This blog is about money, and it’s written by me, Chris Ming.
Specifically, this blog is about money for those poor, deluded souls (aka “suckas”) who realized, “I watch a lot of movies/television/porn, I should move to Los Angeles and work in the entertainment business! If I work hard, someday I’ll be a director/screen writer/movie star/agent!”
No one wants to be an agent.
So you trek from East Bumblefudge, NJ to Los Angeles. It’s a great adventure. You see the Grand Canyon, the world’s largest ball of twine, and Utah. It completely changes your life, blah blah blah.
And BOOM! Now you’re here, in LA, and it’s everything you imagined: surrounded by the gated estates of Malibu, rubbing elbows with that guy in that Adam Sandler movie, and scoping out the real-life hot suburban housewives of the OC, just like the MILFs in THE OC. You take walks down Rodeo, across Dayton and onto Canon. You smell Sprinkles cupcakes, glance into Lulu Lemon, and imagine one day you’ll be shopping at Versace, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Yves St. Laurent.
Of course, you can’t actually afford anything in Beverly Hills.
Shit, you’re so broke, you can’t afford In-N-Out.
Three Months Later…
You decide to get a job.
Another three months later, you settle on an unpaid internship. You tell yourself, “it’s cool.” You’re so hungry you steal bagel, lox, and smears post-staff meeting but remind yourself “knowledge is my reward.”
Finally, it happens — you’re getting paid! It’s hourly, doesn’t include health insurance or a 401k, but you get to answer someone else’s phones and walk their dog. Your parents would be so proud.
You’re still broke. But you can afford good beer at least, like Bud Lite or PBR, not that “Name Tag” swill they sell at Trader Joe’s. Better yet, you’re learning more than ever. At least, that’s what your boss says. When it comes to your despair, she sniffs it out like a shark in water. Just as you’re about to quit for the 12th time, she reminds you to “pay your dues” and “don’t worry about not having money right now. Eventually you’re going to swimming in it. Then you can have a life like mine.”
Which sounds promising. The first 99 times. Then the 100th time someone reminds you of your “dues,” something clicks. You look around. You see the lives of the people you’ve surrounded yourself with, and it makes you nauseated, like seeing yet-another-sequel from a franchise they just won’t let die (I’m talking about you: TERMINATOR, RUSH HOUR, ROCKY, DIE HARD, SAW). Because if you follow their rules, you too, can:
- Make a low- to mid-six-figure salary (plus bonuses!) — and still not own a car outright. (Instead, you can lease a Mercedes e20 for $400 / month (it’s good for the environment, yo).
- Never be satisfied with your income.
- Deal with the same frustrations of Day 1 after 20 years of 70-hour work weeks.
- Have non-existent relationships with multiple partners, not watch your kid grow up, and blame your absence on “providing” for them.
- Piss money away on $20 cocktails and networking and projecting success with a new wardrobe every season.
This is what paying my dues gets me? What the fuck?
What Fighting Broke Is About
I said this blog is about money: how much we make, how much we spend on what’s important, and how much we bleed away on things of little to no consequence. I’ll touch on living in Los Angeles and entertainment careers too, but it comes back down to money. There’s a new way to think about money when you’re in entertainment and Fighting Broke, because the rules our bosses played by disappeared a long time ago.
Stick with this blog, and we’ll write the new rules together.
Photo Credit: Eric Flexyourhead