Equity Crowdfunding A Movie – An Opportunity for a Passive Income Stream?

Gentle Readers,

Any blogger with more than one post in a niche gets random emails soliciting posts or access to your platform. Most of them are clearly spam. They are the equivalent of offering to write a post about Viagra for a lesbian’s financial independence blog. They all claim to have read you and love your blog, but they’ve never interacted with you on any platform. (Hint, I’m on twitter and facebook and right here at www.zjthorne.com). No liking a tweet. No blog post comment. No indication that they’ve read you at all.

This time was different. The approach was interesting because they actually did some homework on me. They showed that they had read one of my pieces, or at least the title. They put in the minimal required effort to pique my interest. They are the first. There are perks with being first.

When you approach someone like you respect their time, they are more inclined to listen.

Based on our interactions, I believe this person’s idea was worth investigating. They did not ask for a post, and this is not a sponsored post. This is what happens when people respect others’ time and expertise (let’s joke and pretend I’m an expert here, thanks).  I am not receiving any money for this post and I have not decided if I would invest in this project.

Enough with the caveats.

What is Equity Crowdfunding?

Title III of JOBS Act made online equity crowdfunding legal. In a nutshell, you do not have to be an accredited investor in order to participate in some opportunities to invest now. Accredited investors have a lot of money and the government assumes that they know what they are doing when it comes to investing. Thus they are allowed to invest in securities that are not registered with financial authorities. The government thinks that slick folks won’t be able to pull one over on accredited investors and that they don’t need to be protected from themselves.

Those of us who do not make enough money are now allowed to buy equity in an early stage company. You are reading a FIRE blog and I assume you know what equity is. The goal is that this asset produces returns. You can invest in some startups now. That’s the gist of equity crowdfunding.

What is the opportunity?

That Christmas Movie LLC is seeking investments to get a Christmas Comedy out the door for the 2017 Holiday Season, “I’ll Be Next Door For Christmas.”  It is going to be a full length feature film and claims that it will be the first Christmas movie to raise funds this way. (The JOBS Act did not make this legal until 2016, fyi)

Essentially, they are making a low-budget Christmas Movie with some very talented folks, who’ve made comedies I’ve enjoyed before. They will leverage the money earned through equity crowdfunding to access other capital at a cheaper rate.  They’ve reached their minimum goal already and intend to make a movie on whatever budget they end up with. If I understand it correctly, they will not use more than $2 million total to produce this film.

If you have anywhere from $100 to $100,000, you can purchase a share of this security. You are buying Revenue Participation Rights. It is impossible to know what the interest rate would truly be, because that will depend upon returns, if any.  They’ve set up the company in a way to allow the investors to receive 100% of the adjusted gross proceeds up to the repayment amount, that is the $100 to $100,000 you put up. After all investors are repaid, 50% of adjusted gross proceeds would go to investors on a pro-rata basis. There is no term. You buy it and hope to receive residuals forever.

There is even a lesbian link

Jennifer Tilly joined the cast. She is not a lesbian, but she starred in a lesbian classic, Bound. Queer women throughout the US are grateful to her.

What do you think? Should I invest? I have the writer/director’s email and am not sure what questions I should be asking. What would you ask? 

Net Worth Week 54 – Dine With Friends Edition

Gentle Readers,
At long last, my client who insisted everything was urgent weeks ago, is coming in for final approval this weekend. Then my business can get paid!
I’m trying really hard to get a ton of overtime this week, while also planning on finally doing my Self-Employment taxes, which I am still intimidated by. I really want to pay off these credit cards and keep them paid off. My project is only scheduled for 8 more weeks, but could potentially last longer. I want to get myself into a really good position before the ability to do so much overtime goes away. Nearly $5K I’d like to pay off in the next eight weeks, and then I can re-focus on funding my IRA.
I did have a delightful text asking me to join a friend and his family for lunch in ten minutes on Thursday. I ignored my packed lunch and met them. This was the first time their son actually talked to me, too. It was wonderful. Dining with friends makes such a difference in my happiness levels. I would like to do this at least once a week. Lunch or happy hour or a walk or something.

This week’s net worth numbers

4/14/2016 4/21/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 518  1239
 IRA  12645  12768
 Brokerage 682  691
 Rewards Card 2 -1138 -1000
 CC (largest) -3227  -2761
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1231 -1176
SL 1 -104375 -104490
 SL 2 -45976 -46029
 Earnest -5285 -5296
 Net Worth -144811 -143478
 Percentage Change -.24 % .92%

Have you ever ditched your packed lunch for camaraderie?

Net Worth Week 53 – Maintenance Edition

Gentle Readers,
Monday I saw a play with a friend. Last night I had dinner with another friend. Today, I am meeting up with two different college friends. Neither of whom were planned before yesterday. I had brunch at my friends’ house last weekend and have plans with humans not my office for both days this weekend. I am doing a good job of maintaining friendships this month. It’s a lot though. I need to get some more things done. Always seeking balance.
I’ve had two different meetings with potential clients and another client may finally provide me with the final details so I can finish his case. My business will support itself for a few more months on this money.
I know I am behind on self-employment taxes and will pay the penalty, but I just couldn’t get to it by March 15th. I paid myself so little that I am hopeful that this learning experience will be worth the fee.

This week’s net worth numbers

4/7/2016 4/14/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 639  518
 IRA  12736  12645
 Brokerage 689  682
 Rewards Card 2 -585 -1138
 CC (largest) -3264  -3227
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1331 -1231
SL 1 -104519 -104375
 SL 2 -46041 -45976
 Earnest -5274 -5285
 Net Worth -144460 -144811
 Percentage Change .07 % -.24%

Are you ready for tax day?

Net Worth Week 52 – Year One Done

Gentle Readers,
One year of tracking my net worth is officially complete!
I’ve learned a lot by focusing so intently and have had some improvements while also having some setbacks. Those setbacks would have been worse if I hadn’t been focusing so hard.
At this point last year, my business was not going as well and I was about to spend a lot of my personal money keeping it afloat. I was also in a lot of pain, but had not yet figured out how to navigate the health system to get the care I needed. My girlfriend lived in my town, but in a very high stress, high hour job. I had begun learning a new skill, but was still very much a novice.
This year, I’m in a slightly better financial situation. My business is doing better and I understand better how to make it work. My pain is diminished and I am physically stronger. My girlfriend lives over 1000 miles away, and this chapter in our relationship has already taught us a lot. My skill-building is reaching exponential-growth levels and it is encouraging. My heart is also in a much calmer position. I’ve become more centered in a few ways even as the world around me, and portions of my life, are more uncertain.
This week has had some financial setbacks. After a few days with the mattress my roommate “gifted” me, my body has concluded it needs to be replaced along with the frame that is not structurally sound. I’m not thrilled with this, but I think my body can hold off a while. I ordered the frame my brother recommended and will use that once it comes in. I was worried for 24 hours that I would have to replace my phone after it took a trip into water. Thankfully, it is back in working order for now and I can wait to replace it.
I still find this weekly exercise useful and think I’ll keep it up for the time-being. One more year ought to get me into a better place.

This week’s net worth numbers

4/15/2016 4/7/2017
 Joy 1097 1105
 Travel 322 1
 Down Payment 18 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 31 285
 EF 9 11
Business 1 1002
Life 907  639
 IRA  7026  12736
 Brokerage 221  689
 Rewards Card 2 n/a -585
 CC (largest) 0  -3264
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -3000 -1331
SL 1 -101892 -104519
 SL 2 -45001 -46041
 Earnest -10036 -5274
 Net Worth -150230 -144460
 Percentage Change 3.84%

Have you grown this year?

Net Worth Week 51 – After Vacation Edition

Gentle Readers,
I saw my girlfriend for the first time in a month! It was heaven! It also was my first vacation of more than 2 days in a very long time. I set an out-of-office for my business, and warned my clients. So many ignored the warnings, but I held firm and did not engage in any work while I was there.
I meandered. I strolled. I had a networking lunch with someone in my profession who was incredibly kind. I saw a friend. I ate good food. I rocked a rainbow bikini.
Back to reality.  I am a candidate for the cheaper Invisalign according to the company I met with. I still need to talk to my dentist and get approval to pursue this option.
I was given a bed to replace the one I had that my body hated. Unfortunately, even with my brother’s help, the bed I received is not salvageable. I’ll figure out in a few days if I need to replace the frame and mattress or just the frame. This is not an expense I planned for. But I gave my bed away on the promise of this new bed. Sigh.
I spent more on ubers/lyfts this weekend than my normal, but it helped me see her city and meet the folks I wanted to meet.

This week’s net worth numbers

3/24/2017 4/4/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 994 1666
 IRA  12693  12757
 Brokerage 684  689
 Rewards Card 2 -301 -950
 CC (largest) -3500  -3514
 CC (longest) 0  -65
 Rewards Card -1302 -1416
SL 1 -104288 -104469
 SL 2 -45936 -46019
 Earnest -5716 -5736
 Net Worth -144183 -144567
 Percentage Change -.01% -.27%

When was your last vacation?

If It’s Good Enough for Obama, It’s Good Enough For Me: How I Chose To Resist

Gentle Readers,

You know I feel strongly about making the world a better place. You know that I am not in favor of our current POTUS. There are so many things he stands for that I find abhorrent. However, one person can only do so much, and I prefer to focus my efforts into things I can actually impact. I cannot do a damn thing about Russian interference. I cannot stop climate change. I cannot protect NAFTA. I cannot make them hold a hearing for Merrick Garland.

My advocacy must lay elsewhere if it is to have an impact

For advocacy to be most effective, it should focus on asking the right person to do or not do something specific that is within their power to do or not do. Unless your advocacy is more broadly about making a conversation happen. Changing narratives is important, but it cannot be the only thing done. I am glad that there are people staging protests and using their voices in that way, but it is not the route for me.

My tactics are different. I do not have much available time, and I must use it effectively.

I know that the election was decided by a very small margin of voters. I also know that many potential voters wanted to vote, but were disenfranchised. Either by someone’s intent, or through inability to secure the proper documentation. The very inability to secure the proper documentation is because of how we set up our system. I think it is intentional. Many countries automatically register everyone to vote, or use ink on a finger as proof that you’ve already voted, etc. Our system is not the only way, nor is it an effective way if you want more of the electorate to vote.

One of my many internships was working at a nonprofit that considered itself a homeless shelter without walls. We did not have beds for people, but we acted as a hub in that community to enable people to access the multiple services they all needed. Most of our clients had been through homelessness and many other complicating factors. To access services provided by the city and state, they needed to prove who they were. Many homeless individuals lose their birth certificates and other documentation because they are very far down in the hierarchy of needs.

Part of my job included contacting the office of vital records on a client’s behalf. I would fill out the paperwork and get our treasurer to write a check for ten dollars. None of our clients had ten dollars to spare for something that was not urgent for survival. Within seven to ten business days, that man would have a birth certificate. Then we would help him get an ID. Another process that can be hard for people to navigate. The forms can be confusing even if your language skills are more “advanced” than others. The forms also required patience and the ability to prove where you lived. Not always easy for someone. People who’ve been homeless don’t often have utilities in their name.

Without an ID, people cannot vote. As seen above, even without government agencies and officials intentionally disenfranchising people, ie felons and former felons in some jurisdictions, the processes to navigate having the paperwork can be impenetrable. If a person uses a mobility aid, and the bus system only comes by once an hour when it works properly, that person may not be able to make it to the DMV during the appointed time. Having nonprofits who can literally arrange transportation for people who do not have access to personal vehicles can literally be the difference between a citizen being allowed to vote in elections that impact their bus service and not being allowed to vote.

How I chose to resist

Knowing all this, I have followed President Obama’s lead and will focus my energies on voter enfranchisement work. He is a politician, and rightly focused on anti-gerrymandering work, but I don’t have the political knowledge or resources to impact these efforts. I know more about how government works than the average American, but not enough about the systems and processes and political machinations to be able to successfully work in that arena.

I don’t have the capacity to volunteer in a nonprofit at this time, but I do have the internet and the ability to research.

I looked at the states with the most voting restrictions. Then I narrowed that list to those states that had the closest elections in 2016. I chose to narrow in this manner because I do not have unlimited funds. If I were rich, I would have expanded my list and worked on all states with significant voting restrictions.

The states with the most voting restrictions that had the closest elections in 2016 were Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

I then searched for organizations in those states doing voter registration or anti-gerrymandering work. I found https://www.wisconsinvoices.org/, http://www.nonprofitvote.org/, and http://www.blueprintnc.org/. All of these organizations are focused on nonpartisan civic engagement.

If the organization I interned at still existed, I would love to donate to an organization like that. Especially if they allowed me to direct it to enfranchisement efforts.

This is the concrete action I have chosen to take. It is okay if you have chosen something else. I just needed a discrete problem to focus on because of how my brain works. I cannot solve all problems. I know advocacy works. I saw it when all of the phone calls, town halls, letters to Congress and berating our Legislators resulted in the Affordable Care Act living to see another day.

I cannot do everything, but I can do this one thing.

How do you engage in resistance? Do you have a nonprofit you wished I more folks donated to?

 

Net Worth Week 50 – It Might As Well Be Spring

Gentle Readers,
So sleepy this week. I’ve been working hard in my own business and getting OT at the gig. I’m trying to get more than ten hours of OT this week especially since I will miss a day each in the next two weeks because I get to see my girlfriend in person for the first time since she moved! All of the happy dancing!
I had a free appointment to see if I am a candidate for a cheaper version of invisalign. My dentist wants me to wait at least six months after my wisdom tooth extraction regardless, but I wanted to collect the data. I don’t fully understand why this version is significantly cheaper than traditional invisalign. I am waiting to hear from my friends to hear about their experience of this company. To be continued.
My company is stonewalling me about the W2 and I’m still waiting for a K-1 from an investment. Sigh.
I’m getting more and more excited about my skill-building classes. My progress feels like it is tipping over into the exponential realm

This week’s net worth numbers

3/17/2017 3/24/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 342 994
 IRA  12812  12693
 Brokerage 694  684
 Rewards Card 2 0 -301
 CC (largest) -3500  -3500
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1252 -1302
SL 1 -104172 -104288
 SL 2 -45883 -45936
 Earnest -5704 -5716
 Net Worth -144174 -144183
 Percentage Change .46% -.01%

How has Spring Sprung in your neck of the woods? We’re in a cold front and anticipating.

  

Net Worth Week 49 – Stella Edition

Gentle Readers,
My new suit is still being fixed at the dry cleaner, I’ll write a post about this drawn out process soon.
I began talking to my friends about local orthodontist and invisalign costs and timelines. My crooked teeth are causing more pain and I need to use my money to lessen that.
Still couldn’t finish my taxes, because my W2 is wrong, again. This company was wrong last year, too. Same damn issue. Same nonsense of telling me that they aren’t wrong. If they don’t fix it by Monday, I’m reporting them to the IRS. Tired of their bullshit.
It was a busy week with Winter Storm Stella and my skill-building class, but I am feeling more and more confident in my abilities.
I see her in two weeks and I’m so excited!

This week’s net worth numbers

3/10/2017 3/17/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 622 342
 IRA  12568  12812
 Brokerage 688  694
 Rewards Card 2 0 0
 CC (largest) -3999  -3500
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1629 -1252
SL 1 -104057 -104172
 SL 2 -45831 -45883
 Earnest -5692 -5704
 Net Worth -144841 -144174
 Percentage Change -.70%  .46%

Were you impacted by Stella?

  

Net Worth Week 48 – Oral Surgery Edition

Gentle Readers,
My suit arrived and the tailored made it fit. There’s still one small snag that I’ll need to have my dry-cleaner fix, but it looks like a million bucks. I’ll write a post about this drawn out process soon.
Oral surgery happened. Then ice cream and applesauce did. This process let me know that my insurance is now only acceptable at pharmacies that my insurer runs. No longer may I utilize CVS. It is inconvenient, but my past performance on prescriptions being such a rarity for me will hopefully continue trending.
I opened a new rewards credit card and was able to use my oral surgery to hit part of the spending limit. This card is for an airline that flies often between the cities my girlfriend and I live in. For now, I’m keeping all of my other cards open, but I may re-assess my needs and potential impact on credit rating. You’ll notice the big dip in my travel and EF account, because I wanted to pay for as much of my oral surgery as possible up front.
Taxes drafted. Schedule C. (got side-lined this week)
Skill-building classes returned!
Another client hired me as I nearly completed work on a different client’s project.
I finished funding my 2016 IRA.
 I bought my first ticket to go visit her in her new city!

This week’s net worth numbers

3/3/2017 3/10/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 324 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 811 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 2640 622
 IRA  12234  12568
 Brokerage 698  688
 Rewards Card 2 0 0
 CC (largest) -4260  -3999
 CC (longest) -191  0
 Rewards Card -2322 -1629
SL 1 -104201 -104057
 SL 2 -45896 -45831
 Earnest -6145 -5692
 Net Worth -143831 -144841
 Percentage Change .34% -.70%

How have your Marches begun?