Putting Money Back into the Business

My working world bounces between three specific circles: business, financial, and creative. It's embarrassing knowing how much time I spend staring at spreadsheets and analyzing how things are going business-wise. Still, it's that time analyzing details and planning ahead that affords me getting to sneak into the creative pool more than if I wasn't putting in that "non-creative" work.

While I'm making more money here in NY, the cost of living and doing business is considerably more. The way I'm making money here – at least at the moment – is quite a bit different too. My camera operator/DP numbers are way up and there's solid uptick in my stock footage sales. My numbers as a production company though – a combination of above and below the line roles and hiring crew as needed – have dropped dramatically. By no means am I doing major long term planning based solely on my 2019 numbers, but surely there's some insight from these last six or so months combined with my other financials and work records.


I feel like understanding the health of my revenue streams gives better idea on how to re-invest my profits. There's always an incentive to dump money back into the company to help lower my yearly taxes, but it's hard to justify dumping money into something that's not promising a healthy return on the investment.

Last week I spent three days as b-cam op on a slick Alexa Mini setup with one of those Angenieux EZ 1 zoom lenses, an Oconnor 2560 fluid head, and a fancy pants Odyssey monitor that let you switch between the two cameras.

When you're working on gear that helps you do your job better you have fewer excuses to suck at what you do. Yes, by all means my heart was happy working with this camera package. And yes, I checked into the pricing and quickly started working through how to justify the purchases "for the business." Oh, and the sound mixer had one of those nice blue Schoeps CMIT5U microphones. Then the adult in me kicked in.

Looking at my current revenue streams why on earth would I dump that much money into an area that's not growing? Would this be a fantastic camera package? Yes. Would it get me hired more and grow this revenue stream? Not necessarily. Would my overhead go up? Absolutely.

It's a weird feeling having to switch gears in terms of how I'm putting money back into my freelance work. It's still early – just over six months – in my professional experience in this new market to seriously consider making major capital investments. But man, those Oconnor fluid heads are so freakin' nice to shoot on.