THE FREELANCER AND THE GUARANTEED MILLIONS

A One-Act Play

by Christopher Hawkins

ACT I

SCENE I

SETTING: Interior, freelancers’ office.  It is decorated tastefully but inexpensively with IKEA furniture. Web app storyboards are taped to the walls, and the whiteboard is covered in bar-style calligraphy espousing the virtues of AngularJS.

(The phone rings)

FREELANCER:
“XYZ Website Design, Pat speaking, how can I help you?”

CALLER:
“Do you design web sites?”

FREELANCER:
“…Yes.”

CALLER:
“Great! I want to start a business on the web! I have an idea that’s GUARANTEED to make MILLIONS!”

FREELANCER:
“OK, let’s talk about your business idea a bit and then I can give you an estimate.“

(CALLER and FREELANCER converse for about 20 minutes, discussing the details of the proposed online business)

FREELANCER:
“OK, that all sounds very conventional, and should be -  “

CALLER:
(agitated)
“It’s NOT conventional!  It’s COMPLETELY original! And it’s GUARANTEED to make MILLIONS! It’s going to REVOLUTIONIZE my entire INDUSTRY!”

FREELANCER:
“Right, well...based on my previous experience with simil – er, other web app projects, I think we can build this out and have you in business for $10,000.“

CALLER:
(stunned silence)

FREELANCER:
“...hello?“

CALLER:
“Ten THOUSAND dollars?!? TEN thousand dollars?!? Ten thousand DOLLARS?!?! TEN?!? THOUSAND?!? DOLLARS?!?”

FREELANCER:
“Yes, it used to require hundreds of thousands to launch a web app, but now it’s become more affordable than ever to get in business onl – “

CALLER:
"But all this idea needs is maybe a week of time from a real developer to make it work! I know it's not that complicated."

FREELANCER:
“You're right, it's not that complicated as far as web projects go, but it's not truly simple either, and it's going to require a bit of time. Besides, if the market opportunity is worth millions, doesn't buying in for $10,000 sounds like a bargain?“

CALLER:
"I have a great idea! Why don't we partner up on this? All you have to do is build it, and I can give you, say...5% of the equity. Once the GUARANTEED MILLIONS start rolling in, that'll add up to a lot of money!"

FREELANCER:
“No, thank you, I don't work for equity. I'm not an investor, you see, I'm just a humble vendor, and I charge for my services like any other vendor. So, if you'd like to proceed, we can - “

CALLER:
(incredulous)
“How can you turn down a chance at GUARANTEED MILLIONS?!? Why, I bet there are dozens of web developers who would jump at this opportunity!”

FREELANCER:
“I appreciate your consideration, but again - I work for money, not equity. Now, I'm happy to move forward with your project and talk about payment arrangements, but if you have other freelancers in mind who you think would work for equity, then perhaps you should call one of - “

CALLER:
(suddenly hostile)
“MY NEPHEW KNOWS COMPUTERS AND HE ASSURED ME THAT THIS WAS A VERY SIMPLE PROJECT THAT SHOULD ONLY COST $800!!!”

FREELANCER:
“Well...you said that your ambition is to become the Facebook of your industry, correct? As we talked about a moment ago, that requires a certain amount of labor to get star – “

CALLER:
“TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS IS OUTRAGEOUS!!!  ALL YOU’RE DOING IS TYPING!!! YOU’RE TRYING TO RIP ME OFF!!! I’M GOING TO TELL EVERYONE ABOUT YOU!!!”

CALLER:
(hangs up)

(Dead-eyed and soulless, FREELANCER steps outside to take a walk down to the local park, sit for a while, and consider career re-training; sighs deeply)


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