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Livin' La Vida Corporate

25 Nov, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

For a couple of weeks I've been kvetching about how studios count things. But since then I've had an epiphany.

A bunch of years back, when the U.S. government sunk bazillions into Chrysler to bail the company out, Arlo Guthrie had a song about how he was changing his name to Chrysler. Somehow that song came back to me, and I realized that all these years I've been doing it wrong. So starting tomorrow, I'm declaring myself a corporation -- Holly J. Wagner Inc. -- and let me tell you, some things are going to change.

1) Starting tomorrow, I want to collect my paychecks in EBHITDA. That's Earnings Before Health Insurance, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. Heck, corporations report earnings sans liabilities all the time, why can't I? I want to live like the rest of the industry, in a world where your paycheck is what it says it is before all the stuff you wish you didn't have to pay for.

2) The company and I already have a revenue-sharing agreement. I show up for work based on faith that I'll get a paycheck two weeks later. Note to Self, Inc.: renegotiate agreement for more on the front end.

3) The content industry's measurements of “lost sales” have eluded me until now, but suddenly I see it. In fact, it's an incredible opportunity to fill gaps between unrealistic projections and actual results. From now on, I'll do the minimum, rehash what I've already written and generally skate. If my bosses complain, I'll just tell them it's “lost copy.” Those are the stories I would have gotten if I'd gotten off my ass, but I was busy figuring out how to get paid for yesterday's news.

4) In fact, “lost copy” opens up a treasure trove of goldbricking. It's a lot like “the dog ate my homework,” but better. It covers getting beaten by the competition, not getting phone calls returned, not trying hard enough, missing deadlines, stories I pitched that got rejected and stuff I've written that gets cut.Yeah, from now on call me Ms. Wagner. I'm a corporation.

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