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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

It is very pricey for the artist to live nowdays...especially non-commercial artists that do 'art for art's sake'

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Awesome post! I used to be friends with a prolific roadkill forager in Massachusetts. Not my cup of tea, but kudos to you! I'm relatively young, so the only world I know is where 90% of the population lives their entire lives on the brink of bankruptcy. Vote Bernie, I guess?

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Yes being an artist sucks if you're an upcoming artist.
My girlfriend how is also my DP most of the time is also a sculptress and with both of us working in the creative fields it's hard sometimes. Right now I prioritized not registering my car because two registrations and a major fix of a car just wasn't in the plan. The thing is we both work all the time either it's shooting or producing something, photography, graphic design, website design, etc. Or my girlfriends sculptures. I mean there's enough stuff to do 24/7 but yet we still struggle with paying the bills sometimes with rent being high.
Since my girlfriend is a really good sculptress she asked to be credited as an artist by the state and this would mean that the state would pay her medical insurance and the equivalent of a retirement fund. But of course it was denied because of lack of things that other approved artists didn't have.
So it all depends on what who you know in the art world and as far as the creative part goes with film it's basically the same thing.
That means being an artist is really hard in this day and age. Not that it was any easier in the past.
I think the problem is that with all the new ways to comunicate a lot of good things get lost among all the noise.

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Well with us two our creative work does pay.
My girlfriend got a really good review form an art critic, crediting her with starting a new style, she had gotten an award in NYC last year and more. Anyway her sculptures are really great.
The problem is that it takes a lot of work marketing her work and this area is not really the right demographic for sculptures because her sculptures have to be under priced to sell in our country. Internationally is a lot more difficult because you need to know people to get anywhere but art can be sold at a much higher price internationally.
As far as film goes getting funding around here means getting a couple 1000 grand for any kind of weird film. So not much in the line of films to do around here unless you do it on your own. Which we do most of the time but it's for our own learning purposes. 
We do some music videos but the problem is bands around here have no money so you can't really charge them the amount that you'd need to sustain a business for a music video and I don't like doing stuff for cheap because it looks cheap. So usually it comes down to too expensive or working under the price but it means we make almost nothing. Great for the band not so much for us.
So we need to shoot other stuff like events which brings additional expenses and again you're not making enough money again or they just decide to go with someone that will do a bad job for really cheap (like $150 for shooting a wedding) and you can't compete again.
Basically if we want to work in film or art we need to find a better place meaning we need better connections elsewhere.
Anyway I'm not complaining because I've been very fortunate I owned my own IT business for years before it tanked and have always been able to work with my creativity. I only wish the paycheck was a little more consistent but for that time will come too. 

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On 2/16/2020 at 3:14 PM, Vital Butinar said:

Yes being an artist sucks if you're an upcoming artist.
My girlfriend how is also my DP most of the time is also a sculptress and with both of us working in the creative fields it's hard sometimes. Right now I prioritized not registering my car because two registrations and a major fix of a car just wasn't in the plan. The thing is we both work all the time either it's shooting or producing something, photography, graphic design, website design, etc. Or my girlfriends sculptures. I mean there's enough stuff to do 24/7 but yet we still struggle with paying the bills sometimes with rent being high.
Since my girlfriend is a really good sculptress she asked to be credited as an artist by the state and this would mean that the state would pay her medical insurance and the equivalent of a retirement fund. But of course it was denied because of lack of things that other approved artists didn't have.
So it all depends on what who you know in the art world and as far as the creative part goes with film it's basically the same thing.
That means being an artist is really hard in this day and age. Not that it was any easier in the past.
I think the problem is that with all the new ways to comunicate a lot of good things get lost among all the noise.

On 2/16/2020 at 3:14 PM, Vital Butinar said:

 

Yes, artists are good at having to juggle finances to get by. Plus the population has exploded, so lots more artists grabbing for the apple. Maybe that extends to filmmakers as well with the explosion of digital and YouTube...everyone is a filmmaker! In the old days filmmaking was more esoteric. But the need for filmmakers has also exploded with all the outlets we now have. 

Don't know about your local, but in the USA we have tons of art schools popping out a steady flow of artists as well. 2 creatives  as a couple can be tough, unless at least one of them has a good foothold with producing a steady income.

Same thing with musicians. I had heard a piece on public radio about symphony jobs. They said sometimes there may be a hundred applicants for one opening. Someone could be great, but if they make one mistake playing in the interview they are out of the consideration, as too many others applying for the same job won't make that mistake.

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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1 hour ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Yes, artists are good at having to juggle finances to get by. Plus the population has exploded, so lots more artists grabbing for the apple. Maybe that extends to filmmakers as well with the explosion of digital and YouTube...everyone is a filmmaker! In the old days filmmaking was more esoteric. But the need for filmmakers has also exploded with all the outlets we now have. 

Don't know about your local, but in the USA we have tons of art schools popping out a steady flow of artists as well. 2 creatives  as a couple can be tough, unless at least one of them has a good foothold with producing a steady income.

Same thing with musicians. I had heard a piece on public radio about symphony jobs. They said sometimes there may be a hundred applicants for one opening. Someone could be great, but if they make one mistake playing in the interview they are out of the consideration, as too many others applying for the same job won't make that mistake.

 

Yeah it's true. Two creatives as a couple can be tough sometimes. 
I did have a very successful IT business until a few years ago when the economy tanked and my girlfriend used to be a successful makeup artist and supplied makeup for other artists as well. So we are not just "artists" but once upon a time we both had successful businesses.
I believe that there are "artists" everywhere and a lot of them may not be as good as they think but as a contrast my girlfriend is a really good sculptress. She's had quite a few exhibitions and gallerists really love her work because she has an new take on some sort of classic theme. In other word's her art doesn't just have some kind of meaning (like shoes on the wall or something) but has an aesthetic to it as well.
Besides being a sculptress she's still a makeup artist but in the last couple of years has become a really great director of photography and editor. But is also a really good photographer.
On the other hand I have tried to perfect myself as a director and producer. But I'm also well versed in story telling and filming and editing. Actually my girlfriend was the one who encouraged me to get into filmmaking since I realized that this was something I wanted to do after my IT business tanked. So I learned everything from a to z about everything so that at I know something when needed. 
But I also do work in other areas. I still try to work in IT if there is any and I also do graphic design from time to time. Not to mention that sometimes I do website design and I am also a dance instructor and have been for years.
So all in all among the two of us we can do pretty much anything. The problem is that prices are so high that we have to work all the time to pull it off financially. Sometimes I start thinking that it would be easier if we had a regular 8-5 job and wouldn't worry about anything.
But on the other hand whenever we have a great film project we're really excited about it and give it our all.
The thing is that both of us strive to work in the film industry. For myself to become a film director and my girlfriend as a sculptress and a DP.

Anyway all in all it is hard to make it as an artist but I feel that with the right drive and determination I believe that they can make it even in the creative world. Hope I'm not wrong.

By the way just to show here's one of my gf's sculptures so you can see what she does since I mentioned it.

 

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On 2/8/2020 at 9:52 AM, Frank Hegyi said:

Awesome post! I used to be friends with a prolific roadkill forager in Massachusetts. Not my cup of tea, but kudos to you! I'm relatively young, so the only world I know is where 90% of the population lives their entire lives on the brink of bankruptcy. Vote Bernie, I guess?

Jeffery Silverthorne?  The famous road kill photographer from Massachusetts?

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On 2/8/2020 at 9:08 AM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

The cost of living has skyrocketed. It has especially hit the non-commercial artists that do 'art for art's sake' hard.

You left LA in 1989? I've only been here since 2002 and the price to live here has skyrockted since the recovery started in 2010 ish. 

When I moved here from Boston, I found the price to be very similar in both places. $1200/mo for a 2 bedroom apartment was the norm in LA. However today, the prices have skyrockted. You can't get a 2 bedroom in a decent place for less than $2400/mo. Everything has gone up in price, the DWP, the food, the restaurants, the gas, I mean it's completely out of control in my opinion. I remember when a $5.00 burger was expensive, now decent burgers are $12.00 without fries. The restaurants are still full of people, but the cost of owning a restaurant has gone up so much, it's causing a yearly price increase on everything. Now going out to eat for two is $40 + after tax and tip, even if it's just a burger, fries and a drink. 

I've been traveling all over the country and this problem is systemic. It's not isolated to Los Angeles at all. Seattle, Chicago, Portland, Denver, even Phoenix where I've spent a lot of time shooting my documentary, are all grossly expensive cities. Forget about Boston and New York, they're just colder version of Beverly Hills price wise. Everyone is searching for a place with good jobs yet a living style that isn't out of control. There are some places in Texas and the mid west, which have new industries coming in, where you can buy a house for $250 ish and get something pretty decent, but how long will it be before the demand to buy is so high that people start upping the prices on houses, just like they've done here in LA? Eventually all the great inexpensive places to live today, will turn in to expensive places and it won't stop, it will keep going and going and going. 

I'm currently engaged in my backup career for a while because I was tired of stressing out being an "artist" only. Though all it's done is stressed me out more because now I have much less time to be an artist, generally after work and on weekends. I wish I could leave Los Angeles, but like so many people who live here and other media cities, if you wish to practice your craft with the best of the best, you need to be around the best of the best. Los Angeles is for better or worse, the best place to be if you want to be a successful filmmaker. 

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3 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

When I moved here from Boston, I found the price to be very similar in both places. $1200/mo for a 2 bedroom apartment was the norm in LA. However today, the prices have skyrockted. You can't get a 2 bedroom in a decent place for less than $2400/mo. Everything has gone up in price, the DWP, the food, the restaurants, the gas, I mean it's completely out of control in my opinion. I remember when a $5.00 burger was expensive, now decent burgers are $12.00 without fries. The restaurants are still full of people, but the cost of owning a restaurant has gone up so much, it's causing a yearly price increase on everything. Now going out to eat for two is $40 + after tax and tip, even if it's just a burger, fries and a drink. 

I've been traveling all over the country and this problem is systemic. It's not isolated to Los Angeles at all. Seattle, Chicago, Portland, Denver, even Phoenix where I've spent a lot of time shooting my documentary, are all grossly expensive cities. Forget about Boston and New York, they're just colder version of Beverly Hills price wise. Everyone is searching for a place with good jobs yet a living style that isn't out of control. There are some places in Texas and the mid west, which have new industries coming in, where you can buy a house for $250 ish and get something pretty decent, but how long will it be before the demand to buy is so high that people start upping the prices on houses, just like they've done here in LA? Eventually all the great inexpensive places to live today, will turn in to expensive places and it won't stop, it will keep going and going and going. 

I'm currently engaged in my backup career for a while because I was tired of stressing out being an "artist" only. Though all it's done is stressed me out more because now I have much less time to be an artist, generally after work and on weekends. I wish I could leave Los Angeles, but like so many people who live here and other media cities, if you wish to practice your craft with the best of the best, you need to be around the best of the best. Los Angeles is for better or worse, the best place to be if you want to be a successful filmmaker. 

Yeah it's the same with prices around here too. Everything has gone crazy.
Rent has gotten several times higher even though there are a lot of empty places that could be rented out or sold.
You can't buy an apartment let alone a house as the prices have gone up so much that a sane person can't imagine the numbers involved.
On the other hand people aren't prepared to pay for any kind of services regardless of the quality involved. Like it doesn't matter what you do or how well you do it as long as it's cheap or even better free. Who cares if you survive or not as long as the person finds the someone to help them with whatever they don't know how to do. 
Just for reference the stuff that I complain about how much it costs is the stuff that I know how to do myself which is a whole lot of things and I rarely have to rely on someone else for some kind of services. 
On one hand some things are expensive or going up like taxes, when the road tax has gone up so much like I was driving a Bentley and not a 20 year old Jeep that keeps breaking down because of the crappy state of roads. On the other hand some stuff is so dirt cheap that I don't even understand how that can be. Cell phones, electronics and even service stuff like internet or phone bill which is so cheap that I can't even contemplate how these prices come about.

So yeah doing something creative as it seems everywhere is loosing it's value. The problem is that if they don't get it from you they get it from someone cheaper regardless of quality. That's why some stuff things seem to be of such low quality or it just looks the same as something else.

Unfortunately this is unsustainable because once creative people stop creating and turn to "regular" jobs there will be a deficit of supply and there will be no one left. That's teh worst case scenario but I keep wondering what would happen in a situation like that. A sort of Art type Boston tea party if you will. What would happen if someone would wake up and notice that there are no more graphics on websites, that advertisements in the mail have no more design or photographs and when they switch on Netfilx the only thing they could watch was the weather report or couldn't read anything but the tax law or phone book if that still exists. Not to mention no architecture or product design. 
I wonder how that would impact peoples lives.
And this is not mentioning a lot of other areas like art in the sense of music, paintings, sculptures, etc.

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On 2/18/2020 at 9:11 AM, Bruce Greene said:

Jeffery Silverthorne?  The famous road kill photographer from Massachusetts?

Nope. Different roadkill guy. 

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