Commiserate or Gain Inspiration from These Independent Contractor Characters from TV & Movies

Even Hollywood loves to celebrate the freelancer lifestyle 

Take a break from all that work, grab the popcorn, and settle in on the couch. You deserve it. Whether you’re looking to spur motivation or just feel a little less alone in your sole proprietorship, tune in to these TV shows and movies that feature an independent contractor. Don’t feel guilty about binge-watching. You can chalk it up to research on what to do—and what not to do in some cases. These characters are a mixed bag of slackers and go-getters. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the shenanigans.

This single-series Netflix show is based on Sophia Amoruso’s (Britt Robertson) launch of Nasty Gal Vintage. Nasty Gal starts out as an eBay store that gains enough notoriety and cash flow for Amoruso to quit her day job and launch her own website and retail company. We watch Amoruso struggle with figuring out health insurance, finding office space, managing her time, pleasing customers, and delegating tasks.

The Affair
Novelists will appreciate the role of Noah Solloway (Dominic West) in this Showtime drama. Solloway struggles with writer’s block until he meets the stunning and mysterious Alison Lockhart (Ruth Wilson). Solloway blurs the lines between truth and fiction as he pens his second book. Later we watch him navigate the ins and outs of the publishing industry and the side jobs that writers often take to make ends meet.

Better Call Saul
This AMC crime drama serves as the prequel to the award-winning Breaking Bad series. Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) runs his shady law office out of the back of a nail salon. As the show progresses, we watch him do the thing he does best, which is hustle. Any independent contractor will smile at McGill’s goofy marketing ploys, and glean inspiration from his perseverance in the face of pitfalls.

This thriller film depicts the stringer lifestyle of Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal). Bloom falls into freelance videographer work on a whim after watching other stringers document a crime scene. We watch Bloom throw ethics out the window in order to make money and meet media demand. He’s not an independent contractor role model, but he’s entertaining to watch in action as he spirals out of control.


Frustrated with negative reviews and dodgy management, Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) quits his head chef job at a restaurant. His next venture finds him driving a food truck across the country. Entrepreneurs will appreciate Casper’s social-media promos and ability to jump right into the scene, whether in Austin or LA. This comedy-drama has a feel-good ending to inspire any independent contractor.

Jessica Jones
This Netflix series is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) has a daring private investigator business. If you’ve ever dreamt of having superhero abilities while slaying job tasks, this show is for you.