Ep. #75 Being Creative Idiots with Smac McCreanor

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #75 Being Creative Idiots with Smac McCreanor
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What do Tik Tok, a hydraulic press, and my favorite city in Australia all have in common?  This week’s guest, Smac McCreanor. In this conversation, Smac and I dig into TikTok, commercials, building creative spaces, and living the lives of our dreams, so get ready to giggle, take notes, and maybe even tear up a little bit, because … This woman lives to laugh, she is strategic AND silly, and she knows how to turn 1+1 into 1 million.  Wait, sorry…more like 1.5 million. 

Quick Links:

Smac on the gram: https://www.instagram.com/smacmccreanor/

Smac on Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@smacmccreanor

YT of her remake Britney Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQk1lzbtzyo

Ryan’s Back Flip to the Head: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8kFJIt6xtg

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight, but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place. 

Dana: Welcome my friend. This is Dana. This is words that move me. And this is a truly special episode because today I’m sharing a conversation with a person that I have adored at a distance for a very long time, but only really shared time and space with them. A few, uh, very cherished times. My guest today is Smac McCreanor. You may know her as the hydraulic press girl. You may know her as a Tik TOK star, but if you know her at all, you know her as many, many things, because she is many things. She is a very multi type and a man she’s talented, she’s smart. She’s savvy. She’s seriously funny. And she’s also super, she’s also super generous in sharing her experience, um, this entertainment industry thing that we’re doing. So y’all are lucky ducks to be listening in on this conversation. Now, if you know me, which some of you may not, but most of you do, if you know me at all, you know how much I value humor and play in my work. Yes. Play in my work. I really do think that is the sweet spot. So of course, I’m excited to share this conversation because I think Smac is giving new meaning to playful work. And I’m so jazzed about that. I’m so excited to share, but first wins. If you are new to the podcast, this is the part where I share a little personal victory sometimes it’s big, usually it’s small, uh, because I think it’s really important for us creative types, AKA perfectionist types to take a few minutes out of our day of criticizing and scrutinizing and analyzing to recognize what is straight up going well. So first all go, and then I will yield the floor to you. So get your win ready. Uh, today I am celebrating a play date with my fellow Seaweed Sisters. We have some things special up our sleeves, um, and that was a really evil laugh, but, uh, that we are not so evil surprise actually does not fit up a sleeve. That was misleading to say that, um, our special new project does not fit up a sleeve. Unless of course it would be a very big sleeve. Um, and all of this conversation about sleeves is reminding me of a joke that I have is a very good joke that is now probably ruined because I just ruined it. But I’m going to tell it anyways, because I think it’s a win in and of itself. Where does a king keep his Armies? Where does a king keep his armies? Obviously he keeps his armies in his sleevies. Too good. It’s too good. Okay. So today I’m celebrating really good, bad jokes and also the seaweed, sisters, new work in the making, all right, that’s me now. It’s your turn. What is going well in your world?  

Congrats rock on. I am proud of you keep winning. Okay. I probably should also mention if you are not aware who the seaweed sisters are or what I produce, I should really say what the seaweed sisters are. Um, they are, we are one of my favorite things in the world made up of two of my favorite people, Jillian Meyers, Megan Lawson, and me. Um, and if you, if you don’t know, you can absolutely go find out the Seaweed Sisters on Instagram and also on YouTube, but not on Tik ToK, which is a perfect segue. Let’s do this today, Smac and I talk tik-tok we talk social media at large. Um, we talk commercials, we talk contracts, we talk creative spaces and we talk living the lives of our dreams. And I don’t think we say the word influencer even once. I think I could be wrong, but I don’t think we say influencer. So there’s that, so go ahead and, um, grab your favorite snack bonus. If it’s from Australia and enjoy this conversation with the one and only Smac.

Dana: Holy freaking smokes, I am really, really excited to be just, I’m really excited to hang out today, virtually not really in person, but with the one and only Smac McCreanor Hello, welcome to the podcast, Smac.  

Smac: Hello, everyone.  

Dana: I’m so excited. I’m sweating already, also wearing a long sleeve turtleneck and that was not a smart choice. Um, okay. Smac, I think you and I have only technically overlapped like in the workspace. Um, one time, which is Kat Burns’ Raggle Taggle Dance Hour where I was absolutely smitten by your performance. Um, but I’ve been a long time fan of yours and an admirer of your work and of you as a human. So I’m really thrilled to be getting to chat with you today. Thank you for being here.  

Smac: Thank you so much for having me all my God. You’re legendary. I love you so much.  

Dana: The love is mutual. It is, it’s palpable. I feel it in my armpits, in the form of heat. Um, okay. So the – the, the workflow here on the podcast, every episode starts at the same. It’s troublesome for some, but I ask all of my guests to introduce themselves. So w what is it that you would like us to know about you?  

Smac: Wow. Hey everyone. My name is Smac. I don’t know. I’m giving away my secrets already, but my real name is Sarah. Sarah McCreanor,  Sarah Mac, Smac. I get that question a lot. So I’ll just put it out there, but I’m an Australian dancer, actress, comedian, artists, photographer, business owner, I guess, choreographer and creative director and chocolate lover.   

Um, co-sign on so many of those titles, but can we loop back really quick to business owner? Talk to me about it.  

It is, it’s just been a COVID. It thing, like Covid had changed everyone, hopefully for the better, in most sense. But, um, so as you know, Ryan, who’s my boyfriend and a dear friend of yours, and he’s, he sends his best wishes to you right now. 

Shout out Ryan Conferido whats up. Oh, we love it. It’s so great. We really we’re really big fans. I mean, you’re, you’re a bigger fan, Is a given, but wow. Okay. So you and Ryan, its a given. 

Uh, we are creative idiots and just basically I’ve rented spaces before to like, do my own production work. And so is he, and just together while like let’s design a creative space, like a studio production space that people can rent from us and do all the creative work in, and also we can use it for ourselves. Um, and so that became a business and we just like invested in this last year. Um, coincidentally the same day we opened business was the same day that LA shut down for COVID. We literally had our opening night party, and then we got that like notification, how, you know, everyone got one and it’s like, Hey, Go Home,  I’m like all happy opening business day, gosh, like the worst timing ever. But we had no idea what was going to happen. We didn’t know how the year was going to pan out. Obviously everyone was just on edge a little bit. Um, so we did what we could and just went with the flow, but it honestly worked in our favor because both Ryan and I work full time in the creative world and taking on this business was a little bit scary because it’s full-time as well. And we’re like, we just started a whole new career path right now, just on top of our lives. Um, and with COVID, since Hollywood shut down, it actually gave us full time to just focus and just start all this from scratch and like, figure it out.  

Nurture this little infancy of a business that you had.  

It was such a big learning curve. And I loved every step of it. I’ve always been, if I can toot my own horn, I’ve always been a little bit business-minded and obviously Ryan is a genius in every way everyone knows it. Well, we kind of just stumbled upon this and I guess figured it out and cause I haven’t caught up with you. Um, we signed another lease for a second location just a few weeks ago. So straight after this, I’m going to go paint some walls and like we’ll finish renovating for a second location.  

Hell yes. Yeah.  

Just switching career paths right now, switching, adding on a career path. 

Adding on exploring or rounding out on an interest that used to manifest in other people’s spaces, the interest is the same, right? Exploring for yourself and facilitating exploration for other people, which in your own ways, you and Ryan both do, you’re like tremendously influential in your, in your fields. And I think you’re really encouraging people. You make work that is accessible and helps. I in, in my view anyways, helps people to feel like I want to be making, um, I, my husband is in rapid prototyping. He’s a machinist. He is an optical engineer. He is also many things, right. He’s like Ryan in that way. And one of our biggest dreams is to have a live/work space together. Um, you don’t live at the studio, do you? Your, is your space different? And by the way, we can definitely cut this part. If you don’t want people to know where you live.

I live at so-and-so street. Um, no, I mean, It would be awesome to have, I mean, I think that’s a lot of artists kind of dream living scenarios and absolutely I’d love to have that. At some point we started a small obviously, cause we’d had no clue what we’re doing, but um, yeah, at some point to be able to just have a place where I can live, create, eat, sleep on my, that is like great,  

Wake up coffee, be making. That’s the dream. I, I really, I’m excited to pick your brain about having big space and all of the things that that means. But I think maybe, maybe my biggest question is this sounds like a dream. What parts of it are a nightmare? Like what could you prepare me for? What are the dumpster fires that I might walk into that you could help me to avoid? 

Okay, well, I’m gonna  Start by saying I’m I’m someone that just always goes with the flow. So I, I think, uh, something I like about myself as, I really don’t try to get upset certain things because I’m like who cares, whatever. No worries, Hakuna Matata, because everything usually works out. So I’m like, okay, cool. Um, but in saying that the thing I was most nervous about just, and it’s purely just an LA thing is the traffic. I was like, I don’t want to get in my car and drive for an hour to go to another place that you know, but, um, I’ve never experienced it. I’ve been in LA for like 10 years now. And you know, we’re always in traffic every day going anywhere. And this was the first time in the last decade that I’ve never been upset about sitting in traffic because I’m going to my own place. I’m going to a place that I love that I built. So  

Because you’re going to a place that you love traffic no longer carries a wrath over you.  

No, not at all. And like, it’s kind of weird that that was the biggest thing. I was not looking forward to just getting to the place it had nothing to do with place the business, the stress that it might cause. Um, but I was like, oh gosh, the traffic is such a chore, but it hasn’t affected me in a bad way at all. Cause I just am excited to go there. Um, and then I guess the other thing that was that you could probably relate to a lot is, um, just scheduling because our lives all over the place, any type of creative artist or, um, you know, freelancer as well is like, you’re just always on call. You’re always on hold. Some people have multiple agents and stuff like that as well. So you don’t always get a full say in things. And I was very nervous about that. And the best thing that came out of COVID is that that part stopped for me. So I got to take a break and just kind of learn how to do the business side of it. And now it’s merging back together and sometimes I panic, but it’s always a good problem because it’s usually things overlapping, right? So it’s just managing that. But like, that’s why we have a team like me and Ryan together can manage it fine. Like we just was such a good tag team in that way. We’re just lucky that we can work well like that. And just, we both have similar schedules where we can just pick up for each other and yeah. 

That is a dream. Congratulations and keep winning. That’s massive. Oh, we do wins on the podcast by the way, every episode includes like a micro win and that win, like having a partnership that is business and beyond is such a massive win. Ah, good on you. Good on you. Oh, which brings us back. Okay. So now I’m moving back to move forward. Okay. You’re from Australia. You mentioned that, but you’re from Brisbane, which is probably my favorite city in Australia. Yes. Um, I’ve been there twice on tours and I know Sydney has its thing and Perth is super charming and like people have their favorites, but Brisbane is my favorite. It is also where Wade Robson is from, was born. And he’s a very special person.  

Yes, he absolutely is. But I met him when I was a kid because the dance studio, I grew up to where I grew up in, uh, doesn’t actually like exist anymore. It’s motion to something else is where he used to dance, but not for a long time because I didn’t ever cross over paths with him. But it was like the claim to fame kind of thing, where it was like, for sure, probably once took a class here, but it was like a thing. And he came back when I was a teenager or tween and did a master class. And this is me in Brisbane, a little Bogan Aussie kid didn’t know anything about anything anywhere. And I just remember he picked, he pointed me out and he like made me dance by myself. And I was like, oh, I was like 12. So he, uh, I really liked him.

I love those moments. Um, okay. Jumping ahead. In time you live in Los Angeles, you are a person who works in with, with different paint brushes, be it as an actress, a comedian, a full-blown dancer. You did have the, So you Think You Can Dance moment, which I thought was phenomenal. I don’t know what your experience was with the show. And we can talk about that if you’d like, or we don’t have to, but it feels like you’ve had your hand in a lot of different, um, you know, parts of the entertainment industry. Is there, is there one place that you love to be working the most?  

Um, okay. I think because it was something I had never experienced until I moved to LA I am a sucker for the commercial industry, I mean, I guess I think this is where like, as a dancer, you know, it’s really typical that way behind someone it’s like the whole backup dancer vibe. Not that that’s bad thing at all, but once I’ve booked my first commercial and I was like, oh, um, I’m kind of the main thing here. My ego just went, okay,

This is all I want to do forever. Thanks. 

I love it. I’m always trying to be that person, you know, like I, I like to entertain people. I like to make people laugh and I think I just had a really good first experience with it. And then as it went down the path and the flow started to get real nice and I don’t know how it fell into that, but, um, it was just commercial after commercial for a little bit there. And I was like, this is a real, really nice. Yeah. 

I could do this for my living. And you did. And you could do that for your life.  

I really could. And you could, and I will,  but I’m a bit of a scatterbrain. So I think I love how short all of those jobs are. Sometimes it’s literally half a day. Sometimes it’s a week. I’ve not really done a commercial it’s more than a week, honestly. So I love little pockets of jobs and gigs, and it’s always a different scenario. And I kind of love that  

Pockets of gigs that keep filling up. Even after you’re done working, we talked, uh, in a previous episode, I had Money March on the podcast and we talked about residual structures and how,  

I listed to that! 

Oh did you?  

Absolutely. Because I am a sucker for all that stuff. And I have learnt stuff from experience, but even just listening to you, break everything down again, I was like, gosh, there’s just so much that people don’t know about and that I don’t know about. And it’s how do we even find all this information from you obviously,  

From words that move me podcast, go check us out. Uh, thanks for being here. Um, well I’m glad that you listened to that and if you haven’t go back and check out if you, the listener not you, Smac, haven’t uh, then go back and check out Money March. Cause we do talk a little bit about the nuance of the difference between commercial or TV/Film, uh, or music, video contracts. Very cool stuff. Glad to hear that. Now let’s talk about how you can take a love for the commercial industry and turn it into its own little sub career by doing whatever the hell you want on social media. And I might be a little too liberal when I say that. I don’t know if that is actually your approach, but that’s what it looks like when I watch your stuff on social media. I’m like, she’s doing exactly what she wants to be doing. And that’s attractive because all of us inside want to be doing what we want to be doing. And most of us aren’t, which makes people like you all the more attractive. Um, so I want to talk a little bit about social media. Um, today’s a big day for me.  

Oh my God. What’s happened. Oh my god, you downloaded something?  

I got tik-tok today.  

I’m going to wake up my re my pet bunny by clapping so loud.  

I downloaded tik-tok today. Okay. Well, okay. Let’s start. Let’s start. So here’s what I want to do. I want to take two different points of view. Let’s say that I just downloaded tik-tok today. I have no videos, no uploads and no views and no followers. What do I need to know?  

Okay, well, um, there’s also two parts of that as well. Cause what do you need to know as someone who has potential as a creative or just someone who’s working, because it matter for you because you’re not just a lurker, you’re someone who..

I’m excited to engage because for a long time and people listening, people who’ve been listening for a long time, know this, I’ve got thoughts about Tik Tok dances and the trends and challenges and things like that. My thoughts were not really helpful. Most of the time they were just kind of grumbly to boil it down, My thought was tik-tok celebrates mediocrity. I celebrate excellence. I can’t reconcile these two things with just a little bit of thought management. I can absolutely reconcile these two things. You can be excellent on tik-tok you are proof. So I’m thrilled at the possibility of that. And I can also decide that I don’t like it after having been in it. Why would I decide? I don’t like it from the outside and just say no to something forever. 

I think thats the first thing, people go into some sort of pressure, like, okay, I’ve got to become famous tomorrow. I’m like guys chill out. It’s going to happen at some point or it’s not going to happen at some point. Just have fun.  

Just have fun. Just do the things that are exciting for you. Yeah. Okay. So I’m a lurker. I’m not here to watch. What do I need to know?  

Okay. I think, um, I always try to tell people, because I do get people asking me just for general advice across the board. 

I’m sure. 

Yeah. Cause everyone’s like, should I just do these trends? I’m like yeah, you can go into this trend, but just like darn do something that is not enjoyable because it’s just, unless you’re making fun of it, which I do sometimes. But like literally if you all sit in there watching cat videos all day long, do a cat video, like do something that you enjoy watching because otherwise, what, what is the connection there? Because why are you doing it then? So obviously we’re dancers, we’re creatives it’s makes sense for you to do something that’s movement-based if you liked doing it. Um, and I think tik-tok what I love about it compared to other social media in the past anyway, is that literally anyone can get rewarded acknowledged, viral if that happens. 

Yes. This is, this is a core belief of mine. I believe that dance is for everyone. Yeah. I don’t love dance. That is elite and exclusive. I like part of the, part of the charm. I think of the Seaweed Sisters and what we make together is that it is human dance and creature dance, and it is not “dancer dance” necessarily. We’re still trying to figure out what exactly it is, but yeah. Dance for everyone. Okay. So, uh, at the beginning I was not a fan of Instagram, either. I had similar thoughts about Instagram. I don’t need this. It’s going to destroy all my time that I have and whatever. Um, and then I realized that what I was actually avoiding was shipping like producing. I was really good at having ideas, not great at making them happen and certainly not great at sharing them or getting feedback about them.  So I wanted to improve this, you know, this creative workflow, this life cycle of an art baby. And I decided to do a video every single day on Instagram, I wound up doing like 400 and some, and eventually I saw like, you know, I left, my rule is always be rolling. Like I have footage upon footage upon footage. I got very good at knowing myself on camera, knowing places and other people and boundaries and the frame like boundaries of the frame and boundaries of other people and of myself, um, and of my audience even, oh my God learn so much. Can’t even, can’t even explain how much I learned if you’re listening to this episode and haven’t listened to others, go back and listen to episode one I go in on my doing daily year, but towards the end, I caught myself in between takes, hating what I was doing, but people have a good bull ***t meter.  

I think for the most part, people love, things are authentic and, and that are exciting to the person. And so if you’re not excited about what you’re doing is not going to hit. So I think right now I’ve got like six different interests that I want to play with. And I’m just not sure what to do. So that’s my next question. This is totally selfish. Do you have to do one thing? Do you have to choose that you are the funny YouTube collaborator person or you’re the hydraulic press girl or you’re the, um, Jacket kick girl, or like what?  

Um, yes and no, it either way it can be brilliant. Cause I’ve seen it happen both ways. I’ve seen it happen both ways with myself because sometimes I go through a month or I do one thing and it has gotten me amazing opportunities because of it. And then sometimes I do different things every five minutes and I get amazing opportunities from it. And I’m like, cool. So I think, um, you’re obviously smart enough to know how to brand yourself. You already are a brand, you already have everything. You have all the resources in that sense. Um, I think Tik Tok is the perfect platform to not overthink that. It’s very rare that people are just going to your profile to look at the whole thing. It’s they just come across your videos. Yeah. Cause people were videos without having to follow you. That’s the difference between at least in my head that made difference between Instagram or the old instagram and Tik Tok is that Instagram only people who follow you are seeing your work. So it is kind of like Instagram seems at least for Cray, uh, for creators, it seems a little bit more like a professional standard. Like I absolutely make sure every single week on Instagram, I post something that shows, um, my face because I book work off my friggin image. I have something that’s dance related. I have something that I’m speaking in. I have something that’s a bit more professional looking like even posting a commercial I’ve done just so. If anyone looks at it without even having to scroll, they can see all the five or six things that I try to represent in myself. Tik tok, I think it’s like, you can really get rewarded for just doing it. Doesn’t have to be a pattern at all. But then you’ve obviously seen people who have done just the same thing taken off and yeah, I it’s just such an experimental thing.  

Oh, I love, it’s a playground. 

It’s a playground. And it’s really good because if it doesn’t work out, it’s like not going to hurt you at all. Like if someone doesn’t see your video, you’ll like, okay, cool. I’ll just make a new one.  

Wow. That I didn’t, I didn’t ever consider that.  

I think just like, like people don’t care enough about how much you might care about your work. I know that sounds harsh, but that’s how I treat it for myself because I’m like, Hey, this is fun, but I never go, will people like that song choice though. I go, I don’t care. I love this song because people don’t care,  

Lower stakes higher reward. 

Yeah I think take talk really thrives in that sense. And I would try to, if you were really trying to push yourself and your maybe a main struggle is you are not comfortable just sharing. If you’re really wanting to push yourself, just be like, okay, this week I’m going to share, um, two videos a day, three videos a day and five videos an hour, whatever it is, they don’t have to be anything important. It doesn’t have to be polished. It doesn’t have to be rehearsed. Just try something because that’s what people like watching. It’s literally like a reality TV show. Not every scene is perfect. So just do it just like Nike, it, just get it done. Just post it. Don’t sit there, rewatching it too many times. Just press post.  

J P P just press post. Just go. I, that was maybe one of the things. One of the most rewarding things about my year of Instagram, because I knew I would just be doing it again. The next day, the release part got really natural. It was way less precious than I had been treating things before. But at that point you’re right. The, I think what Instagram is used for has changed dramatically. That is even an understatement. Um, but it, yeah, it is like this living, breathing resume, get to know me place. And I love the idea of that, being that, and then having a freaking playground to go play at it’s something that I, that has truly been missing in my life is this idea of play. I know I’m not alone. Um, but the Seaweed Sisters fragmented during COVID. We were all in different places. The places where we play were all shut down. So all of a sudden I found myself shockingly doing quite well because I also have a business brain that I love to nurture and, um, kind of a home body that didn’t get to really thrive until 2020. And I a thirved like no pants and lots of plants. That was sort of my, my 2020, I had a great time. But at a certain point I found like, oh, I haven’t really played in a while. And in one month I like purchased roller skates enrolled in clown school, like fully enrolled in clown school and was shopping for a dog. I was like, all the play, give me every, all of the play. Um, so adding, Tik ToK to my play plate feels totally appropriate and I’m thrilled about it. Okay. So now now second perspective. Let’s imagine that I’ve been on tik-tok for a long time. I have 1.5 million followers. What do I need to know? What does that person need to know? 

I think the main thing that people realize once they start getting a following is that the journey of consistent likes is just like ridiculous. It goes up and down. It’s not going to happen yet. So as much as it annoys me, like even yesterday, like I might post something in an hour, I’ve had things grow to 5 million views in an hour. Yesterday I posted one and got a hundred views in 10 hours. So it can like super drastically change. And it’s just the, the playground of the algorithm. So I think, um, like as much as it can dishearten you just like, just let it out. Don’t think about it. I catch myself sometimes being like, well, cool. But you know what? I’ll just post the same video tomorrow. See what happens cause no one cares, because literally no one cares. 

Oh, the experimental element of it really speaks to me.  

I, you know, for me personally, I approach a lot of things with humor. The fact that I might post the same video of myself seven times in a day with like, you know, kind of making fun of myself. Sometimes that’s worked. Cool. Thanks Tok Tok. Like it’s, it is absolutely the best platform in my opinion, to just make a fool of yourself if you’re down for it and then yet fully experiment and just like, just, just no worries. Yeah. It doesn’t like, it’s almost, it’s better if it’s less polished, it’s the rehearsal room and then Instagram can be the stage  

That makes total sense. I love it. Um, okay. So on this subject of, of kind of on the subject of comparing those two, I have a question about ownership and credit. Um, and, and I saw you post something recently. It was a screenshot of somebody’s DMed you saying “like, please stop with the sponsored content it’s annoying” and you’ve responded, or you said something to the effect of, ‘sorry, I don’t get to decide when Instagram sponsors my content.’ Then that sparked, that was like a great living, breathing example of this question that I get all the time does Instagram own my stuff or do I own my stuff? And I’ve done a little digging, but please weigh in. If I, if I’m wrong on this. I think that the bottom line, um, is that social media is a public venue. It is public space. So although you, the creator does retain the copyright of let’s say that image or that video, um, because we’re engaging in the space, we’ve accepted the terms and conditions we’ve agreed to Facebook’s, non-exclusive transferable, sub-license royalty-free worldwide. They can use that wherever the ***k they want newness of it. So is that what has happened to your posts? And do you, are you aware of when that happens?  

Well, okay. This is a very specific one. Um, there’s definitely so many versions of this, but this one, the reason I repressed that is also because I’m always self promoting myself. And that was a way for me to be like, Hey, yeah, I’m getting paid to do this. This is a job I’m doing, ah, ha playing the game where I’m like, oh, but, um, what that translates to, but I love telling people about this kind of thing, because this only happened to me a month ago, so I’m like, anyone can do this in my opinion. Um, but I’m now in a contract with official Instagram. So that’s why they’re using my videos for their sponsored ads. But I was honest when I say, I don’t know which ones they using because yeah. We’re on a contract where they, um, I’m creating certain videos for them. And at the moment they’ve got maybe like 10 or 15 videos that I, that they have access to use, but I don’t know which ones they’re going to use and where they’re going to pop up, but it’s a contract, so I’m fully down with it, but that’s, that was that specific post. But then there’s the, in our every day, even this morning, like a bunch on Tik ToK, I’m always getting sent. Um, people it’s really cool that like the past year I’ve kind of got this following web people are recognizing me in my specific videos. So if people see people post it, that isn’t me, they’re like, Hey, that’s Smac. And I’m like, that is so cool that people are like recognizing me that way. And it’s definitely humbled by that, that people go out of their way to be like, Mmm, that’s not your video. I’m like, dang, those people are cool. But I’m seeing that like all day, every day, my videos circle around the internet and people are reposting them. Obviously my name is not attached to it. And I think you can be really upset about that. Or in my opinion, the videos that are going viral, are kind of videos that people aren’t doing.  

W-what are you talking about specifically? Those things.  

Yeah. Different random videos that I would’ve just done that completely. I don’t think about too much, but the hydraulic press videos that has become a series that I’ve just kept going because it’s  

Evergreen. It’s evergreen. I mean, sorry, I don’t mean to cut you off. I get excited about those videos. I think I’ve watched all of them and I do have my favorites. I can sum it up by saying anything where your shoes fly off. But I remember my husband showed me the hydraulic press channel when we lived in Sunnyvale. So this must’ve been 2015, maybe that channel on YouTube popped up and he’s a machinist and I’m a mover. And I remember watching it and be like, oh, that’s great. That’s so funny. I could watch this all day. And then I did, but I didn’t get up and move to it. That is where that is. That is where one plus one equals a million. You have a hydraulic press crushing stuff. That’s one. And that’s really awesome. And then you have an incredibly aware and talented, physical being recreating it with her body. And that is 1 million, like that’s one plus one equals a million to me. That is, that is nothing better than that. Um, I just think the world of those videos and of you for having the, whatever, whatever it was that got you up off your ***, into a pink outfit to embody like unicorn horn or something. 

Yeah. It was a fluke, but I’m not mad at it. You know? Cause usually that’s what I mean, like with the whole experimental thing, that was a split second, I had a five minute window to film something. I was like, I just want to quickly film a video because I’m going to be sitting down for the next five hours. Um, and I was like, I just randomly have a lot of outfits. I have a lot of block color outfits for audition. Perfect. No branding on it. And I love that kind of stuff. So I was wearing like a full, I was wearing a yellow shirt and a pink and pink pants. And obviously the hydraulic press videos, the original ones are so viral. And I always see people duet them. So it’s side-by-side videos and they’re doing their reactions and they go viral just from people watching it. They’re not even talking nothing. They’re just watching the video that’s next to their face and they go viral and I was like, huh, I’ll just be the hydraulic press. And it took that long to think of it. I did it, I did uploaded it done. So I’m like, I don’t think it through or anything. I just watched it. I saw it melt down and go up. And I was like, that looks like a frickin yoga move easy.  

That’s Floor Bar. I know this, I know this,  

But yeah, it really is. But then that’s the kind of stuff that at least for me personally, those are the videos and other things that are kind of in a similar nature that have gone everywhere. They’re on the front page, front page of Reddit. Like even some random celebrities like reposting them. And even if my name isn’t on there, I know that if the time happens where someone important needs to find out who it is, they can, but yeah.  

Thank you for that. Thank you for that insight. That’s, that’s a really empowering position. Um, and also thank you for staying on track. This subject was credit. I forgot about that. I it’s something that’s very much at the forefront of my mind right now, um, In the Heights is about to come out. I was one of the Associate Choreographers. Chris, the choreographer, Chris Scott, um, is really, really adamant about, you know, sharing credit and making sure that people are aware that this was a team event. Um, of course he was steering the ship and I just, I really so admire how much attention and effort he’s putting into sharing this credit. And, um, I just, I, I don’t know enough yet. I’ve fully watched two videos inside of Tik ToK today, but I don’t know how that works credit or captions or like there is no place to know who started that dance. 

Is really wishy-washy, which can suck as a creative because I’m all about being ethical. And I sometimes spend hours or days finding the person who kind of came up with something and then six months later you find out they stole it from someone else and you’re like, damn it. I gave them credit, and they didn’t even think of it, but like, 

Which, and it makes you wonder there’s a purity spiral of credit. Like if we’re really gonna get granular about it. 

Exactly. Everyone’s inspired by something. My hydraulic press videos were literally inspired by the hydraulic press video. But I think just because of my position and like what we know as professional artists, um, I love giving a hundred percent credit where I can, well, I mean, if I can’t then I usually just don’t use that idea life. It’s not mine. I don’t want to use it. Or I love the, this is what I love about Tik ToK and Instagram. Now the duet feature means you can put the original video next to you, which is why I started recruiting because I was like, I could just do this or it worked in my favor that you can see it side by side. So I actually love doing duets because then I giving credit by capturing the name and visually give them credit to them, which I, I really liked doing that just to be someone who wants to give them credit.  

Oh, I love that. Okay. That’s good to know that that’s a good newbie newbie lesson. Um, okay. I want to do a quick little burnout round. Um, the first question that I want to ask is actually, maybe not a burnout question. This is kind of maybe a hard question. If somebody asked me this today, it would take me 45 minutes to answer. Um, but I would love to know what do you want to do the most?  

Oh, you know what? My whole entire life is just make someone giggle. That’s it. I really don’t. I, the two things I’ve always thought about since I was a kid, cause I’m really, haven’t leveled up in terms of like my, what I do or who I am. I’ve been like this since I was about eight and I’ve always been doing this stuff. So I love it. That’s I literally, I just love being an idiot, a professional idiot.   

A creative idiot. I really like that. I like that. Even more than creative director, because let’s be real. Yeah. Well, some creative directors at the core are creative idiots. It’s  

Title yourself, whatever you want. So, so,  

So this is it. You’re doing it.  


I’m happy with this. I really am. I’ve been doing it for so long. Like, I mean, even when I chat to my good friends from Australia, like when we were all teenagers, they’ve sometimes pointed out being like, man, you’ve never once changed because even back then when I was 16, I was like, guys, we’re doing a music video to toxic in the car park right now. Like put on your outfits. And I have videos of that on YouTube. Like I just was always that person.  

Well, I will be sharing that in the show notes to this episode, FYI. Can’t wait, can’t wait. Um,  

But yeah, so I think I’ve always just loved making people laugh. And the other thing that I love just from my own experience, um, because we all idolize people and I would love the, to have an impact on someone, the way that my idols have impacted me to the point where the reason I am today is because of like these two comedians that I grew up watching Lano & Woodley. They’re a hundred percent the reason why I do anything. And I’m like, if I could just somehow spark that motivation to someone, I don’t want any credit for it at all. But I’m like, that is awesome. Cause they gave me this kind of sense of freedom to be a fool. Like they, I just love them so much. And if I can, I’m tooting my own horn a little bit here, but just because I just, it gives me the feels. But these, um, people that I idolize, like the fact that later on in life, it came full circle where they were then watching me perform and were congratulating me on my career. And that is something that I’m like, I, since that moment I’m like, okay, I’m done. I have, my life has made, I don’t need anything else. I am. I’m fully content with that. That’s something that I’m like, that feeling is really special to me. I know it would be just cool to know that like maybe someone else is trying to do a hydraulic press squishing routine because they saw mine  

100%. They are yes. 100% there. Um, okay. So if, if you’re tooting, then I’m going to toot, because you just reminded me of an incredible story that I don’t think I’ve shared on the podcast before please. So I’m 34 now, which puts me squarely in the midst of NSYNC and Britney mania when I was like going to concerts for the first time and stuff. True story. Okay. Who is your first concert?  

Kylie Minogue  

Work. Mine was Ricky Martin. So basically same.   

Okay. I love that. Yeah, exactly the same.  

Exactly the same concert that we went to. Um, okay. But I really, really loved NSYNC. They were it for me, I knew people would get into fights about Britney or Christina. I didn’t really, I mean, I love, I love Britney, but I didn’t really get into that. But if you tried to tell me, the Backstreet Boys were better than NSYNC, I would literally fight you. Now, in hindsight, I’ve worked with both groups, love them both adore all PS. JC was always my favorite and JT knows this. I have made it explicitly clear. He was so full out. I just love, I love full out anyways. I would. I watched bye bye bye and every, I watched every single music video and every VMA or live performance had them all on VHS studied within an inch of their lives. And then when I performed with JT, uh, during his MTV video Vanguard awards, he brought the Boys back and they did a little bit of, of Bye Bye Bye. And I was helping Marty out on the project and it became my job to help recall Bye Bye Bye. And there was a moment where the gentleman from NSYNC asked, can we, can we film you doing that so we can rehearse. And it was just like, oh, I have no idea how full sir. Like I watched you, you’re watching me. I I’ve learned this from you now. You’re learning it for me. It was the wildest strangest I had to. I had to like, I had to take a seat later and just recall how, how, how you just never know. You just never know. 

You’ll never forget. You know, I love that.  

Yeah. I’m dripping now I’m so sweating so much. Um, okay. Now we get into the rapid fire round. This question that came up in last week’s episode, which was Live episode I did with the zoom audience. And uh, the question is you are on a desert island, stranded for perpetuity, as long as all of your contracts are and you get to have eight songs. Oh my God. Eight songs. I know guys. So I was so mad at this question.  

Eight songs, Boogie Wonderland, Shake your Groove Thing, Bohemian Rhapsody, 

Why did I not have any queen on my list? Technically not true. Cause I had Christine and the Queens, but it isn’t. Okay. Keep going, keep going.  

Um, I would say the song Sarah, Fleetwood Mac. Oh, okay. I’ve done Four  

Sick. Is that what you were named after?  

No, I was named after my mom’s dog, so fun. Um, but I do love what else? My mum she’s like, yeah. I had a dog named Sarah. I was like, cool. Thanks. Love it. I love animals. That’s fine. Okay. Well what else? Oh. Oh, you know what, if, even if it doesn’t exist a song that Ryan plays piano at or anything just him playing piano. Um, three more. I totally lost track. Yeah. Uh, the theme song of Lano Woodley, which is the comedy duo that I love. And, um, this is so weird. I’m thinking of the jingle of a commercial. The other thing I don’t want to use that one. Nevermind. 

Oh no, not hot pockets.

No, no. It was definitely an Australian jingle and I can’t even remember the brand of it. So I can’t use that. Um, oh my God. I have two more. I’ve done disco. Um, I feel like I need some like eighties. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I’m probably gonna put in some Spice Girls.   

Wow.  

Don’t know which one, maybe probably Wanna Be,  

Unless you wanted to do the ballad. What was their ballad? Two, two into one. Is that what it was called to become one. 

I don’t have time for slow songs on a desert island, 

You’re busy, cramped.. You need the energy

Maybe. Um, um, my gosh, I just want to look at my playlist is only eight songs anyway. Um, I’ll be listening to the same music since I was born. That’s why I don’t know any,  

All throw backs. Okay. I’m going to give you one more. Cause I completely lost track. What are you?  

Well, I mean maybe ABBA something ABBA.  

Okay. I’ll take it. Same question. But with dance steps, you get to do a dance steps again for, for evermore. Okay, cool.  

I will do a, uh, just a great pose. Cause I don’t like using energy, but I love a pose. Um, I would probably do the worm, um, a front walkover, just basically all my freestyle moves  

The book. The book of moves.  

The book of moves. I’ll put my jacket kick even. That’s not a dance step, but it  

Definitely is. 

What have I done? 

It’s an arabesque.  

Yes. Thank you. Thank you so much.  

And your hip is down by the way your placement is ACE. It’s done.  

Geez. I feel like, can I just put in like a simple, like touch step bounce kind of want to do in my life? You know, like a step click, but a bit uncoordinated and dorky. Um,  

Got it. So less swivel in the hips and just more vertical, this more vertical, but  

We like that. More mom vibes, no offense mums. Um, geez, what else?  

I don’t know about you, but I definitely have a serious relationship with pas de bourses and Rond de jambs I can’t freestyle. If I had to pay someone a dollar while we’re on the subject of credit. If I had to pay someone credit for every time I do a Rond de jambs or a pas de bourses would have no dollars. I would have no home. Yeah. Fully in debt, like, like Ivy league debt for using those steps. That’s it for me.  

You know what Tik ToK has made me realize that obviously I use the same eight steps over and over. Yeah. This is my eight steps. Um, and I always do a pelvic thrust and whether that’s comedic or serious, I always do one. So we’ll put in a pelvic thrust, but it wasn’t a creepy. It’s never like perverted club scene style, unless that was what it called for.  

In which case, if it was called for, you would do it.  

Um, I think I have one more move and like, I can’t, I can’t do it, but I just, like, I really loved my boyfriend. So I’m going to put in Ryan’s a backflip to his head move and it would probably end my life If I’m in the desert island. But I would end with a bang  

Kamikaze, it would go, go out with a snap from  

Beap bop done. Okay. 

We’ll  also be linking to a clip of Ryan doing this movie. I can find a clip of him doing it like 9,008 times back to back, back then  

Its in the, the old, um, intro for, so you think.  

That’s him. That’s the move. That’s it  

In my bedroom when I was a kid watching the first season in Australia, which I didn’t really watch it that much, but all I remember was that. And that’s when I started to learn headstands in my lounge room, I was like, oh, Hey Ryan,  

And now he’s your boo cup business partner done. But wait, you can’t tell me that you do not also remember Blake McGrath’s shoot the duck forward jete thing. Oh yeah,  

Yeah. I do. I was more, more into doing the headstand because for sure energy, for some reason  

All about conserving energy, like minimum input, maximum output, that is what you do tremendously well, and I, that celebrate the  

Laziest hard worker ever. 

It’s an excellent thing to be. 

Yeah. I love it. I love being that kind of person.  

I admire it. You inspire the shit out of me. I was so thrilled to have gotten, to talk to you about these things that I’ve always been curious about and so many more. So we’re gonna, we’re going to wrap this up here today, but you and I are, have, have plenty of making to do and plenty of catching up to do. Congratulations on the new space. I can’t wait to see it. Oh my gosh. You and Ryan  

You have to come over and we can do Tik Toks together. 

I’m extremely down and unlike my husband, I love painting. So if you need a paint partner, I’m happy to do that with you. I could do it all day long. I love it. Oh gosh.  

Well I’m going there right now. Not that you have to come right now, but also because I was obviously telling Ryan I was doing this and we just want to hang out with you. So please.  

Okay. Thank you. So, so, so much. 

Thank you so much. Bye bye. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed that. Chat with my friend Smac and I hope that you begin preparing for the day that someone asks you for the eight songs you would choose to listen to in perpetuity forever, as you are stranded and probably sunburned on a desert island somewhere. That is it for me today. I hope that you dug this episode. If you are digging the pod, please go leave a review and a rating. So super helpful to me. But the most important thing to me is that you go keep it funky. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye  

Me again. Wondering if you ever noticed that one more time. Almost never means one more time. Well, here on the podcast, one more thing actually means two more things. Number one thing. If you’re digging the pod, if these words are moving you, please don’t forget to download, subscribe and leave a rating or review your Words Move Me too. Number two thing I make more than weekly podcasts. So please visit thedanawilson.com for links to free workshops and so, so much more. All right, that’s it now for real talk to you soon. Bye. 

Ep. #65 Money March Pt. 3 MINDSET: MATH vs DRAMA.

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #65 Money March Pt. 3 MINDSET: MATH vs DRAMA.
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My goal for this episode is NOT to tell you what you should or shouldn’t think about money, or even THAT you should or shouldn’t think about money.  My goal is to  hold a safe place for you to explore, and discuss your RELATIONSHIP with money.  By the end of this episode, you’ll understand your beliefs about money, how (long it takes) to make a billion dollars AND the very significant role your emotions play in managing your wealth.

Quick Links:

Columbus and Billionaires: https://www.truthorfiction.com/if-you-made-5000-a-day-starting-in-1492-would-you-still-have-less-money-than-jeff-bezos/

Transcript

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight, but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place. 

Dana: Hello. Hello.  Hi, and welcome to the podcast. I’m Dana. This is Words That Move Me. I’m stoked. This episode is a really, really special one, a subject that is very close to my heart, question mark.. I take that back immediately. Um, close to my mind, at least pretty close to my mind. Most of the time, um, today we’re talking about money mindset. This is part three of money March. We’ve already discussed dancer specific dollars. In episode 63, episode 64 was all about choreographers and the unique challenges that we are looking at in our industry right now. And today we are talking about your mindset about money, and I’m very simply put separating the math from the drama and I’m jazzed about it. But first we’re going to talk wins, and I love my win this week. I’m very excited to share. I’ll tell you mine, and then you will take the floor and share with yourself, or whoever happens to be around you, uh, something that’s going well in your world.  So here we go. Uh, this week I am celebrating that there is finally an in theater and HBO max release date for In the Heights, which of course is Jon Chu’s feature film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda and  Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Tony award-winning musical coming to the big screen. Holy smokes. You guys, I’m extremely emotional about this one. Um, for, for much of 2019, I lived in New York city and was an associate choreographer along with Ebony Williams, Emilio Dosal, and Eddie Torres Jr. Um, working under the fearless leadership of dance and choreography champion, Mr. Christopher Scott and wow friends. I cannot wait for you to see this film. And, uh, I’ve been fortunate enough to reconnect with some of the team in the last few weeks. And that is my win. I am. I’m simply smitten with admiration and awe and pride, um, at being a part of this team and a part of this project, I am thrilled for you to see it. Okay, now it’s your turn. What is going well in your world?  

Congratulations. I commend you for your grind. Please keep going. There are important stories out there that need to be told, and they are demanding and they’re calling for you. So keep going, keep winning and dammit. Even if you’re losing lose forward. I think the more eloquent way to put that as fail forward, but just, just keep going. All right, congrats. You got this. 

Now my aim for this podcast, for every single words that move me episode is to help you listener become more informed and empowered and capable and actively creating more than you consume in terms of value in the world. Um, but my goal for this specific episode is not to tell you what you should or shouldn’t think about money or even that you should or shouldn’t think about money. My goal is to hold a safe place for you to explore and, um, discuss. And in general, become more aware of your relationship with money. Uh, I suppose you might think of this as, as a relationship counseling session, but since money doesn’t have thoughts and feelings about you, this is going to be a pretty one-sided session. Now, before I get too deep into it, uh, the lovely Riley Higgins, who is my assistant engineer on the podcast, she creates interactive PDF worksheets for every single words that move me podcast episode, the worksheets are designed to be a companion to each episode, a place where you can really apply and study what you are learning, what you’re listening to really recommend you check those out worksheets are sold in bundles of ten at thedanawilson.com/shop And we are making a special deal and bundle out of the money March episodes. So all four parts of our money March series will be turned into worksheets, bundled together thedanawilson.com/shop And they will exist for you there forever. Um, so that you can keep your financial flow locked in and lovely. I love alliteration. I really can’t help it. Um, I really do encourage you to go check that out. Especially this episode’s worksheet will be particularly useful because today I’ll be asking for a lot of crowd participation. Um, I’m going to ask you to look to yourself for a lot of answers to questions instead of to me or to my guests. Um, I suppose I should also make a quick warning that this conversation can bring up a lot. 

Yes. Money. When I think about money, I think about my dad. I think about my childhood. I think about this country. I think about my car. I think about my house. I think about homelessness. I think about inequity. Wow. I mean, this subject of money is loaded and we’re going to start unpacking it. We’re going to unpack it because it can teach us so much about ourselves and our world. Now, before we even unzip to unpack, let’s talk about the suitcase that we’re unpacking. I am very interested in social and economic justice yet. This episode is really not directly about redistributing wealth from the haves to the have nots from the oppressors to the oppressed. This podcast assumes that you are listening to this podcast, which means that you have a phone or some sort of device, possibly a computer or tablet. And you have wifi. This episode was created with an audience whose basic human needs are already met in mind. All right, let’s jump right into it. Shall we? The first idea that I want to introduce is this concept of a relationship. I already touched on it once already, but whether, whether you’ve said yes to that relationship or not, you are indeed in a relationship with money and just like in a friendship or a romantic relationship, your thoughts and beliefs about your partner affect your experience of the relationship. If you think your partner is the greatest thing since sliced bread, which Holy smokes let’s be real is so good. I have a loaf, the sourdough bread on my counter right now. And it’s so, okay. We’re back. Money, money, not bread, money, not bread. Oh my God. Money, bread. Okay. Moving on. If you think your partner is the greatest thing since something great, you probably feel wonderful about being in a relationship with them, or perhaps you think that your partner is cheating on you. And that makes for a very different experience of the relationship. You might even be able to remember a relationship where the harder and harder you to get the interest of someone, the less interested they became is this a, is this a scary parallel for money or what it might be? It might not. The point is the thoughts and the beliefs that you have about your partner affect your experience of the relationship. So let’s uncover your current beliefs about money. I’m going to start by asking three questions and I’ll leave a little bit of space here for you to answer. If you’re using the words that move me worksheets by all means have a heyday. If not a plain old pen and paper or note in your phone should do just fine. 

Question number one is this, what comes to mind when you think about money?  What comes to mind, when you think about money? Do you think about catch phrases? Like money equals power or time is money or you have to work hard to make money? Or do you think more personal thoughts? Like, Oh, I’ll never be a millionaire as a dancer. When you think about money, do you think about the stuff that money buys do you think about the people who have it? Do you think about the people who don’t have it? When you think about money, do you think about disparities, pay gaps and equity? What comes up for you when you think about money, make a list of all your thoughts, or I suppose you could simply think them, but we will be coming back to this in a moment. Feel free to take a little more time if you would like. 

Question number two is a two-parter part one. Do you have a lot of money? And why? Part two? Do you want a lot of money? And why do you have a lot of money and why? And do you want a lot of money and why? Yes, my friends, we are doing it. We are uncovering your beliefs about the greenbacks. Okay. Next question. What were you taught about money from your parents, from your teachers, your role models, leaders, key figures, and even friends in your life. What were you taught about money? Were you taught that, that you need to hold on tight because you might lose it at any time. Were you taught that it takes money to make money? Um, were you taught that high risk equals high reward? What were you taught about money? Of course you can take as much time as you need here, but I’ll keep moving. 

My fourth question is simply what is money factually? What is money? Not your thoughts about money, but what actually is money. Of course I consulted the internet and the Internet’s definition of money is a current medium of exchange in the form of coins and bank notes. Yep. That’s it. Coins and bank notes. Uh, current medium of exchange money. Factually is neutral. There’s nothing in that definition that says money is good or money is bad, or even money is essential. It is a piece of paper or a coin that humans have all collectively agreed is worth something. Imagine an alien descends on earth lands here and finds a $100 bill on the ground and a dime. And let’s say a crushed up Carl’s Jr cup. They would have no idea which one has more value because humans have invented the construct that is money and humans have a lot of different thoughts about what it means.  Do you love that? In that scenario, I made this subtle assumption that aliens are real and that money is in fact neutral money itself by itself is a circumstance. It’s not until we think about it, that it holds any rank or pull on our lives. We think that it’s essential for survival. We think that we don’t have enough of it or that other people have too much of it. You can, and you probably do think many different thoughts about money than I do. We, the universal we, will all think different thoughts about money. And that is a beautiful and slightly scary thing. But the bottom line is that most of us think thoughts about money, not facts about money. The facts are the simple math, but the thoughts are usually simple drama. You know, that friend who makes everything extremely dramatic, nothing is okay. Everything is either amazing or awful. Yeah. That might be you a little bit with maybe it’s possible. So let’s focus on separating facts about money from thoughts about money. Take a look at your answers to the questions that I’ve asked. What comes to mind when you think about money, do you have a lot of it? Why do you want a lot of it? Why, what were you taught about it and look closely at your answers there? How much of that is money math and how much of that is money? Drama.  Challenge yourself by asking is this is, this is what I’ve written here really empirically true, or could someone else think something differently? Could someone else even with similar circumstances think differently. In other words, I’m asking, do you have a money problem or do you simply have money drama? No matter what the answer is to that question, the good news is that both the circumstance of money and your drama about it can be changed. Check that out. Pretty sweet. Huh? I think so. 

Now I want to deconstruct a very popular idea. This idea, that hard work putting in your time, saving up your money and making a budget will make you rich.  Time does not make money. Hard work does not make money. A budget does not make money. It might save money, but the only thing actually makes money is value. Value is a measure of the benefit provided by a good or service. And my friends, we definitely want to create benefits just like we want to reap the benefits, right? So how much benefit are you providing? How much potential do you have to create value in the world? What skills do you have that the world could use? What ideas do you have that the world is begging for? You can go ahead and start a list for that too. I love that list. Now, as a demonstration of this fact, this idea that time doesn’t make money and hard work definitely does not equal money. As a demonstration of that fact, I am going to call on a, um, a tweet that was made back in 2019. If you used Twitter or the internet in 2019, you probably this tweet floating around. I think the original author of it was Zach Walls. Um, he, he, he wrote, if you worked every single day, making $5,000 per day from the time Columbus sailed to America, to the time you’re reading this tweet, you would still not be a billionaire and you would still have less money than Jeff Bezos makes in a week. Yikes. Let me just call that back. If you worked every single day for $5,000 a day from the time Christopher Columbus sailed to America, which was, I believe 1492. If my rhyme serves me correctly, um, until today, quote unquote, which was sometime in 2019, you would still not be a billionaire and you would still have less money than Jeff Bezos makes in a week. Well, my friend, there has been some pretty intense fact checking and math mapping on that tweet. And at least the first part of it is still true to this day and will be true. The first part of it, um, meaning $5,000 every day from 1492 until today, you still would not be a billionaire. That part is true and will be true until 2054, indeed. It would take about 562 years at $5,000 per day to become a billionaire. So what does that tell us? Well, a, it tells us that Jeff Bezos has an almost unthinkable amount of money. Um, and that if you’re a dancer earning the 2019 median average hourly rate of $17.49 per hour, that’s about $139 and 92 cents per day, which is a far cry from $5,000 a day. Um, yeah, if you’re a dancer making the average median hourly rate, you’re far from becoming a billionaire, unless you think outside of the billable hours in a day, let’s take a look at Oprah for example, always let’s always look at Oprah. For example, Oprah didn’t become a billionaire by increasing her day rate or her hourly rate and simply working more hours. She did it by creating value that works and earns even while she’s sleeping, that my friends is the dream, no pun intended. So yes, do everything you can to build the skills that earn you top dollar in your field, create and contribute benefits in the world. And yes, and also look for or create ways that your money can make money without you lifting a finger. This might mean licensing your choreography. Shout out to last week’s episode or writing a book perhaps, or selling a product, or of course, keeping your money in a safe place with a high interest yield instead of under your mattress. I suppose, in, in the words of my dear friend, Marty Kudelka what I’m trying to say is work smarter, not harder and let your money do the same. 

Now, the next thing I want to talk about is emotions. Dana, why are you talking about emotions? This podcast episode is about money. Well, chill out and find out. I want you to take a moment and list all of the emotions that you associate with money, either having it or not having it doesn’t matter. A couple of examples are settled, safe, or struggling, glamorous, guilty, happy, scared, embarrassed, um, proud, free, greedy, accomplished, jealous, indulgent, superior inferior. Just rattle them off all of the emotions that you associate with money.  

Now I’m going to say something that you might not like money cannot make you feel any of the things on this list. Now you might be thinking, uh, no Dana, for sure. I’m telling you. I swear to God. If I had money and could pay my rent, I would be happy. I would feel safe. If I can just pay my rent again, I’ll ask you to challenge yourself here, strip away the drama. You think you would be happy if you could just pay your rent, but is it possible that you could pay your rent and still be very unhappy? Is it possible that someone with a lot of money paying their rent could feel unhappy or insecure even? Is it possible that someone with very little money could feel happy? Yes, of course it is. I like to think of, um, Bernie Madoff. When I talk about emotions and money, Bernie Madoff, I can remember his last name because he is the financial advisor slash market maker slash fraudster who, I think that’s a word, but I’m not sure. Um, who made off with a bunch of people’s money. He’s the confessed operator of the largest Ponzi scheme in world history. Um, the amount missing from his client’s accounts was almost $65 billion. And we’ve already talked about how much a billion is now. Here’s the thing. Bernie’s clients felt great investing their money with him because they thought keyword, they thought their money was in good hands. Their money was long gone, nowhere to be found, but they felt fine until they found out their money was gone and enter the drama. PS, Bernie Madoff must be in his eighties by now and is still in prison. So yahoo. Now of course, money itself, coins, paper. They don’t affect our emotions, but if you happen to believe that money and your emotions are directly linked, you may actually be avoiding money to avoid the feelings that you don’t want to associate with. You might actually be avoiding money to avoid feeling greedy or indulgent or self-centered or ego maniacal, or you may be chasing money thinking once I have it, I can finally feel free or happy or glamorous or proud or accomplished. And this is a problem. This is a problem because all feelings are available regardless of money. Period. I know some very, very wealthy people that are very, very unhappy and extremely insecure. I know a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck that are thrilled with their lives, Joyful, grateful, generous, giving. These are just two examples of the evidence that money itself and the having of it is not directly correlated to your emotions. So are you avoiding money because of the way it makes you feel? Are you avoiding looking at your checking account or balancing your books or emailing your CPA because you feel stupid when you do it? Past itself raises hand. I’ve definitely gotten better at this, but these are two really important questions to ask yourself, are you avoiding money because of the way that it makes you feel or are you chasing it because of the way you think you’ll feel when you have it? If the answer is yes to either of those questions, take a super pause and really zoom out, actually better yet. Zoom in, zoom in to that feeling that you’re, that you can’t handle feeling or zoom into that feeling that you’re chasing that you think is sitting there with the pot of gold under the rainbow. Zoom in on that feeling. Can you feel it? Can you imagine what it feels like in your body?  I bet you can feel that feeling right now. This, my friends is why managing your emotions is an excellent first step to managing your money now to show the importance of the way that you’re thinking with regards to money, we’re going to do a little experiment. 

Notice the difference in the way that you feel. When I mentioned these different scenarios. Imagine you go to the store and you buy $10 worth of food and drink or anything that $10 can buy. All right. That’s scenario one. How does that, how does thinking about that scenario make you feel? Scenario two is a little bit different. Let’s say when you went to the store, you had a $10 bill in your back pocket. And when you got to the store to buy the stuff, the $10 bill is not there. It’s fallen out. You’ve lost it. You’ve got all your stuff up on the conveyor belt, $10 not there.  How do you feel? Next scenario. Let’s say you’re eating out with a friend and they have lost or forgotten their wallet. So you say, dude, no worries. I got you. It’s just 10 bucks. You from your friend, your friend, 10 bucks for them. Yeah. How does that feel?  Say this next scenario, you pay $10 for an online class. This is a teacher that you love. You get a great class. How does that feel? Notice the difference you feel when you think you are losing money versus spending money versus lending money versus investing the actual math of it is all exactly the same money goes out. That’s what happened in all of those scenarios. You bought things at the store, you lost the $10 bill. You covered your friend, you loaned your friend $10. Um, you paid $10 for an online class. The math is the same $10 out. The rest of it is drama. The drama says I should get something. When money goes out, the drama says that when you lose money, you get nothing but inconvenience in return. The drama says that when you loan money, you’re helping and that feels good. And depending on the situation, you might even think you’ll get it back.  The drama says that when you invest, you think you’ll get it back plus some, but all are simply money out. So what if you could think of the dollar falling out of your pocket as paying for a lesson, maybe not a dance lesson, but a lesson in where to put your money. What if you could think of the money falling out of your pocket as lending money to someone else thinking that you’re helpful? Certainly it feels better than thinking that you’re reckless or that the universe is somehow unfair and his targeted you. What, if you could think that you will absolutely get that $10 back someday, 100%. That’s going to come back to you. If you truly believe that you would get that $10 back, I bet the way you treat the person at the checkout counter, when you realized your $10 was gone would be different. I bet the way you talked to yourself in that moment would be different. I really encourage you to start noticing the language that you use with yourself. When you think about money, not just the money out, but the money in as well.  Think about making money versus earning money versus creating money. Do those generate different, different feelings in your body, different modes of being. For me It sure does. When I think about earning money, I am absolutely thinking about working. But when I think about creating money, there’s all sorts of different possibilities. There, possibilities that don’t necessarily include me busting through the cartilage in my knees. 

Now, while we’re on the subject of trying on new words and new thoughts, when you’re thinking about money, you may notice that I have not yet mentioned abundance mentality and his entire episode about money mindset. I haven’t talked about abundance mentality. That is because I think there is a lot of, uh, excuse me, bull*** around the power of positive thinking. When it comes to money, taping a $100 bill to your ceiling and looking at it every morning and night will not make you rich thinking that you are a millionaire, doesn’t make you a millionaire, but thinking like one and then taking massive action, sometimes massive risk. Well that might help you to become one.  The numbers are the numbers. What you earn is what you earn, what you spend is what you spend, what you have is what you have. And what you’d like to have is what you’d like to have. That’s all math, everything else is drama. And it’s optional. Please. Don’t forget to take a look at the worksheet companion to this episode and the rest of the money March episodes. I’m really hopeful that they will help you gain clarity of your thoughts and feelings around money. They are also a very interesting time capsule type project, a really cool thing to do once, maybe twice a year returned to reference back to, and really kind of clock how those thoughts, feelings, and yes, the math changes over time. Highly, highly recommend, okay, everybody that is it for me today. Next week I will be joined by not only a dancer, but a CPA as well. And yeah, that’s one person I’m super excited about next week’s episode. It’s entirely Q and A. So anything that’s come up for you in this episode or in the last two, all things money March, bring your questions about money, bring your questions about contracts, my guests, and I will do our very best to answer all your Qs. Get out in the world. Everybody be kind, and please Keep it funky. I’ll talk to you soon. 

Me again, wondering if you ever noticed that one more time. Almost never means one more time. Well, here on the podcast, one more thing actually means two more things. Number one thing. If you’re digging the pod, if these words are moving you, please don’t forget to download, subscribe and leave a rating or review because your words move me too. Number two thing. I make more than weekly podcasts. So please visit  TheDanawilson.com for links to free workshops. And so, so, so much more. All right, that’s it now for real talk to you soon. Bye. 

Ep. #64 Money March Pt. 2 CHOREOGRAPHERS

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #64 Money March Pt. 2 CHOREOGRAPHERS
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Let’s talk ORGANIZATION! Choreographers and their teams (assistant choreographers, associate choreographers, co-choreographers etc.) along with production assistants are the ONLY category of workers on Film/ TV/ Commercial sets that do not have Union representation.  What does that mean? It means no minimum daily rate, no Health & Pension contributions, no residual structures, no penalties for overtime, or turnaround time.  Why does that matter? Because DANCE and the people who make it are pillars of popular culture (to say the very very least). 

In this episode, I talk to two time Emmy award winning choreographer, Kathryn Burns and Craig Baylis.  Craig is a former dancer who has gone onto work in damn near every sector of entertainment from Artist Development & Tour Marketing to Product Management and even SAGAFTRA member and Staff.

In this episode we scratch the surface of several deep and delicate issues from daily minimum rates (and what’s so great about em) to supply and demand, licensing, and even copyright of choreography.

The learning curve set ahead of choreographers is steep.  We must teach ourselves AND the record labels and studio big wigs on the other side of the negotiation table what we do and what that is worth.  Grab a pen and paper, and get ready to study up!

Quicklinks:


Choreographers Alliance: https://www.choreographersalliance.org/
Dancers Alliance: https://www.dancersalliance.org/
Sagaftra: https://www.sagaftra.org/

Transcript:

Ep. #63 Money March Pt.1 DANCERS

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #63 Money March Pt.1 DANCERS
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Dancers are unique in many many ways, not least of which is our income.  It comes from MANY different places, at inconsistent intervals, it’s often not taxed… and then there’s the actual numbers!  We might make $17.49/ hour, we might make over $1k per day, we might make $0.00 in a month, we might make $250,000.00 per year. Still interested?  Yea, me too.  In this episode, I break down the rates, tips, and trades that helped me understand and OWN my full financial picture.

Quick Links:

DA Rates/ Working Conditions: https://www.dancersalliance.org/da-rates

TV/Theatrical 2020 Summary: https://www.sagaftra.org/files/sa_documents/SAG-AFTRA_2020TV-Theatrical_Summary.pdf

For super bonus extra credit: Understanding Residuals SAGAFTRA: https://youtu.be/p4U7CRtmdVM

Understanding IRAs: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/investing/learn-about-ira-accounts

SAGAFTRA Music Department (for all your Music Video needs):  (323) 549-6864 

Money Book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6705806-the-money-book-for-freelancers-part-timers-and-the-self-employed

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight, but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.  

Dana: Hello, Hello, my friend. And welcome to Words that Move Me. I’m Dana, jazzed that you’re here stoked about this episode, even though it is about not my favorite subject. Yes, it is money March on the podcast. And in this episode, we are talking about the money side of dance life. Um, we’re going to focus specifically on dancers. We’ll talk about choreographers next week, but if you are an actor, a singer or another type of creative human or performer, um, or the parent of one for that matter, keep listening because there is a metric boat load of information about personal finance, uh, for people who do not so regular work. Uh, but first we’re going to talk wins. I have a very not money-related win today. I have taken ballet class three times in the last eight days, which is more than I have taken ballet class in the last eight months.  And it’s feeling very good on my body. Um, I think this particular brand of ballet is a compassionate one. I’ve been taking class from the fabulous Spenser Theberge, and, um, I’ll be real with you ballet, and I have have had a rocky past, uh, we’re we’re not known for getting along and Spenser acts as such a marvelous mediator for me in that relationship. So if you’re looking to get back into a, a ballet class or a ballet practice, I really do recommend Spenser Theberge’s class. He’s been teaching on zoom lately. I don’t know how much longer that will continue. Um, but I will link to Spenser and some more about where to find him in the show notes for this episode, Shout out Spenser. Thank you so much, my friend. All right, Now, it’s your turn. What’s going well in your world. 

Awesome.  I’m so proud of you. I’m glad that you’re winning. I’m glad that we’re here winning together. Um, and this episode togetherness is important. Having it together is important. In this episode, we’re going to talk about the uniqueness of a dancer’s income and exactly what a dancer’s income might be. Um, we’re going to talk about the importance of a solid money system. I’ll give you a few tips there. Um, I’ll give you some essential vocab and I will also give you a very broad stroke outline of what kind of dollars you can expect to be making. When you’re working as a dancer in movies, TV shows, commercials, music, videos, industrials tours, and live shows. Am I missing anything? Oh yeah. Even student films, um, and projects made for the interweb. So this episode is full and it is for you buckle up.  

All right. I want to start off by saying that I think it is fascinating that most dancers and choreographers for that matter, who decide that they want to pursue a career in dance do so without having the slightest idea of how much a dancer or a choreographer makes. I think that actually most creatives are in a similar boat. Um, most of us don’t pursue this creative career. This self-employed life for the money, right? We don’t do this for the money. We didn’t get into it for the money yet. Chances are that if we quit, if we abandon this creative life, this freelance life, it’s probably because of the money. So let’s get a grip on that. Honestly, it’s wild to me, but it is real. I packed up my Volkswagen bug and moved across the country without a clue about the money I would make or without a clue about how much it costs to be alive in Los Angeles.  It was my first time living under my own roof. I paid all my own bills and I had no clue what to expect. And that’s not necessarily for lack of trying. It’s actually pretty easy to look up estimated incomes for various professions, but you’ll find that the range of income for a dancer or a choreographer is extremely broad yet the numbers for salaried professionals like software engineer or a nurse or a pilot, for example, those numbers are pretty firm. And I think that people who decide to become doctors, pilots, pharmacists, whatever they do so, considering that number, and they probably have an idea of that number when they’re pursuing training. But do you, my dear mover and shaker busting your balls for a career in dance. Do you have any idea how much a dancer makes in a year and to all my more established movers and shakers, do you know how much you made last year?  

You might because it’s tax season, but do you know how much you spent? Could you tell me that number without running and grabbing your last year’s tax returns? Do you know how much you would make in one day on a SAG-AFTRA theatrical contract, where there are two other dancers? Do you know how much you would make in one day on a, on a theatrical contract where there were eight or more other dancers, I’ll give you a hint. Those numbers are different. Now, listen, there is no shame game here. No shame at all. In fact, I had to look half this stuff up as I was preparing for this episode, but simply put, I have to say this stuff because in the intro to this podcast, I say the words, if you’re looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then stick around blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. What I should’ve said is if you’re looking to rewrite the starving artist story, stop being afraid of money, stop being afraid of looking at your balances and your bills and your contracts, and start talking about reading, about learning, about making and managing money.  

This episode exists to help you do exactly that at very best. It might be boring to you, but I’m going to start with some cold, hard facts today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about half of the dancers in the workforce made less than the average American in 2019, the us census median individual income. So the average American individual made a little over $40,000 in 2019. The median hourly rate, I always say rage. I say rage on accident, but I don’t know if it’s an accident. The median hourly wage for a dancer in 2019 was $17 and 49 cents an hour. That’s $36,501 and 63 cents for a full-time year. Now let’s be real. Most dancers don’t work full-time. So if the average full-time American is making $40,000 in a year, and the average full-time dancer is making a 36,000 a little more than 36,000 in a year that median hourly wage $17 and 49 cents leaves you at a little less than $700 for a 40 hour work week. Discouraged? Maybe, but don’t get discouraged, get deliberate, get deliberate about how you earn, spend and grow your wealth. I’m going to give you a little encouragment moment. Also, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of entertainment professionals is projected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029. That is faster than the average for all other occupations. What does that say? It says that people want to be entertained and they always will. It also says there’s a chance. So you’re telling me there’s a chance. What was all that one in a million talk?  I digress, man. I love movies. Um, let’s see, in case you need a little more encouragement as of today, which is March, 2021, a dancer hired as a soloist or part of a duo on a SAG-AFTRA theatrical contract, theatrical, by the way, it means films. AKA features that dancer will be paid a minimum rate of $1,030 in one day. And that’s just for the initial work. That’s not including the residual payments. It will get into, uh, the terms in the contract, specifics of all that in a moment. But for now I’ll wrap up this section by saying, dancers are unique. For many, many reasons. One of them is that dancers might make 700 per week, or we might make over a thousand per day, or we could make zero in a month or we could make 250,000 in a year. I would love to see dancer rates and dancer employment go up. But I don’t only think there’s an income challenge here. I think that most of us self-employed dance types actually have a cash flow challenge. Um, I think we never learned how much we ought to be charging. I think we never really learned how to manage it once we make it here are, if you other things that make us really, really unique, um, other than our exquisite fashion sense and physical superpowers of course consider that the traditional employee has their taxes paid automatically. When they receive their check, their taxes are already gone. They’re taken out already like Macavity. They’re not there. Sorry, Cats. I can’t help it. Wow. Movies shown up a lot for me today. Um, also traditional employees receive health and pension plans through their employer. Imagine that they get paid vacation, sick days and personal days. They have a fixed income that usually comes from one place.  We do not. In fact, if you’re good at what you do, you’ve got money coming from a lot of different sources for varying amounts on a super irregular basis and through different money channels. For example, PayPal, for all your zoom classes, residual checks from SAG-AFTRA direct deposits from your agencies, um, direct deposits from productions and various payroll companies like media services, entertainment partners, dance studios, all of it. Oh, and if you have an LLC, if you are a single member, LLC, then you’re hopefully also receiving payroll from yourself. So well, this can make tax season really woo exciting. And that is exactly why it’s important for independent contractors like us to organize our money lives and to our own personal financial systems. And that is whatever works my friend, because we truly are unique, little dancing snowflakes. And um, Oh, I wonder if the sugar plum theme music is creative commons. I should be playing that right now. I could probably use that anyways. What I’m trying to say is that we, we independent contractors have to be more disciplined than the average nine to fiver in order to keep all of this creative freedom in our daily lives. 

Okay. So let’s get into some vocab, shall we? Um, I mentioned already the median average dancer hourly rate, and I want to make sure that I’m explicitly clear about what that means. Um, it means that half of the data points fall below that number, that $17 and 49 cents per hour and half of the data points are higher than that. So if Sarah let’s say, makes the median average dancer rate of $17.49 an hour, she makes more than half the dancers in the workforce. And half of the dancers in the workforce are making more than she does. So to revisit math class for just a quick second, the median number is the number smack in the middle of all the data.  The mean average in this case would be, um, every dancers hourly rate added up together and then divided by the number of total dancers. And the mode average is the number of most commonly occurring. Great math. We did it. Um, okay. Now let’s talk about some fun acronyms. Let’s start with SAG-AFTRA, shall we, SAG-AFTRA is the labor union that represents 160,000, probably more than that. Right now, actors, announcers broadcast journalists, dancers, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists, and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA stands for Screen Actors Guild, which then merged with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. There you have it, SAG-AFTRA. The stage equivalent of SAG-AFTRA is called Actors’ Equity. They represent more than 51,000 actors and stage managers. 

Now let’s talk DA. DA stands for Dancers Alliance, a group of dancers, including myself who advocate for equitable minimum rates and working conditions for all non-union work. That’s any gig that falls outside of SAG-AFTRA’s jurisdiction. For example, Paul Mitchell decides to do a hair show. This is not on camera. This is not a Broadway or off-Broadway show it. This might be taking place in Austin, Texas. For example, that work would fall under the jurisdiction of Dancer’s Alliance. Now let’s talk about a slightly less sexy acronym. I R A or individual retirement account, which is kind of like a savings account, but you can’t use the money quite yet. And it has tax advantages. We’re honestly, we’re not going to talk much about IRAs today, but I will link to a really helpful video on the subject, um, in the show notes of this episode, enjoy that. Okay, let’s talk P and H. P and H is V important. Um, P&H stands for pension and health. These are contributions that go to a pension fund and healthcare.  In my case, I received these through SAG-AFTRA now because dancers are typically young and healthy. Most of us don’t care too much about P&H, but Wowza, if this last year is any evidence, we can all become sick. We can all become injured and you cannot dance if you don’t have your health. So I strongly encourage you start recognizing the benefits of health and pension benefits. All right, let’s talk CPA’s. A CPA is a certified public accountant, and I’ll be real with you. There are a lot of online services that boasts the ability to save you money on your taxes. But I find that working with a real human being CPA, whose name’s Jeremy shout out Jeremy, um, on my taxes every year is really the only way to go. I have a lot of that software out there isn’t designed to handle the uniqueness. That is me and you.  So that’s a CPA certified public accountant. Now a CB as in bargaining, a CBA stands for collective bargaining agreement. This is the agreement between the union and the employer that you work under when you’re a part of a sag after contract, for example, uh, people who support collective bargaining and unions in general, believe that employees have a better chance at getting what they want in terms of rates and working conditions. When they negotiate as a collective, as a union, rather than individually. Now, when we talk about SAG-AFTRA contracts or CBAs, we’ll discuss four broad categories of work, TV, theatrical, commercial, and new media. Oh, another fun acronym, S V O D subscription video on demand like Netflix, Apple+, Hulu, Amazon, all of those guys, they’re making this conversation very interesting. Okay. Now, when I get into talking about SAG -AFTRA commercial contracts, I’ll go deeper on the concept of residuals, but just for the purpose of this vocab section, a residual or royalty payment is sometimes known as a use payment.  That simply means that an additional compensation will be paid out when a production is shown at, beyond its original covered use. The rest of it is not so simple. Okay. That was not simple. I’ll be real, but we’re going to get into residuals in just a second. Now I’m not a financial advisor. I am not a fiduciary, but I do financially advise you to purchase this financial book. It is called The Money Book for Freelancers part-timers and the self employed it’s by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan. Um, um, it is in the show notes for this episode and it is very well-written. You will laugh. You will likely cry, but that’s not because of the writing. That’s because you love moving your body. You think it’s fun. And this book has nothing to do with moving your body.  

Um, but it has everything to do with moving you towards financial freedom. I owe a lot to this book, which now that I say that out loud is really funny because the book itself is only like $15. And I paid for it all at once. So I know I owe nothing to this book yet. I know yet I owe so much to this book. Honestly, it’s like a handhold. It’s like a financial partner all the way through guiding you. Uh, I honestly, I got straighter answers from this book than I have gotten from previous CPAs and financial advisors who wiggled around concepts for hundreds of dollars. And this book was 15. So there you have it. Oh, and it was not paid to say this, by the way, uh, the money book outlines system for organizing your financial records, it helps you get a clear picture of how much you earn what you spend and what you owe, which by the way, with just a few hours of very focused time, you could probably, and should probably do that today.  

Um, the book also explains how you might prioritize paying off debt. It helps you evaluate not only the number side of your business, but also encourages you to evaluate how good you are at doing what you do and kind of offer some ideas about how you might do it better, truly awesome. Um, but there were three massive takeaways that I, that I gathered from this book, and I want to share them with you. Number one, I learned the importance of web only banking. I moved most of my money to a web only bank, which means they have no storefront. They have no like in-human exchanges there. Um, but this web only bank had a much better annual percentage yield, which by the way, the yield is how much the investor, in this case you receives from the investment, the amount of money that you have sitting in the bank, the interest rate on my old checking account at the Bank of America, shame on you was 0.01%. When I switched over to the web bank that I use, which is ally, I got 1% on that same amount of money. I got 1% interest. Now for math sake, let’s say I had a thousand dollars in that account. At B of A, in one year, that thousand dollars would have made me 10 cents of money that the same thousand dollars in my ally account would have earned me $10, 10 cents versus $10. And when the amount of money in the account goes up, that disparity goes up a lot as well. .01 and 1% are really different at the end of the year. Um, for the record, I should state that ally at the time that I signed up boasted that 1% interest rate, um, at the sign-up time. But I believe now it’s dropped 2.5%. So I might be shopping for a new bank holler. Let me know what you know.  Um, Oh, I also have to tell you while we’re talking about interest rates, high interest rates on savings accounts, high interest rates on savings accounts equals good. High interest rates on credit cards, however, equals bad because the cash is flowing in the other direction there. Um, for a credit card, you are paying the interest, not earning it because in that, in that case, you’re the borrower, not the lender. Okay, there we go. So that’s lesson number one, the value of web banks and higher interest rates on savings accounts. 

Lesson number two, what the book refers to as the Holy Trinity of savings at the time that I read this book, read it, wow. At the time that I started, um, I started shaving off 10% of every check that I made. Every single check I received. Hence percent of that money went directly into an account dedicated for emergencies.  Another 10% got shaved off and went over into a retirement account, which would later be shipped off into an IRA. But let’s skip that for now. Um, where were we? 10% to emergency fund. 10% went to a retirement fund and then 15. And when I say fund, I mean savings account, and then 15% of each check went to yet another web bank savings account to be paying my taxes. So, yeah, that’s 35% of each check that I would ship directly off to a high interest yielding savings account. And each of those accounts has made me hundreds of dollars. Yay. Great. Oh, on the subject of those of the Holy Trinity of savings, I also learned the value of naming your accounts. Most banks, especially online banks will let you give a nickname to your savings account. I am here to tell you that you are more likely to feed a savings account called the house of my dreams or my first film versus a savings account ending in numbers. Right? Um, but you could call yours whatever you want. You could call it F You, Uncle Sam, whatever makes you feel funky, whatever inspires you to throw money in that direction, you could get very creative here. See there is creativity to the financial side of the dance life. Um, okay. So all of that is to say there are a lot of small changes you can make on your own that will really change your big financial picture. But I do want to underline the importance of having a solid team, um, throughout the rest of this episode. You’ll hear me say, ask your agent or ask your CPA a lot again, don’t be afraid to ask questions about money. It’s okay. If you don’t know, in fact, it’s your CPA’s job to know more about taxes than you do, and your agents exist not only to send you on auditions, but to help you understand the terms of your contracts, to make sure that you are agreeing to a fair wage. And then yes, of course, to make sure that you are receiving that fair wage. Um, super shout out, by the way, to all my friends at CTG clear talent group and to Tim O’Brien and Misha Goetz specifically who joined me in episode 34, that one is must listen, go ahead and give that, uh, give that a listen. Okay.

 Moving right along now, I’m going to move into some more gig specific numbers. I want to say that I have advocated for unionizing in the past. I helped unionize music videos and when a union contract for a tour, but this episode is really not about union versus non-union work. Um, and while we’re on the subject, I really want to address this common misconception that union contracts are about making you more money. Um, this is just simply not true. Union contracts don’t mean more money, but it also does mean more protection and more support in terms of what’s covered in terms of where the money goes like health and pension contributions.  And it also means that you’ll have much more support to make a dispute in the event that something goes wrong or the terms of the agreement aren’t met. All right, here we go. Dancers and dollars. Mind you. This is specifically dancers as in dance performers, not teachers or studio owners or choreographers. Also keep in mind that these numbers do change over time. I’m recording in March of 2021, and I’m using the numbers relevant to today. Also, just to keep it focused, I’m only going to discuss rates, not penalty fees or working conditions like dressing rooms, warm up spaces, releases, breaks, turnaround times, et cetera. So we’re going to start off by taking a look at the industry standard rates for non-union projects. I’m referring to the Dancers Alliance website, which is dancersalliance.org That will be in the show notes, um, which is by the way, super user-friendly and all of this is there in plain English. I really encourage you to do a little deeper digging yourself. All right, Dancer’s Alliance live shows industrials and non-union music videos. Your rehearsal rate with agency fee on top of these minimum rates would be $175 for a one to four hour rehearsal day. That’s a half day at $175. Anything over that four hours becomes time and a half a full eight hour rehearsal day would be at $250. Anything over eight hours becomes time and a half for a show day or a shoot day. We’re looking at a $500 minimum. The, the rate for a rehearsal on the same day as a show is open to negotiation. You would expect to receive $150 minimum per travel day or retainer day. If you’re working outside of your hometown, you would also receive per diem. On top of that travel day, pay a per diem, by the way, is a Latin phrase that translates to by the day.  This term also refers to the amount of money paid to employees for different types of daily scenarios. Um, most common uses for per diem are tips, food. Um, you know, other odd incurred costs that you have when you’re out there in the world, working away from your normal workspace in Los Angeles. The average per diem rate is $66 per day. In New York, It’s $76. In Las Vegas, It’s $61. In Atlanta and Miami, that’s both $66. There is a full list of those on the Dancer’s Alliance website. Go check that out. All right. Now, if performers are requested to supply their own costumes, uh, including footwear wardrobe items will be compensated at $25 per outfit. That’s total, not per day and $15 per pair of shoes. Ah, while we’re on the wardrobe, subject fittings outside of a rehearsal day will be paid at $50 per hour.  Fittings on a rehearsal day are applied to the time that you’ve worked. So most fittings usually happen on record. Okay. If the terms that I just stated, aren’t met on a project, talk to your agent, simple as that. Now music videos are now covered by SAG-AFTRA. Yeah, yes, we are celebrating this because music videos used to be the Wild Wild West, and now they are slightly less wild. A dancer, It’s it’s not common that a dancer would be paid in food like in pizza and beer to perform in a music video. Now, dancer rates are determined by the video budget. Um, dancers make a minimum of 500 for a 12 hour shoot day for all videos with a budget of 50,000 or higher all performers receive safety, provisions, health and pension contributions and usage fees. This is great. Now the DA website has a super helpful cheat sheet on their website that I have included in the show notes as well. Um, but because I mentioned safety provisions, I want to talk about that for just one second. Although it deserves an episode entirely unto itself, music videos have language for quote, extraordinary risk circumstances and quote. This is AKA hazardous conditions. Um, anything from dancing on unusual surfaces to aerial work or trampoline work, or even wearing gear that’s not made for dance like ski boots or skis or a head dress or mask that compromises your vision. All of these are considered extraordinary risk circumstances, but on a music video, even significant floor work on concrete may be considered hazardous. So on a music video specifically with a budget of a hundred thousand or less dancers are entitled to an additional $50 per day videos with a budget of above 100,000 are entitled to an additional one, $100 per day. Now, no matter what the project, if you feel that the work you’re being asked to do is a threat to your safety or wellbeing, talk to your agent period, the end. Um, and also the next time you open your phone to scroll through Instagram, just go scroll through Dancer’s Alliance website instead. Okay, the end, moving on.  

Okay. Moving on SAG-AFTRA contracts, as I mentioned for dancers, these usually fall up or four main categories, but there are so, so, so many more like dubbing, voiceover, um, news broadcast, et cetera. There’s a lot, but, um, we’re going to focus specifically on TV, theatrical, commercial and new media. Now it bears mentioning, there are a lot of changes going on, um, especially in the TV and theatrical contracts, like literally as we speak. So even if you’re a person who works on these contracts regularly, you should consider taking a look at the, 2020 TV theatrical summary, which is linked in the show notes of this episode, and absolutely be standing by for the new net code contracts. Um, but for now we’ll give a brief outline of these four categories and their rates as they stand today, we’ll start with theatrical because let’s face it.  Everybody loves the movies. Theatrical means film or feature. There are basic theatrical agreements, low budget agreements, modified low budget agreements, ultra low budget agreements, short project agreements and student film agreements. Um, each of these contracts, if you couldn’t guess is determined by the budget of the project, um, they’re each slightly different, but pretty well outlined on SAG-AFTRA’s website. If you’re curious about those, um, uh, I suggest you go take a look, but I’ll tell you about the dancer rates for the basic theatrical contracts here. If you are a solo or a duo being hired on a theatrical contract, you’ll be making $1,030 per day. If you’re in a group of three to eight performers, your rate per day would be $902. And if you’re in a group of nine plus, your rate will be $788 per day. All of those are at a $607 rehearsal day rate.  Now weekly rates are higher, um, obviously, but significantly less than all of those numbers. I just mentioned times five. So, uh, bears taking a look if you’ll be on a weekly rate versus a daily rate, um, all right, let’s move into TV contracts. Whoa. This can feel really, really confusing because a contract for scripted episodic, um, like Big Bang Theory, for example, are different from non scripted network shows like competition shows ie. Dancing with the Stars. So you think you can Dance, World Of Dance, um, and award shows like the VMAs or the Oscars or the Grammys. Those are all non-scripted shows and those will fall under what is called the NETCODE or network code. Um, the other slightly muddy element here is that there are countless episodic or scripted series shows now being made by and for SVODs. Do you remember what that stands for? Scripted Video On Demand?  

Yes, we did it, or we did it. We did it together, anyways, actually at this point in the quarantine is hard for me to name five shows that are not Amazon, Netflix, or Hulu or Apple+ originals. These are TV shows in air quotes that are not on TV. Um, to simplify this a little bit, your TV rate and your TV contract depend on the budget of the production, the number of episodes and the episode length. For example, if you’re being hired for, um, the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is an Amazon original because of its high budget and the episodes are longer than 20 minutes, you’ll be on a TV contract. But if you’re hired for a YouTube series or another streaming show with, uh, with a script, um, that has a budget of less than $1 million, you’ll likely be on a new media contract, which we are talking about next again, I truly do suggest that you ask your agent what type of contract you’ll be working on if they haven’t already told you before your first day of work, simply so that you know what to expect.  

All of these contracts are slightly different now, new media contracts for all streaming platforms, whether they be Amazon or Instagram, whether they be film spots, series’s or commercial spots, as long as the budget is between 50,000 and 1 million, it will be on a new media contract. New media rates really fluctuate depending on the scale of the budget. And, um, again, to be sure if you are on a new media contract or not check with your agent, um, so that you can know how much you should be expecting to make this is important stuff. Okay? Lastly, the coveted commercial contracts, which let’s be real, there are no less complicated than the TV contracts, because so many commercials these days are intended exclusively for online use. So they fall under the new media contract that I just talked about. But if you’re a commercial, your piece of media is intended for TV.  Then there are different classes and different rates of agreements. Class A is the most popular. That means the spot will air in over 20 cities. Class B applies to commercials that will air in six to 20 cities. But if New York is one of those cities, the rates will be higher. We’ll talk about that more in a second, um, class C commercials, these are the least used contracts and they apply to commercials that will air in less than six cities. Okay. Last but not least, there’s the wild spot. The wild spot is a commercial that is aired in over 20 cities like the class a, but these are specific cities. So, um, let me think of an example. Okay. A commercial for In and Out for example, is not going to be running on the East coast because there aren’t any in and outs out there. So these commercials don’t run on specific networks, per se. They run in specific regions and for specific markets. Um, so all those contracts are slightly different, but in one way, they are all the same. They have a rate for first use. That’s what you get paid when you shoot it. And that rate covers the initial usage of the spot. Then the more, the spot airs you will be paid in a residual payment that is of course, unless a buyout was negotiated. Again, we’ll get to that in just a second. Let’s talk class A for a second, if you are a Class, A on-camera performer, that means there’s less than three of you. Your rate is $712 per day. If you’re on a Class A contract and there’s three to five on-camera performers, that rate would be $521 and 20 cents per day. If there are six to eight of you, the rate would be $461 per day. And if there are nine or more performers, that rate would be $381 per day. So you see how that goes. The more performers there are, the lower the rate, the final group nine plus is also known as group nine. Now we’re going to touch on wild spots for a second, just a quick second, because the rates are the same as the Class A rates, which makes sense because they’re also aired in 20 plus cities. So if you want to know what you make on a wild spot, rewind 10 seconds and you’ll have it. Um, okay. Class B rates, they vary depending on whether or not New York is one of the places your spot will air. So that’s fun. Um, but the rates are much higher. If New York is one of those cities, uh, a principal might make $1,347 and 14 cents per day. But without New York as one of those cities that same performer would make $1098 and 75 cents per day.  Fortunately, the numbers get a little easier from there because if you’re in a group of three or more New York or not New York, doesn’t matter. If there are three to five performers, you’d be making $857 and 96 cents. Six to eight performers, you’d be making $758 and 66 cents per day and a nine plus we’re looking at $620 and 24 cents per day. That’s our class B which again, not very commonly used because you can imagine that. Or at least I can imagine that why use that contract with all those fancy New York adjustment, higher, higher rate adjustments when it could just be made on a class, A contract. So I’m so curious about if that even gets used. Really curious, anyways, moving right along. Class C, okay. Class C on camera principals, we’re talking $654 77 cents for the first day. For first use per day, a group of three to five, we’re talking $567 and 44 cents.  A group of six to eight performers is looking at $504 and 33 cents per day. And your group nine is looking at $412 and 39 cents per day for the first use. Of course, all of those rates I just mentioned are for the initial use. That’s what you’ll be paid for the shoot. Now, the rest, rests with the residual gods. Again, a residual payment is simply additional compensation, which is paid once the production is shown beyond its original use covered by the initial compensation. For example, for theatrical film, residuals would be triggered once the film is released anywhere other than theaters, the theater release is the original use. So residuals would start coming in once the film is released as a DVD or aired on TV or online or something like that. Now that is a very grossly, gross get it, gross pun. Um, not gross, like nasty, but gross as in like total. 

Okay. Just to go one tiny layer deeper, there are two different types of residuals. Fixed residuals, which are based on the run of the spot. Um, these exists for TV and new media contracts only. So the amount that you would receive are based on how you were initially paid, and they’re tied to the number of reruns they’re due within 30 days to four months. And that is your fixed residual. The more popular residual structure is a revenue or gross receipts based residual structure. This one’s the most popular it’s tied to sales. Um, they’re due quarterly, or as soon as funds are sufficient enough to cut checks to the entire cast, which by the way, I have been on the receiving end of 1 cent residuals. So I guess that number is substantial enough to cut a check, um, that sort of thing happens. It’s really actually incredible.  Um, so these type of these revenue based residuals, um, they’re based on time and salary units. So the person with the smallest residual is probably the performer who, who worked maybe one day at scale on the project. The bigger slice of the residual pie would go to the person who worked at or above scale for multiple days. And so those, those residuals scale accordingly based on time and salary units, I hope that’s been helpful in, in your understanding of how residuals work. If you are into a deeper dive, I’m going to point you in the direction of, um, a video starring SAG-AFTRA’s own Jennifer Gaudry, it really gets into the nuts and bolts of residuals. Um, if you’re interested in that, God bless you find the video in the show notes. Um, I do want to heads you up though. I usually watch YouTube videos at 1.5 X speed. Um, I watched this one slow and multiple times to understand it. Definitely some layers of understanding here. Now, since we’re here talking about residuals, it’s worth mentioning that most non-union commercials and new media contracts can form to industry standard rates and safety measures, but they do not offer residual structure. Instead you’ll likely receive what’s called a buyout, AKA a usage fee that is a flat rate one-time payment usually bundled in with your initial fee. Um, and it’s intended to cover all additional uses in perpetuity.  I’m not thrilled about buyouts. If you can’t tell, I am thrilled, however about these contracts and the fact that they are always getting slightly better, thanks to the work of our brothers and sisters over the union. It truly is an incredible thing to watch progress happen over time, and to watch the benefits of these contracts start being rolled out. Very, very cool thing. Um, also I want to point out with regards to these SAG-AFTRA contracts, All of the numbers that I just mentioned, all of the numbers that you see on the rate sheets on SAG-AFTRA is website. Those are minimums. There are performers who have their agents negotiate above scale, and I want you to be one of those performers. I want you to become so capable, so exceptional that you are an exception to the minimum. I want to see you not only working, but working above scale, absolutely working above that median $17 and 49 cents per hour. And I believe that you can. Now we are dancers, not mathematicians. Although I do know several dancers that are very, very good with numbers. We can all count to eight at least. And we know how to add. We especially know how to add value. So please danclings know your worth, know your rates. And if there’s something that you’re confused about or concerned about, or don’t understand, choose curiosity, instead of confusion, refer to DA’s website, check the SAG-AFTRA website, check Actor’s Equities website, talk to your team of agents, talk to your team of friends, choose curiosity, get that information, get a clearer picture of your financial life and what you should expect. And then of course choose compassion always for yourself and for others, especially set as things can get heated, especially when we’re talking about money.  Remember that when you’re on a gig, you represent a part of the professional dance community and being treated and paid as a professional comes along with behaving professionally. All right, my friends, I truly hope this episode has been helpful to you. Um, it has been helpful to me in making it, I have learned so, so, so much now, uh, go take these resources and run with them. Do deeper dives, do deeper digging and do make good habits of understanding your contracts before you sign them. All right. Now, go get out into your day, keep your money on your mind. Keep your mind on your money and yes. Keep it funky. I’ll talk to you later  

Me again. Wondering if you ever noticed that one more time. Almost never means one more time. Well, here on the podcast, one more thing actually means two more things. Number one thing. If you’re digging the pod, if these words are moving you, please don’t forget to download, subscribe and leave a rating or review because your words move me too. Number two thing. I make more than weekly podcasts. So please visit the theDanawilson.com for links to free workshops. And so, so, so much more. All right, that’s it now for real talk to you soon, Bye!