Alan is very candid about the cost factors and the reality behind the numbers:
The reality is that the number might sound great. You’re making six figures. On
top of that I pay an agent 10%. I have a lawyer who I pay 5%. I have a business
slash financial manager for my personal corporate that I pay 800-bucks a month.
That’s a car payment for a Mercedes.
Because you have to manage the taxes involved with having a personal corporation
and income tax. I tried to do it myself and the paperwork was insane. It’s a lot.
Dues you pay the Writer’s Guild. I think one or two percent? It’s not that much.
You’re getting nickel and dimed all the way down it depends how much your
making. I’m in the top tax bracket and paying 36 percent. Then another 25-
percent to my “people” – then taxes – and then taxes coming off the top of
whatever that number was. . .
. . . By the end of day, it’s like what Red Foxx said, ‘you have to make a million
dollars to clear $150,000.’ By the end of the day, I take home about 35-percent of
what I make. It’s a huge hit if you think about it.
The Manager Is A Personal Trainer for Business
Many of the freelancers who are doing well have had accountants direct them through the
tax structure for the self-employed. Alan, not only has a lawyer, agent, accountant, but
also a manager to guide his creative decision making process:
My agent just throws projects at me. This person has a project – that person has a
project. My manager says, ‘this project is a waste of time.’ ‘That person will never
come through – this is what you need to focus on. There are a lot of people I know
who have a manager and no agent. They trust what their manager is doing and
saying. I have a great agent – they do a fantastic job for me. But I can work out
stories with my manager.
Actually he came to me with a project. My management company is Circle of
Confusion and they represent a lot of comic books. He came to me with a bunch of
comic books. But we got to talking and found out we had a lot in common. What I
liked about him was that he was very candid. Because of that I said, ‘I need to focus
my career and feel that I’m scattered. I want to take it to the next level.’