WASHINGTON -- Nick Freilich is asking the Internet for $75,000 to help him pay off his law school loans. He's a 30-year-old graduate of Georgetown Law who realized, too late, that he does not want to practice law.
He'd like some help so that he can concentrate on what he does want to do -- write fiction and make music and movies -- and so he can move out of his parents' house, in Santa Monica, Calif.
"Thankfully we have a very strong relationship, and I enjoy spending time with them," he recently told The Huffington Post. "But it definitely puts a damper on my growth, both as an artist and as a human in general."
Freilich finished law school in 2007. He got an MFA a few years later (though he says that degree hasn't contributed much to his debt). He earned about $40,000 last year and expects to earn around that amount this year, too, mostly earning his living teaching prospective law students how to ace the Law School Admissions Test. "Ironically, yes," he says.
He's "currently on the hook for about $145k," with monthly payments of "around $1,500" that Freilich expects, if he doesn't get help, will be paid off in about a decade. Hence the name of the Indiegogo campaign: "Save Nick from Living with His Parents Until He's 40". The subtitle: "Turning law school debt into art since 2012." Evidence that his parents are good sports: they have cameos in his "Save Nick" video, which you can watch above.
How did Freilich reach the point of making funny videos starring his parents, asking strangers for help paying off his regrettable debts? "I went through what so many liberal arts majors go through, that tremendous amount of self-doubt upon graduation, so well captured by the song in 'Avenue Q' that asks 'what do you do with a BA in English?'' Freilich says. "Up until that point, my fear of dying a poor artist had inspired within me a tremendous self-delusion about my desire to become a lawyer."
He's hoping, now, not to be such a poor artist. Along those lines, he is offering donors some of his work -- an album download for $10; an original poem on the donor's topic of choice for $50; a personalized ringtone for $250; a personalized theme song for $500. He'll tattoo himself in your honor for $2,500. By Tuesday afternoon, Freilich has collected $315, and no one has elected for the tattoo.
"One donor paid for the ringtone option, and others have paid enough to download my album -- which I released during law school and is streamable at www.epicte.com," he says.
Indeed, Freilich says that his "Save Nick" gambit is partly an attempt to get some attention. "I'd say a big part of this is to put myself out there as an artist, and there's a lot on my Indiegogo site, and the sites I link from it, for people to consider."
Not all attention is positive, of course; some observers have been unsympathetic in the two days since "Save Nick" launched.
"Pro-tip for Nick: You can sell your kidney for about $40K on the black market in Brazil. If Nick sells a kidney, a lung and throws in his non-existent testicles, he may amortize two thirds of his current student loans," advises one entrepreneurial commenter on the legal blog Above The Law.
More concisely, on the prospective law students' message board Auto-Admit, a one-word-take: "sad."
Freilich says he's not bothered.
"As an artist, if the things you do don't provoke any sort of reaction, something's missing," he says. "My project isn't for everyone. If you try to please all of the people all of the time, you're done."