Friday, October 14, 2016

"The Annual Report"

I could not believe my incredulous ears. 

“Do you want me to send it?” he asked me.

What he – “he” being Glen Svalstedt, the Director of Financial Contract Reporting for what is now NBC Universal – what my pal Glen – I call him my pal because I receive correspondence from him annually, which is more often than I get correspondence from my actual pals – what “Glenny Boy” was referring to was the updated annual “Statement of Accounting” report I am contractually entitled to as a “Modified Gross” profits participant for Major Dad.

“Are you kidding?” I replied.  This is my favorite day of the year!

Which by “this” I mean the day the letter carrier delivers my updated annual “Statement of Accounting.”  I was exaggerating, of course, but only in reaction to his inferred assumption that I might not want to receive the “Statement of Accounting” at all. 

I mean, Glen! – How long have we known each other?  Are you actually unaware of how much I look forward to receiving my updated annual report?  Come on, man!  The annual report is the TV Guide Preview Edition of fiduciary statements!

There is no certainty in this world.  But we always live with hope.  The hope that in the end, things turn out justly and appropriately, sending us to sleep believing that the world may not always be fair, but sometimes, things work out exactly as they are supposed to.

In this case, the hope that keeps me going – that allows me to get up in the morning and face yet another uncertain day – is the unvanquishable belief – like those valiant explorers believing against all available information that there is indeed a “Northwest Passage” – the unshakable belief that someday, I will see financial personal benefit from my contractual “profits participation” in Major Dad.

And the undeniable truth is…

I am getting closer.

As mutually agreed upon – though I do not recall having an actual choice in the matter – my “Modified Gross” profits-sharing position does not officially kick in until Major Dad is out of the “red”, or, employing accountancy jargon, all the series’ losses are finally “recouped”, taking the show into what the studio unilaterally determines is in “the black”, triggering the consequent “cha-ching.”  (Accompanied by my learning to play “We’re In The Money” on the piano.)

Here is the indisputable “Good News.”

2013  (Yes, I keep the “back reports” in a folder.)  “Unrecouped Losses”  (My computer reports “unrecouped” is not even a word):  $4,618, 313

2014 (“Unrecouped Losses”):  $4,408,923

2015 (“Unrecouped Losses”):  $4,323,862

and 2016 (“Unrecouped Losses”):  $4,295, 159!

Do you see the trajectory there?

I am unquestionably on my way!

Numbers don’t lie.  In the past year alone, Major Dad’s “Unrecouped Losses” receded… hold on, I’m doing subtraction here…

4,323, 862 minus 4,295,159…. I’ll be right back….

…. nine from twelve is three, carry the one, six from six is zero, one from eight is sevem, five from thirteen is, um… eight, carry the one, ten from twelve is two, carry the one, three from three is zero, four from four is zero…

And there you have it. 

I am 28,703 dollars closer to my goal!  

An advancement in the “profits-sharing” direction of – “ballpark” calculation – more than one-half of a percent!

Who do I have to thank for this bolstering ray of sunshine?  Not the studio, that heaped head-scratching surcharges onto every episode –like the “per episode” fee for an “on-site” Fire Department – charged to every series and movie filming on the lot – even though we never once had a fire and the studio fire fighters never even dropped by the soundstage for moral support.   Until those accumulated assessments are earned back, there is no chance of my seeing a single dollar in “Modified” profits.

In this financial predicament, the one way to pare down this continuing “Deficit” is for Major Dad reruns to syndicate well in foreign countries.  (American syndication revenues having ostensibly dried up.)

And here’s where I appreciatively tip my cap – to the countries subsidizing this Marine-o-centric TV comedy.

Thank you, Australia.  (Accumulated “Gross Receipts”):  $202, 512 *  (* Assumingly, American currency.)

Thank you, Belgium.  (Accumulated “Gross Receipts”):  $55,312

Thank you, France – You guys have always been there for us.  (Accumulated “Gross Receipts”:  $511,623)

Thank you Great Britain ($650,000).  Thank you, Italy ($498,550.)  Thank you… I can’t believe this… Luxembourg!  ($312,000).  We show up there, they’ll give us a parade!  (If we can figure out where Luxembourg is.)   

And, in the “Every Dollar Counts” Department – with apologies to those arbitrarily omitted from the list:

Thank you, Tunisia ($1,764).  Thank you, Switzerland ($1,561).  Thank you, Egypt ($1,350)  And thank you, Austria ($84). 

I once read a story where this extremely old woman began knitting a scarf – or was it a sweater – believing the Good Lord would not take her until her mission had been completed.

In a paralleling analogy, if I survive till Major Dad is mathematically in the “black”…

... I am destined to live forever.

In the meantime, Glen Baby,

Keep those accounting reports coming!

(Note:  I am sorry if the preceding sounds disingenuously whiney.  I did very well at Universal.  And I cannot prove for a certainty that series profit participants are inevitably cheated, as, like with Donald Trump’s tax returns, the studio’s books and accounting practices have never been opened to public scrutiny.  I’m just sayin’…)

1 comment:

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Earl: apparently you're in good company. Harry Shearer, one of the four co-creators of THIS IS SPINAL TAP, has just launched a $125 million lawsuit against Vivendi. It seems that in all these years, all these DVD and CD sales, all this success...the film has netted the creators approximately $140: