Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The accountant's truth vs. Optimism - round 2

Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you're okay.
Money, it's a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.

The purpose of this blog is to follow the story of what it takes to be a writer - in particular an unknown writer - in America, today.

As in, NOW.

The move to Los Angeles from New York is a sort of spine to wrap the story around, but it's more than merely an excuse for narrative. I really do believe that if you look at the sources of cultural influence in America since WWI, you see a real shift from East to West. A shift, that is obviously more pronounced in the television age, and more accelerated in the cable age.

Of course, that's just my opinion, but it's been a long time since I've heard people talk about truly good books without the help of Oprah or a movie adaptation to guide them.

All of which is to say that there's been a money shift in the arts from language based forms of entertainment (theatre, books) to visually based forms of entertainment (movies, TV, graphic novels).

Not exactly news, I know, but what this has meant for Heather and I is a move to the capital of all that - LA - and THAT move has cost us something very dear in the American way of thinking: Money.

It's one of the critical aspects of the story I'm trying to be honest about.

And I'm not going to shy away from it. Especially since I've already talked about what it cost us to move. (The Bill From Caesar.)

So, what will it cost us to stay?

(If ever there were an arguement for going into law or medicine, here it comes.)

First off, we're both products of bigtime arts institutions (which neither of us regrets, by the way) and our total bill for servicing our debt from Columbia and NYU is: approx. $1400.00/mo

Our health insurance: about $1800/year

Our cable/utilites/phone/internet: about $100/mo

Our car payment: about $200/mo

Our cel phones: about $120/mo

Our server space (where my website is stored plus my .mac site): about $300/year

Our groceries: about $250/mo

Our rent is $1400/mo

Other insurances: $1500/year

We were both working this year and we were able to save quite a bit of $$$. So, while we're generally good, we also are about half way through what we've saved.

That means we have about 4-6 more months of funds until we have to hit a retirement plan - which is something we are deeply loathe to do.

You can do the math. But it should be obvious even without a calculator that a life in the arts is a risky proposition.

And for Heather and I the stakes are high. And getting higher. (More about this later.)

However, we have some good things going for us, too. Those educations were good for us, and, they've helped us get in doors that were closed before. Plus, I had a pretty good career in advertising before coming out here. And I still like advertising quite a bit. It is how I expect to pay for all that stuff up there.

And then we have one more secret weapon: we both thrive on adversity. Not misery. Adversity. In fact, I don't think either one of us has had it easy in our respective industries but we've each done well. Heather was once told she was uncastable and yet she's worked at the Guthris, OSF, The Public, Arena and many other great places. I was told you could never do good work at most of the ad agencies I've put time into and while I haven't gotten in the One Show or CA, I have work in MOMA archives and swept the NY Addy's last year over Ogilvy and powehouse BBDO.

In other words, we have assets that don't show up on a ledger, but are there.

It should be a pretty interesting year.

(See what I meant about medicine and law?)

Optimism vs. Real World - outcome to be determined
The $77,000 movie
Love opens with a closing.
1 Day. 2 Miracles. Maybe even 3.


malachy walsh said...

Yeah. I thought this one would scare people.

cgeye said...

no, just real.

and you can look forward with realistic goals; most new year's summings up go into big love, big success, Lotto....

Adam said...

cool, man. good post.