Money…

Standard

I been laid off from work. 
My rent is due!

Yup.

I got laid off from MTV in April.

I was actually fortunate.

Several of my coworkers got let go just in time for the holidays last year.

Cutback.

Money’s too tight to mention.

But, is it REALLY?  How can money EVER be too tight to MENTION?

I recently got a text message from a friend that said, “When you get a second, check this out” and included a video link.

Turns out, it was a clip of a proposed reality show.

PAUSE…

10…

Why do people who have NEVER done TV before think that making a hit show is as easy as coming up with an idea and taking a camera and shooting it?

9…

When you send me a link to something that you’re working on, it occupies real estate in my brain.  I can’t help it.  Ideas flow instantaneously.  I need to get paid for that.

8…

Money’s too tight to mention…

7…

When your friends who are not in the business suddenly want in on the business, does that make them an Executive Producer?

6…

If you’ve never done a TV show before and I am your only connection to the television industry at all, why did you shoot it first and THEN show it to me?

5…

I can’t get an unemployment extension…

4…

Wait, that’s shot in High Def!  How much did THAT cost?

3…

You want my opinion, now? Really?

2…

We’re talking about money, money.

1…

“I spent a lot of money on this and I need your help!”

I’m back.

Because I’m such a great friend, I gave my friend great advice.  I gave my very professional opinions about the “show” and was honest in making suggestions of things to be done before they even considered  pitching to a network.

Heck, I even suggested networks that might potentially be interested based on the creative consultation I could provide.

“But, we need your help.  Can you pitch it for us?”

REWIND!

We’re talking about money, money.

Basically, if I am not producing or creating it, or getting PAID, there’s no reason for me to pitch it.

I will, on occasion, for a fee – serve as a creative consultant.

We’re talking about money, money.

“I’m not pitching that!”

I had absolutely no interest in the show.  But, I could build and create something that a network might be interested in.

I explained that I was not at all interested in attaching myself as a producer on the show, as it simply does not fit in with my branding.  However, I would gladly serve as a creative consultant to bring the project up to par.  For a fee.

My terms are half upfront and we could make payment arrangements for the rest.

Money’s too tight to mention…

I then presented my friend with a VERY reasonable fee, and was told to meet with the business partner.

Money’s too tight to mention…

So, I jumped in a car and paid $15 to head to the meeting.

Money’s too tight to mention…

The business partner quickly informed me that my friend didn’t know all of the details, but the partner had spoken with SEVERAL people who liked the project.

“Who are the people you have spoken with?”

“So and so and others.”

Sidebar:  So and so just happens to be a very successful executive that we all know from the MUSIC industry.

A music industry professional and a bunch of fellow friends said the show would be a great idea.

So, two people decided to spend quite a sum of money “producing” a teaser/trailer/pilot.

I’m sorry – the partner aka Executive Producer seems to think those three words are interchangeable.

Money’s too tight to mention.

I was then informed that all of the changes I suggested were nothing new to the partner.  “ I know that! Everything you said, we already know.”

“I researched and met this guy in CA and he’s going to re-write for us and do a new synopsis, but I would like for you to look at it!”

“Excuse me.”  I hit the redial button on my Blackberry and called my car service.  “My meeting’s over, please send the driver back for me.”

$30 roundtrip.

I’m talking about money, money.

“What are you doing?  My partner said we could vibe!”

STOP THE TRAIN!

VIBE?  As in we are both in the business making it happen, so I’m just gonna throw some pearls your way?

I digress.

“Leaving.  You don’t need me.”

Money’s too tight to mention.

WELL, I MENTIONED IT!

“I’m not interested in vibing with you.  If you are not paying me to be a creative consultant, there’s no reason for me to discuss this project.”

“Well, here’s the thing.”

TRANSLATION:  HERE COMES THE BULL!

“What I have offered everyone else is a percentage of my show.”

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.  You’ve got have something, cause I’m not gonna work for free.

No matter what you write, produce, create, direct you have a choice.

Your choice is to do it for free or to get paid.

Have I worked for free?  Absolutely.  It must be a project that I believe in and am passionate about.

However, good people, NEVER work on a project that you are not interested in – unless you get paid.

And when you are interested in the project and see the potential, weigh the value.  It may be that you will defer payment or work for free.

In some cases, there is never enough money to compensate for the headaches you would endure.

In any case, KNOW YOUR WORTH and never settle for less.

And don’t be afraid to talk about money.  No matter how tight it is.

Now what are we all to do?

When the money’s got a hold on you?

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2 thoughts on “Money…

  1. I SO understand and identify with EVERYTHING you wrote.

    I’m just going to put it to you like this 40th Law of Power:
    LAW 40 DESPISE THE FREE LUNCH
    What is offered for free is dangerous – it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. WHAT HAS WORTH IS WORTH PAYING FOR. By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price – there is no cutting corners with excellence. Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power.

    …nuff said.

    It was almost scary to me when you stated:
    “9…When you send me a link to something that you’re working on, it occupies real estate in my brain. I can’t help it. Ideas flow instantaneously. I need to get paid for that.”

    …that is so true and so real. It seems harsh, but the reality is: time is money.
    No one should bring anything to someone without the thought in mind that for/with this; we’re ALL going to eat. I do not use people and I do not PLAY-with people trying use me (or my time or mind’s time). It thoroughly understand that.

    I do not work for television-so I can imagine the scratching at your door to “pitch this-do that, read this, watch that,” I feel you.

    I’m just a wannabe writer in search of getting 3 major published works trying to obtain a mere NWU membership, so I can only imagine how people who know you personally are texting, emailing and ringing your phone with expectations-FORGETTING that: “hey, I work for tv, but I get paid for it. You’re my friend, but if I work for you-sure, I want you to get paid, but essentially, I will have “worked for you,” so we BOTH need to get paid. Duhh.”

    Talk about occupying real-estate in your brain?
    When I’m in the middle of trying to finish a project, I’m constantly apologizing and explaining to certain people in own LITTLE life with all the time I’m spending working through theirs with stuff that doesn’t serve ME at all: respect that (what it is I’m trying to do-my personal deadlines I’m trying to meet-be a friend and understand!).
    From them, I get no useful resources, no research or help with what it is I am trying to get done at all-so at least you get pitching-I get bitching.
    I’m losing time and energy that I need to finish work that I have to do.
    So when I become unresponsive for a few days-I have 60 text messages adorned with: “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and ending with: “but you had time to post on Facebook!”
    *sighs*…(and in my mind I say) “Facebook happens to be apart of what I have to do. I do not have a publicist, manager or media coach, therefore, I have to be my own mini machine: f’up, damage controller, publicist, manager and media coach.
    Though Facebook may indeed be pleasure for you and to you it may LOOK like leisure time and pleasure for me-it’s really business for me. Just wait-work with me-be a friend, understand, let me have all my minds time and girlfriend and you will see…
    Other than that, pitch me something to occupy my mind’s time that will be beneficial to both you AND for me.
    Money is TOO tight to mention…
    I underSTAND.

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    • You, dear friend are no WANNABE writer – you are a writer! Credits don’t validate you. I’ve learned not to let what I happen to be doing for a living at the time define who I am. There is a distinct difference between what you DO and who you ARE. Some of us are blessed to have the two meet – and I define that as having found the purpose for your existence! You ARE a writer 🙂

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