I always have to start talks about MONEY with a disclaimer. It’s boring, but it also level sets the conversation.
The disclaimer goes something like this:
We know money is neither good nor bad; it just is. Maybe it doesn’t bring happiness (not sure if I totally buy that), and it definitely doesn’t “corrupt.” You, with more means, with more money, is just you being more of who you are at that time. So, if you’re a cheesy asshole showoff cloutchaser without money — yes, you’re gonna do that on another level with more commas in your bank account.
Now to the fun stuff:
1. I love money, and it loves me. Why wouldn’t it?! I treat it so well. I spend it so thoughtfully, and the things I purchase (for me or for others) are so yummy and purposeful.
Then, I take really good care of those things — like, for almost too-long of a time! (The ’lil $6 black H&M t-shirts from 2017 are still going strong. They’re like, bitch let me go already?!)
2. My relationship with money & yes, my personal bank account, ~changed~ when I got to feeling really good about point #1. It was around October 2017 or so. It was about time for a promotion, and I’d started
(finally started?!) to realize the — and this is key — VALUE I brought to the organization I was working with. I helped them get new projects and to do the projects we got well, so… that’s value, in a nutshell. There’s no shame or controversy in that, right? Right.
3. It takes a damn lot of money to not have to worry about money — or, let me leave the door open for this belief to change — it *seems* to. A friend told me when I moved to NYC that it took $75K to live here (in a roommate situation, still) and to not pinch pennies. That seemed to be the case for me. (Should I have gone to the dentist sooner? YES.)
4. I, as a professional human being, pinched pennies for (let me count)… 15 YEARS of my professional life. I didn’t have a 401K or anything, for sure. I went on vacations…but they were very close to that “crashing on a friend’s couch” style of trip.
I’ve read those “Money Diaries” online. For single people in a big city, all that really changes after about $100K is better gyms (Equinox @ $250/month) and better vacations. Maybe some spa shit, if you’re into that. (I’m not, currently.)
5. The money situation in America is BLEAK (or seems to be). Stagnant wages, no $15/hour minimum wage (when it should be more like $22). I read (before the pandemic) that like 40% of Americans couldn’t easily cover a $400 expense. Ugh.
That all led me to think, this morning: I don’t think I’d even be in the headspace to switch over to being a Screenwriter if I didn’t have the means to pursue it. Script coverage & competitions cost money! Final Draft cost money. Having the time to noodle around with ideas costs money, in the form of time that I don’t have to spend worrying about or trying to get/keep more…..MONEY.
Of course, people pursue screenwriting without a ton of money. But those people (the ones I’m thinking of) might be scrappier, more confident, more bold or just more damn likeable than me!
Money is a real thing that can be used as a real force for good (and for good accessories). I can see how it’d be easier for a rich kid or trust fund baby to pursue this line of work — to even ~feel~ that it could be possible. I still question how I’ll swing it — the important details, like fuckin health insurance? We’ll see.
In some ways I’ve had to make myself be the Rich Husband in order to just get to this point, and you BEST believe I’m going to do what I can to make it easier for others, moving forward.
Fuckin money, man.