Monday, August 18, 2008

Don't listen to business advice from people not in the film business.

Your Angry Filmmaker Tip of the Day.
1. This business is not for the faint of heart, I don't care how much you think you know.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming really soon).

When I first got into the business, my accountant gave me some very prudent professional tax advice in November: "tell your clients not to pay you until after the first of the year. Then take out a loan for 90 days and invest in equipment. Then after the first of the year, you can pay off the loans with the money you're owed. Take the tax deduction for the previous year, and you'll be in good shape." It made sense to me and everyone else I talked to because we all went to art school! I almost went bust because of that advice!

Right after I bought all of this equipment, business dropped off severely. The film business can be seasonal, especially if you are outside of LA. In Portland, the film business usually dies off around Thanksgiving and doesn't start picking up again until mid to late February. Sometimes it stays busy through the end of the year, but usually it doesn't.

A lot of the corporate and commercial people that hire us need to get things done and money spent before the end of their fiscal year. Then they take the holidays off. Why not? They have steady salaries. After the first of the year, they need to put together budgets and plan for the rest of the year. This is a cycle I have seen over and over. There have been exceptions to this, but rarely.

By the time I got paid on what I was owed, I had other debts that had accumulated, and guess what, gang? Banks will not loan you money when you need it! They only loan you money when you have money. (Don't get me started here, I hate bankers.)

Anyway, I spent 9 months in hell trying to pay off people and pay my bills, and I had a bunch of equipment that suddenly felt like a burden.

The upshot of all of this is:


My accountant had the best intentions, he was used to dealing with normal businesses, and we’ve always said, “There’s no business like show business”. That’s why I think they should teach more business classes in art school.

When you do a paying job take some of that money and put it away. I don’t care how much you think you are going to work, there will come a time when no one’s working and you’ll have to live on that savings. And living on savings is a lot better than using credit cards at over 30% to pay your bills.

Other Stuff.

I am heading out on the road on tour soon and still looking for sponsors. With gas prices still ridiculously high I need to do something so that I can continue to tour.

I am excited about the Fall Tour. I am going to be promoting my new book, The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide: Making the Extreme No-Budget Film. A lot of my old friends are inviting me back and a lot of new places are adding me on to their schedule.

It looks like I’ll be appearing at 35-50 venues which will translate to 4,000 – 5,000 people on the Fall tour. Over the last 5 years I would estimate that I have been in front of well over 25,000 film students, filmmakers, and film enthusiasts. I think that’s pretty good.

I still have dates available, so if you are interested in having me come to your college, university, media art center, independent book store, or even to your house for dinner, drop me a line ( and let me know.

I am thrilled that Film Baby ( is a sponsor on this tour. If you haven’t checked out their site and their services, you need to do it. They are a great group of people dedicated to helping you get your films out.

I am finishing up the first two Workshop DVDs and they should be on my site,, (and Film Baby’s) in the next 48 hours and ready to fly off the shelves. I’ll let you know when they’ll be up, or you can just keep checking…

Talk later.



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