rights to interviews and all original source material gathered for the piece for a period of six months following the release of the episode. Please let us know in advance if you plan to re-use previously recorded material, or expect to re-use recordings for other clients in the future.

What happens if a story doesn’t work out?

Once we’ve approved a treatment and a story has been greenlit, we’re committed to paying you for your work. If you’ve completed all the work on an item and we choose not to air it, we’ll pay you your full fee. If we kill an item after the green light, but before you’ve recorded a voicetrack and delivered cut clips, we pay a 50% kill fee.

How quickly do I have to turn an item around?

It depends on the story, but as a general rule, we like to see a first draft script within a week of tape gathering.  

Do I need to be in Vancouver?

Absolutely not. We like to work with freelancers from all over the world, getting stories from all corners of the globe. We’re used to working virtually, with people in different timezones.

How much influence does a client have over the content in a branded podcast?

Our goal in making branded content is to produce podcasts that are as good as the best podcasts out there, serving an audience who’s passionate about listening to them. We don’t believe that creating branded content is a compromise. In fact, we think there’s a number of reasons why branded podcasts can make for a better listening experience than podcasts that work on the traditional sponsorship model (who isn’t sick of endless pre, mid and post roll ads!) We choose clients carefully and work with them before we go into production to develop clear objectives and expectations for their podcasts. We avoid creating podcasts that shill product for a client — our main goal is to tell great stories. After all, these podcasts are only going to be useful for a client if people love listening to them. That said, our podcasts are branded with the client’s name and they’re footing the bill, so they do have input into the story selection process and well as final approval before a podcast in distributed.

How come when my stories air in your podcasts you never attribute them to me?

Don’t worry, it’s not personal. Many our shows are hostless and thus, nameless in general. It really depends on the client and the show.

What if I want to reuse parts of an interview I did for Pacific Content elsewhere?

In exchange for the fee you’re being paid, you grant us the exclusive rights to use the item you produce on all platforms in perpetuity. If that presents a problem, please discuss with your producer before you start work. If any of the interviews or elements in the story have been used previously in items produced for other clients, please let us know before we commission the item.

This is the formal legalese from our Assignment of Copyright clause in our freelance contract, which all freelancers we work with will need to sign:

Whereas Pacific Content Company (“PCC”) commissioned [insert name of Contractor] (“Contractor”) to create the Works.
And whereas the intention of the parties, when the Works were commissioned, was that all intellectual property rights therein, including copyright, were to be owned by PCC, upon creation;
Now therefore, in exchange for consideration for the sums paid to Contractor by PCC, and for other good and valuable consideration, Contractor hereby confirms that Contractor has sold, assigned and transferred and does sell, assign and transfer to PCC, its successors and assigns, Contractor’s entire right, title and interest, in perpetuity throughout the world, in and to any and all rights, including copyright, in the Works.
And for the above noted consideration, Contractor hereby irrevocably waives and agrees in future to waive all Contractor’s moral rights throughout the World in the Works in favour of PCC, its successors, assignees, officers, employees, licensees, agents and any other third party acting under PCC’s consent or authority.
Contractor agrees to execute, acknowledge and deliver to PCC such further instruments and documents as PCC, its successors or assigns may reasonably request, at any time, to facilitate the registration or filing of any such applications or claims of copyright. This obligation survives termination or expiry of any agreement between PCC and Contractor.
This Assignment shall be construed by the laws of the Province of British Columbia, and the federal laws of Canada applicable therein.

Do I need to use waivers / consent forms?

Please check in with your producer. The answer varies on the podcast and client.

Anything else I should know?

We’ve all worked as freelancers, we want to be a freelancer-friendly company, we want freelancers to love working with us. So feel free to send us suggestions on how we can make Pacific Content an ever better place to work for.

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