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Behind the scenes with some of New York’s creative freelancers

Want to know what it’s like to be a breakthrough freelancer in one of the most challenging (and inspiring) cities in the world?

Freelance software company AND CO (with whom Freelancers Union partnered on a very useful contract creator) teamed up with award-winning creative Daniel Soares to create a film, “SOLO NYC,” following the triumphs and trials of four independent workers who are making their way in the city that never sleeps. (Often because it doesn't let you sleep.)

You can watch the film below, or at

“The thread across all of my projects is a chance to feel something and then extend that feeling with the audience,” Soares said in a press release. “This project was especially near and dear to my heart as it involved bringing to life the unique stories and perspectives of fellow freelancers who, like myself, call New York home.”

The creatives featured in the film are:

  • Helen Christgau Levi: Helen Levi is owner of Helen Levi Ceramics, and a freelance potter and photographer whose studio is based in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
  • Alex Trochut: Alex Trochut is an award-winning designer, illustrator and typography artist based in New York City.
  • Adriana Urbana: Adriana Urbina is an independent chef and owner of Tepuy Dining, a Venezuelan inspired pop-up dining company based in Brooklyn.
  • Zipeng Zhu: A former senior designer for esteemed design studios Sagmeister & Walsh and Pentagram, Zipeng Zhu runs an independently owned and operated creative studio, DAZZLE, from his Brooklyn home.

Research suggests that a full 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be independent by 2020, with New York leading the way as one of the most promising cities for freelance talent to live and work. In 2016, New York City passed the “Freelance Isn’t Free Act,” designed to establish and uphold the rights of New York's independent workers who are experiencing nonpayment.

Do these freelancers' experiences (and struggles) resonate with yours?

Nathan Bransford Nathan Bransford is the author of "How to Write a Novel" and the "Jacob Wonderbar" series. He blogs about the writing and publishing process at

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