MEDIA CFO — Episode 008 — Sky Moore talks to Tobias Jaeger about becoming the leading tax attorney in the media & entertainment industry and building a career through brutal honesty
We sat down with Schuyler „Sky“ Moore, Partner at Greenberg Glusker in Los Angeles. Being the prime authority on tax law for the media and entertainment industry is a reputation and expertise he has built over the last 30 years. Sky literally wrote the handbook on tax in media & entertainment as his landmark Treatise is used as a training book by the IRS for their entertainment group.
Sky got his law degrees from UCLA and beside his legal practice Sky is a successful author with his landmark book suitably entitled “The Biz”. He is a frequent lecturer, contributor, and speaker as well as a fixture on all major top attorney lists and rankings from Chambers, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and Super Lawyers. Sky is appreciated and respected for his direct, to the point style as well as a broad legal knowledge base which helped him build a reputation for efficient agreements and handling all aspects of the corporate lifecycle of the entities and organizations he represents.
“You have to translate from the way they think, which is often creative and spontaneous into legal speak, which means slow down, we have to do the documents, we have to do it right. Don’t stand up at a meeting and shake hands and say the deal’s done. We’ve got to look out for that. I act as the buffer between them and other business people in particular, whether that’s lawyers or studios.”
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Tobias Jaeger: Sky, welcome to the program. Thank you so much for making the time to be with us.
Sky Moore: My honor. Thank you.
TJ: I’m really excited to talk to you because obviously, you’ve been in this industry for a long time.
SM: Too long, way too long.
TJ: And I was wondering, give us a little insight into your journey. How did you get into this industry and then what made you stick around?
“In Hollywood, they love to do short deal memos, term sheets, letters of intent napkin deals. They love to do that. I never let my clients do that. I always have to temper their expectation and say, “We’re not going to do a one-page deal memo. That’s not how this works. That will end up in litigation. I’m trying to keep you out of litigation. We’re going to do this right. I can draft a short document, but it’s going to be a final document.””
SM: I was determined to be a tax lawyer. When I got out of law school, I took all the tax courses and I happened to end up at an… I didn’t know it at the time, a firm that specialized in entertainment law remarkably. I just took whatever job, and because they were so focused on entertainment, I ended up doing entertainment tax work.
SM: And then ended up writing a treatise called Taxation of the Entertainment Industry that became the leading treatise of this for the industry, and then segued from there into the corporate side and the business side and distribution and production. I just kind of expanded from the tax side. I’m still very much a tax guy, but obviously, cover everything now.
TJ: Yes. Is this how you kind of learned the industry that you came in from the tax side and then over time to some-
SM: Yes, I came in from the tax business corporate security side, and to this day, that’s really what I do as opposed to for example, from the talent side. My practice is with the business side.
TJ: It sounds like you almost got in it by accident, and then it seemed to have been fun.
SM: True. It was certainly not out of interest. I don’t go to films. I don’t go to movies, don’t have a television. Don’t care about-
TJ: Still to date?
SM: To this date, and I could care less about the talent, the whole movie. There’s a lot of people in the industry that are filmophiles, that they fell in love with films when they were a kid. I could care less. To me, it’s just a business. I could be doing anything, I just happened to do this.
TJ: Interesting. I know you’re a motorcycle buff. One of the things I was wondering about is how come you don’t work for a motorcycle company?
SM: I would. I wouldn’t mind doing that. I just happened… there’s not that many motorcycle businesses in Los Angeles. I ended up doing the entertainment.
TJ: Interesting. You just mentioned there’s like talent, and obviously, this industry is prone to have a lot of, let’s say, eccentric and eclectic people that often have a different understanding of the business side. How do you bridge that when you encounter these situations?
“Often, they think that that transaction will close overnight, and I say, “No, no, think about it. They’ve got lawyers, you’ve got lawyers, and there’s going to be business people making comments. This is going to take a while.” I have to say, “This is going to take time, relax.” Those are the biggest ones, it’s more complex than you think. People often come in and they say they have visionary ideas, and I understand how to translate that into reality, and I know that it’s going to take time, and it’s going to take… We’re going to have to do entities or there’s tax issues or something. I have to slow them down and say, “This is going to take time, and it’s going to be more complex than you think.””
SM: It’s quite frequent, and you have to try to teach them how to deal with situations and almost translate. You have to translate from the way they think, which is often creative and spontaneous into legal speak, which means slow down, we have to do the documents, we have to do it right. Don’t stand up at a meeting and shake hands and say the deal’s done. We’ve got to look out for that. I act as the buffer between them and other business people in particular, whether that’s lawyers or studios or whatever, so I act as the buffer.
TJ: Yes. When you do that, do you feel that there’s a common misunderstanding, or you mentioned difference in perspective of how they think about certain things? The education you do, is that always the same?
SM: Very common. The most common misunderstandings our client… In Hollywood, they love to do short deal memos, term sheets, letters of intent napkin deals. They love to do that. I never let my clients do that. I always have to temper their expectation and say, “We’re not going to do a one-page deal memo. That’s not how this works. That will end up in litigation. I’m trying to keep you out of litigation. We’re going to do this right. I can draft a short document, but it’s going to be a final document.” Often, they think that that transaction will close overnight, and I say, “No, no, think about it. They’ve got lawyers, you’ve got lawyers, and there’s going to be business people making comments. This is going to take a while.” I have to say, “This is going to take time, relax.” Those are the biggest ones, it’s more complex than you think. People often come in and they say they have visionary ideas, and I understand how to translate that into reality, and I know that it’s going to take time, and it’s going to take… We’re going to have to do entities or there’s tax issues or something. I have to slow them down and say, “This is going to take time, and it’s going to be more complex than you think.”
TJ: When you do that, do you feel like tax is obviously one of the issues where people try… they zone out quite quickly. How do you make sure that people pay attention to it?
SM: Yes. It’s a big issue. Tax is a very significant issue on every transaction, and yes, that’s part of it, I have to say. We have to consider the tax implications of this, and that may require restructuring it. It may require changing what you are planning to do, and that’s actually very frequent, particularly on cross-border transactions. I do a lot of international investment into the US. All the time, people, they rush ahead and they think, “Oh, we’ll just invest in film without thinking.” Have you thought about federal tax, withholding, California Tax, ranch tax, on and on? “Oh, what’s that?” It’s like, “Really?” Literally, they’ll come to me often the day before closing and say, “Gee, someone said we should talk to you.” It’s like, “Oh, yes.”
TJ: Can you just have a quick look at this?
SM: Yes, have a quick look at this. Yes, we’re going to be here longer than-
TJ: This is all right, isn’t it?
SM: Yes. It happens all the time. It’s remarkable. It is remarkable.
TJ: You just mentioned cross-border. I know you’ve done a couple deals with China, or rather with Chinese investors, entities. Do you feel that there’s something Chinese investors, companies need to know when they come to the US and vice versa in dealing with each other?
SM: No different than all foreign countries coming into the US. It’s very similar. China, there were some interesting issues with China, in particular throughout Asia, you find that the business people tend to view lawyers as secretaries. They think that they’re going to go into a room with the business people without the lawyers and reach a deal and that lawyers are kind of just supposed to somehow or rather just put it on a piece of paper.
TJ: They just write it up.
“The big issue really that’s lurking is litigation. If you don’t do it right up front, you’re going to end up in litigation. That’s what I always tell my clients. You can’t close on a deal memo with term sheet of… We’ve got to do this right. We’ve got to structure it right, draft it right, and keep you out of litigation because that’s the biggest fear in Hollywood, is because once you’re… To be sued is to lose, and you just go down a rabbit hole at that point.”
SM: They just write it up, and they’re to be kept in the closet and shut up. Just shut up and draft, and it’s very different in the US. The lawyers often lead the business discussions, they’ve got to be there. That was a big learning experience because they were getting… In the beginning, they came back to me and they were already in trouble. I said, “Look, you can’t go into a meeting without me because you’re going to get killed before it’s over.” That was a big process. Also in China, within China, they work very much on trust, and therefore, they are very sparse on documents. It’s obviously different in the US. We had to go through that training exercise, which is, “This is going to be a long document. You can’t just rely on trust. It’s different ballgames here.”
TJ: Yes. I think it’s quite important, what you also mentioned earlier, that it makes so much sense to pay more attention up front than try to clean it up on the backside, and especially tax, all the pain is delayed. If you don’t pay attention to it, it’s not going to be a problem next quarter, or maybe next year even, but over time-
TJ: Sooner rather than later, it is going to be an issue.
SM: And not just tax, it’s also… The big issue really that’s lurking is litigation. If you don’t do it right up front, you’re going to end up in litigation. That’s what I always tell my clients. You can’t close on a deal memo with term sheet of… We’ve got to do this right. We’ve got to structure it right, draft it right, and keep you out of litigation because that’s the biggest fear in Hollywood, is because once you’re… To be sued is to lose, and you just go down a rabbit hole at that point.
TJ: It’s immensely costly as well.
SM: Immensely costly, yes.
TJ: And so, do you feel that, especially when you deal with, let’s say, smaller companies, or producers that tax is always something they overlook at any size of company or organization?
SM: I would say the studios clearly are all over it. Any big independent production company is typically aware of the issues, it’s the smaller ones that get into trouble. Smaller ones don’t really think about it. Just to pick one example, it’s very common in Hollywood to accept money for an investment in a film under these contracts that say investment contract, and the producer, if that’s how it’s worded is taxed up front on the income and they never think about that. They always think, “Oh, but this is equity.” Well, but if you didn’t do it as a partnership or a corporation, it’s not equity, it’s an advanced sale of income which is taxable. That’s just one example, but it’s usually the smaller guys that get into trouble.
TJ: Yes. Do you feel that there’s something they can do about it other than just involve someone early on in this? Is it a mindset problem or is it just a resource problem that they say, “Oh, you know what? I don’t have the money to go to an expensive tax firm?”
SM: Oh, no, no, it’s a mindset problem. They have the money. It’s just they don’t think about it. They’re charging ahead, they don’t want to think about it.
TJ: I think for me, also when I was in investment banking, I always found it very interesting especially in this industry, there’s practices that would not be tolerated in any other industry.
SM: Yes, it’s bizarre for a lot of issues, just unbelievable what happens in Hollywood. Yes.
TJ: I want to come back… Since we’re talking about this town, you spend most of your life here, do you think that was a factor… Has this influenced you somehow in going into corporate law in the entertainment industry? I know you mentioned that it was kind of by accident, but it’s omnipresent in this town. Do you feel maybe that-?
SM: Not for me, no. I’m the opposite. I wasn’t attracted to the industry. I didn’t care and I didn’t… Growing up in Los Angeles, it was like I was indifferent to it. For me, it didn’t have an impact. For me, the biggest impact of LA was motorcycles. Had there been a motorcycle industry here, I would have been doing that.
“I tend to be too harsh. I’m not as bad as I used to be. I used to call Sky Heavy and now I’m Sky Light. Sky Heavy, if someone made a mistake, I would say, “You idiot.” But I don’t do that anymore.”
TJ: Didn’t feel like moving across the country.
TJ: I mean, it’s a beautiful town here, so there’s no escaping.
SM: Better driving than Michigan. Definitely better motorcycling.
TJ: And speaking of being young, obviously, you had a very long career. I’m wondering if you look back now and you could meet your, let’s say, 20-year-old self, what would you tell 20-year-old Sky? What lesson have you learned? Or what learnings have you accumulated over time to just say, “Hey, this is something you need to watch out for?”
SM: For me is, I think, the social aspect. I tend to be very good on the technical… Again, tax technical. I could spend better time being kinder and gentler to my clients than I am. That’s what I would tell myself. Be nice. Be kind. Think about more of the social impact and make… whether it’s because you create a network of friends that are very important later on, and the more, the better. I tend to be too harsh. I’m not as bad as I used to be. I used to call Sky Heavy and now I’m Sky Light. Sky Heavy, if someone made a mistake, I would say, “You idiot.” But I don’t do that anymore.
TJ: Probably actually meant it in the best way possible. It’s like, “Here’s an opportunity to learn.”
SM: I thought so, but I could have expressed it nicer.
TJ: I mean, it’s great that you can… that you are aware of it because I think a lot of people, especially when you’re starting out, you’re still trying to combine your personality, your identity with what you’re doing. I feel like maybe it’s just a perception, but seems like it’s getting harder because there’s… you have to be perfect. I was wondering, especially on the legal side, if someone was coming into the industry or trying to break into industry now, would you have a recommendation for them what to do, what not to do?
SM: I would say start on the business side. In law school, I tell everybody, “Don’t go to… what are they? Internships outside of college. Take the hard classes, take securities, take tax, take bankruptcy. Learn the business side of the industry because that’s what really drives it.” Unless you’re determined to be an agent and a talent lawyer, which is a whole different skill set, and that’s the social aspect. That’s not my strength, but I tell people, “Learn the business side and come at it that way. There’s more job opportunities there because it’s harder, and so there’s more opportunities. There’s more job openings. That’s why.”
TJ: Yes. It feels also like, obviously, in the last 10, 20 years, the complexity of the business side has grown immensely.
SM: Definitely, yes.
TJ: And there’s a need for more people that know what they’re doing, again, speaking to the practices that are not accepted anywhere else but here.
TJ: Especially on the tax side, I know you’re part of shaping it or taking an active stake in shaping taxation policies as well and opinions. How do you bridge this… Because obviously, most of it is done in DC, you’re based here. How do you exercise the influence and the expertise you have? How do you make that hurt?
SM: I don’t have much of an impact on legislation itself. What I do do is make comments on regulation, so I can at least write to the IRS when they issue a proposed set of regulations. I do make comments on that. Also, my Treatise is used as a training book by the IRS for their entertainment group.
TJ: That’s quite handy.
SM: I can kind of indirectly influence, at least on the ground, how they enforce it with my treatise, and I can also set… I’m a member of a tax group that specializes in the entertainment industry, and we put out position papers. When there’s ambiguities as to an interpretation of a statute, we will circulate a paper that says, “This is how we’re going to interpret it, and we hope the industry adopts it.” I can impact policy beyond the legislation, but legislation is always MPAA, and I don’t have any input at the MPAA. They control what the legislation is.
“I don’t have much of an impact on legislation itself. What I do do is make comments on regulation, so I can at least write to the IRS when they issue a proposed set of regulations. I do make comments on that. Also, my Treatise is used as a training book by the IRS for their entertainment group.”
TJ: Yes. You mentioned the document you wrote early on in your career. Was that just a feat of genius or how did that come about?
SM: I was asked… God only knows. The Treatise. I was asked by somebody to put something together and I just started working on it and working on it. I have several books. I like writing. I have a number of books. I have a very popular general book called The Biz that is now in its fifth edition, and it’s a very general… It’s on Amazon, and it’s a very popular book, and it’s just an overview of the film industry. It’s called The Business Financial and Legal Aspects of the Film Industry. Then I did that because I taught at UCLA law school and business school and I used that as my textbook. Then I just spring-boarded to doing the Treatise and update it every year. Everything that comes out, every single regulation, ruling, case to the extent it’s relevant to my industry, I update the book. No one can keep up with it because I’ve been doing it for so long and it just covers everything and it’s just very thorough, and it’s thorough, thorough book.
TJ: Unashamedly, I can say it’s also on my bookshelf.
SM: Oh, the tax one? Okay, good.
TJ: I consider it one of the industry bibles.
SM: There we go. Good, good, good. Thank you.
TJ: When I was breaking into the industry, or trying to get into it, that’s what I did. I bought a lot of books and tried to read up on it. Something I found… what was happening is that you read a book and was, I’m going to say, a couple years old, and then you talk to people and they’re like, “Yes, we did that like three years ago.” How do you stay current? If you’re not a practitioner like you are but you’re interested in a subject, what would your recommendation be on how to stay current on what’s happening?
SM: Well, get the latest books. For example, I updated The Biz. I just updated it for the digital world, so it’s now The Biz in a digital world. But other than that, all you got to do is read the trades. If you want to follow what’s going on in Hollywood Reporter and Variety, just follow who’s doing what, what’s going on, and you’ll get the trends and you’ll get the basics. If you’re interested in a particular issue, you can delve into it.
TJ: Yes. You just mentioned trends. What are some of the trends you’re watching right now or-?
SM: Huge trends. If I was going to categorize trends, I’d say the death of theatrical film experience for films under $100 million dollars. The theatrical experience is bifurcated into really $100 million and plus films like Star Wars or Captain Marvel.
TJ: Big comic book.
SM: Big comic book. I think it’s great. Below $100 million, dead. Serious problems. Bankruptcy, distributors going bankrupt, films not working, not being able to be sold. I’ve got films for clients that I can’t sell right now because they’re in that dead zone below $100 million. That shift is the death of theatrical or the bifurcation of it. Next is it’s become completely a digital world now, so everything is going digitally, and that’s the Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, Facebook, blah, blah, blah. But it’s absolutely a digital world, and next year is going to get fascinating because you got a lot of big players coming in. You get Disney Fox. You’ve got Warner AT&T. You’ve got Apple.
TJ: Apple is on the verge.
SM: Apple, everybody. Comcast. That’s going to be a very crowded field, very interesting what happens with that, very crowded. Prices for content will go up. They’ll be great for talent in Hollywood. You’re going to have, at some point, a shakeout with the digital distributors. The studios have now morphed from being distributors into production companies in some cases. If you look at Paramount Sony that used to… Paramount, for example, is now producing for Netflix. That’s had an absolutely huge shift. The China party is over. We’ve watched that trend come and go and that party’s over. Then on the long term horizon is virtual reality. What I see coming in three years is virtual reality. I see theaters converting from theaters to a virtual reality location-based VR, is what I think is going to happen because, again, the death of film’s below $100 million and people aren’t going to theaters anymore. The only way Box Office is flat actually is because they keep raising prices, but that can only go on so long in a digital world. It just can’t keep going. There’s going to be some big shifts, big shifts coming up.
TJ: You feel like the disruption, the reshuffling, rewriting of rules, that’s still happening for a couple of years to come?
SM: Big time.
“If I was going to categorize trends, I’d say the death of theatrical film experience for films under $100 million dollars. Below $100 million, dead. Serious problems. Bankruptcy, distributors going bankrupt, films not working, not being able to be sold. I’ve got films for clients that I can’t sell right now because they’re in that dead zone below $100 million. That shift is the death of theatrical or the bifurcation of it.”
TJ: How do you think it’s going to look like in 10 years then? What has happened? Who are the Coke and Pepsi that are ruling the market?
SM: Disney Fox. I would absolutely put money in Disney Fox ruling the roost. I think some of the digital players are going to fall out. I think VR is going to be really the big game in 10 years, big time. There’s going to be location-based VR, and whoever’s producing for location-based VR and also ways to do it online to the extent people can master the art of doing VR online, and that’s possible. But location-based VR will be huge.
TJ: When you say location-based VR, you mean a VR experience in a physical space where you’re on a rollercoaster and you see other things or you’re going through a room touching things?
SM: There’s different models. There’s the Void and Dreamscape model, which is you walk through an environment. There’s also a kind of a Star… They call it the Star Wars model where you’re sitting in a small theater watching a screen but the seats move and the seats do this. Or you might be in a theater wearing goggles and everybody together with mist and wind and whatever, and the seats move, so that kind of experience. Or all the way to gaming. Like VR gaming where you go to a location and you put on a headset, and you play games, either singular or what’s called co-op games where you play with your friends. That’ll be huge. I think that is going to be a big —
TJ: Yes, I think that’s another part of the industry. A lot of people underestimate eSports gaming.
SM: Oh, eSports is enormous.
TJ: Is that something you’re working in as well on the eSports side?
SM: We have one of the big eSports clients, so I’m now getting dragged into the eSports. Yes.
TJ: Do you feel that there’s different issues for a company that is coming from a gaming angle rather than traditional content?
SM: Yes, because they have a huge advantage when it comes to VR because they’re already… they think that way. The gaming companies have an enormous advantage when it comes to VR. My experience has been film producers think linearly and they’re thinking, “I’m going to make…” Mostly, if they’re being creative, they’ll think, “I’m going to make TV or short form,” but they don’t think interactive VR. It’s just hard for them to get their mind around it where the game companies are absolutely used to that, right? That’s just what they do.
“Just a check and the hand-eye coordination to write a check because it’s very simple. I work for anybody that pays the bills, and I just prioritize the work and who pays the bills the fastest, their work goes first. If they realize the importance of speed, then I do. Very simple. I don’t care what it is, I’ll do windows or whatever they want.”
TJ: Yes. From the corporate side, is there things that are different for them in terms of… I don’t know how they recognize revenue as all the things are done.
SM: Absolutely. All the issues are different. Moving from actually theatrical to digital is completely different. The accounting is fascinating. The different roles and the ambiguity, and it’ll be the same with VR. How do you recognize revenue, and how do you recognize cost? That’ll be the big issues.
TJ: One of the things I’m obviously wondering about is when somebody hears this now and says, “I want to work with Sky. I want to work with Greenberg Glusker.” Are their prerequisites in working with you? What are some of the issues, I guess, that somebody should have, or bring to you?
SM: As a lawyer or a client?
SM: To be a lawyer?
TJ: Yes. A prospective client, when they’re listening to it, what-
SM: As a client.
TJ: Yes, what should they bring to you?
SM: Just a check and the hand-eye coordination to write a check because it’s very simple. I work for anybody that pays the bills, and I just prioritize the work and who pays the bills the fastest, their work goes first. If they realize the importance of speed, then I do. Very simple. I don’t care what it is, I’ll do windows or whatever they want.
TJ: You just mentioned prioritizing work. You obviously work with so many different types of companies, different types of issues. I’m sure there’s things… how you plan your day, and then there’s a ton of emergencies coming on top. How does a day in the life of SM look like?
SM: Depends on the day. I teach. I’m now teaching at USC. That takes up a block of time, and then do do meetings and calls. What I try to do is get the ball out of my court at the end of every day. By the end of every day, I attempt to get the ball back over the net so somebody else has to do. Whether it’s returning a call, returning an email, or getting a document out, I try to do it every day. If I can’t for some reason do that, I simply do the smaller faster things first, so I get the most balls back out of my court. If I’ve got 10 balls but 2 are like slow, really long documents, I’m going to get the 8 out of the court at least. Instead of the one big one, I’m going to get the eight out and then worry about the other one, and even if I have to work at night, maybe I’ll work on that one.
TJ: Do you feel that it’s always the same with projects, or deals that there’s a bit of time to do it, but then just before closing in 20% of the time, 80% of the work needs to happen?
SM: Yes, stuff happens. Stuff happens, so you have to be prepared for that.
TJ: What do you teach your students when you… Obviously not just prepare them on the issues and the knowledge they need to have of the business, what else are you telling them?
SM: I have another book and it’s called “What They Don’t Teach You in Law School”, and what I do is I teach them what they don’t teach you in law school, which is how to deal with clients, how to deal with partners, how to deal with… how to control a situation that gets hostile, how to control a phone conference, how to close a deal, how to draft. What I try to teach them, what I tell them is to be special forces so that they can drop into any transaction and think about the key issues. I always go with money in, money out, and control. Think through those issues. Then I have a list for each one. Money in, what do you think about money out? I try to say… again, it goes all the way from the mental state and how to not react when you’re attacked all the way to the practicalities of closing, giving… How you control clients. What if a client tells you to do something you don’t want to do? I go through all of that.
“Plus what we’re talking about today is just one aspect of what I do. I also do the real estate tax for this firm, and they have a huge real estate group. I’m also the cannabis tax expert because they have the whole cannabis practice, and so I do the tax planning for that.”
TJ: Adapt, improvise, overcome.
TJ: By the way, we’ll make sure that there’s a link to all the books in the description there. Obviously, someone who’s been following you, they saw that you worked at another firm for 25, almost 26 years, and you changed. What inspired this change to-?
SM: I was at a national law firm that had a smaller LA office and decided to come to an LA office that was a big LA office. It was solely… the reason was synergy. Greenberg Glusker is well known for entertainment. They needed my expertise to fill a hole which was the financing side of the industry because that’s what I do, and it was just a perfect fit. I was able to bring my whole crew from associates and paralegals and secretaries and accounting people. The whole crew was able to move and it was just a seamless fitness. It’s worked out really well.
TJ: You applied another special forces’ tactic.
SM: Transition, we’re moving, we’re moving, but it was really because of the… What I found was that being at a smaller office of a national firm was just not as good as synergy as being in a smaller firm, but everybody’s… we have 100 lawyers, but everybody’s here. You get much more synergy.
TJ: How was that transition for you? When you finished on some transactions, and you started new ones, how smooth can something like this be actually?
SM: The move here?
SM: It’s worked great. No, it’s been fantastic, has been fantastic.
TJ: Because I could imagine it’s quite disruptive in the sense that things work differently in different firms.
SM: Sure. You get obviously a whole different thing, but no, it’s worked really well. Plus what we’re talking about today is just one aspect of what I do. I also do the real estate tax for this firm, and they have a huge real estate group. I’m also the cannabis tax expert because they have the whole cannabis practice, and so I do the tax planning for that. I have a lot of varied buried roles that I do here.
TJ: How did you get into that, especially cannabis, obviously, in California is a hot topic?
SM: Just the tax issues because again, tax is the way into everything. Tax for real estate, tax for the cannabis. It’s just a valuable component.
TJ: It’s quite funny and you said that tax is everything because even the most notorious crime bosses in the United States, the only way to get them was through taxes.
SM: Sometimes, yes.
TJ: There’s Al Capone.
SM: Al Capone. That’s true.
TJ: What’s in store for you? Now, obviously, you teach, you run the practice here. What are you still going to do in this lifetime? Do you have something on your list?
SM: World domination. The more the better. Just having fun doing what I do, I just would like to do more of it. I’m planning to die at my desk at 102, so just keep doing it and keep building. I love doing it.
TJ: Perfect. Well, I think that’s a perfect time, a perfect place to wrap it up. Sky, thank you so much for your time and the insights. It was a pleasure talking to you.
SM: My honor. Thank you so much.
TJ: And I hope we can do this again sometime soon.
SM: Thank you.
THANK YOU to this episode’s sponsor AXIOM Venture Capital! http://www.axiom.vc
Sky’s firm Greenberg Glusker can be found at https://www.greenbergglusker.com. If you would like to learn more about Sky’s work you can find his profile here: https://www.greenbergglusker.com/schuyler-sky-m-moore/
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Editor — Christina Voigt (http://www.christinavoigt.com) Audio Engineer — Athanasios Karakantas Executive Producer — Bridget Scarr (http://www.bridgetscarr.com) Design — Daniel Cottis (http://www.danielcottis.com) Music — ‘Kickshot’ by Gyom (https://twitter.com/gyomamphoux)
Special thanks to everyone at Greenberg Glusker, especially Daniel Gray, Kathy T. Smith, and Van Moore, for helping to make this conversation happen.
Special thanks for their creative review go to Anouk van Ghemen and Frederik Jaeger.
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ABOUT MEDIA CFO
Media CFO focuses on the finance, strategy, business affairs, and legal side of the global media & entertainment industry. The guests on the podcast range from veteran studio executives to new, disruptive market entrants. MEDIA CFO takes a look under the hood of the global entertainment industry and talks to the unsung heroes: dealmakers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, financiers, service providers, bankers, investors, and agents. The podcast offers unique insights into the daily work and life of those, who run and build this industry by visiting them on location and having in-depth, in-person conversations.
ABOUT TOBIAS JAEGER
Tobias started his first own firm during his studies at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and has lived, worked, visited, and studied in over 43 countries on 4 continents. Tobias loves to connect people from around the World to make great things happen. Previously, he has done so at Business Associates Europe, SAP AG, StrategosPoker, Aramark, and entrepreneur academy. Today he is a Managing Partner of AXIOM Venture Capital, a family office focussed on the media & entertainment industry and Tobias serves as the Chief Financial Officer of London-based television and content studio Colibri Studios.
The conversation was originally recorded in Los Angeles in March 2019.
© 2019, Colibri Studios of London