There’s something addicting about producing. Whether it’s film, music, video games – though many times, it is a labor of love – the energy behind making something, and potentially making money off of it, is enthralling. At Marina Del Rey, TV Producers live in their cars, eat at Starbucks, and pay for Gym memberships until their next big break in Hollywood. At Downtown Los Angeles, Music Producers travel from festival to festival, paying for an apartment they can’t afford with their roommates, and nearly starve just for that next Label. The list goes on. But the question is why? What are they after? And is it really worth the sacrifice?
On The Contrary
Not too far away, California offer counties beyond LA, with farmlands and vineyards, where the rent is the price of a studio apartment in Inglewood for a four bedroom house. The air is clean, you can see the stars at night, and traffic is nonexistent. There’s jobs available everywhere, and you can keep your business without the worry of rent control not being enforced. So, why live in your car for six months at a time?
If you’ve ever worked in the Studios, you’ll notice something you never thought would be possible: Artists living in luxury. It’s not like Europe, where you can get your own house, and make a killing off of your painting. No. Here in Hollywood, in Los Angeles City – anywhere in Los Angeles County, in fact – an Actor, Musician, or Writer can afford a Lawyer, Agents, Mansions, and Bankruptcy. Money doesn’t phase them. It comes and it goes. But they’re still Producers!
Waking up under a desk, or coming in after a wild party is normal for these people. In fact, a lot of them are sloppy and unkempt, thanks to the nature of their work. Staying in the editing room for days, working at 4am til 3am daily, and eating catering weekly. Their jobs are seasonal, and may lag their wallets for petty cash every now and then, but you know what? At least their bank accounts are kept safe, and their Accountants make sure of it. That’s right, they never touch their money. And why?
Imagine a Real Estate Agent selling you a home. He makes money in his sleep, right? People pay rent, leases, mortgages everyday, and worse, there are thousands of them within every city – especially in LA! Now, replace a home with a license, and replace rent/lease/mortgage with royalties, and that’s how these Producers wake up with satisfaction staying in their cars for a season or two.
As Producers, they live vicariously through their Corporation – may it be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp – and never pay taxes. These guys are debt free. And as a separate entity, these Producers can waste as much money as their Accountants let them. Their bank accounts are monitored, their corporate shares are sold and bought for them, and if they have any issues with losing property or income, their insurance companies take care of it. They don’t even lift a finger!
It’s like being a child, except your paying all the Professionals to be your Dad, and Starbucks your Mom.
Why The Car?
Obviously, you’re wondering why they sleep in Cars? Well, to be honest, when you’re working only on one aspect of your life, and neglect the other, you can’t expect everything to be wine and roses. Move to the vineyards and farms if you want that!
Since Producers live through their companies, they have a bad habit of not improving themselves. At most, Producers have a highschool degree, live alone – usually either married or divorced – and have no need to get a college degree. Their value is in their creativity and charisma. And what happens when your job is seasonal, and you live off of catering on the daily, and typically wake up in the editing room anyways? You don’t see your home either way. Adulting is easily escaped! It’s best to just invest in a reliable car, just so you can go to the next studio for work, or the gym that’s replaced that Man-Cave wives talk about.
And, did we mention that nearly everything is paid for, and tax deductible, when it’s a business expense? Your life is practically free. So, when a Producer needs to pay up front, they’re lost. Hence, they keep the last responsible thing they did in their personal life: the car. I mean, Lawyers wouldn’t want to touch that, would they?
Where Do I Sign?
Producers live well, but it’s only because they have charisma, and follow these two well known rules, expressed properly by the legendary Mel Brooks:
- Never use your own money.
- NEVER USE YOUR OWN MONEY!
Be a level 1 to self. But allow your Producer persona to be a level 50. The steps are just as simple:
- Create your company
- Make your company make money for you
It is easier said than done, if you’re not business savvy, but that’s show business. You create something that can be marketed for ratings, licensing merchandise, and the contracts come until you live off of royalties – however long it may allow you to enjoy it!
Also, not all Producers live cars. Some are relaxed enough to buy a house in Beverly Hills. Please be mindful.