Posts Tagged ‘Vince Skolny’

Three Painful Lessons

January 4, 2013


Thursday January 3rd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   The newness of 2013 is rubbing off already, but that’s ok. If anyone has put in more work than me improving themselves and planning for future success in the last three days, I would sure like to meet them and hear what they’ve been doing. As for me, I have been putting in 18 hour days.

There’s only been three of them this year, but I’ve managed to squeeze every bit of whatever I can out of all of them. I know I won’t be able to keep up a pace like this forever, but at least I’m starting out strong. That’s how momentum starts, and I can use all I can get – the positive that is.

I’ve had negative momentum too, and I don’t want to go anywhere near that. It’s easy to revert back to old habits, that’s why I’m attempting to change as much as I can for good. I’ve been on a very encouraging roll for three days, and hope to maintain it as I head to Nashville this weekend.

The hard part is fitting everything I want to do into my waking hours. I’ve had that problem for years, and it’s coming home to roost again. I’ve got a full phone inbox and hundreds of emails to answer, and people are starting to ask “Hey, are you angry at me?” No, sorry. I’m just one guy.

There are a few people I am angry with, and I’m not sure how to handle it. Vince Skolny owes me $2400 for the comedy show/class I was scheduled to do last March in West Virginia, and that really infuriates me. Tom Sobel and I negotiated a deal with him in good faith, and he has treated us as if we don’t exist. A deal is a deal – or at least I thought so. I could really use that cash now.

Another one is Chicago comedian Paul Kelly. I sold him a car for his son on good faith several years ago now, and he still owes me $500. If I owed him $500 he’d have the National Guard out looking for me, and rightfully so. Again, a deal is a deal. I gave him the car, where’s my money?

Still another one is Will Clifton. I trusted him with another car I had years ago that he wanted for his son who turned 16 at the time. He didn’t have money to buy the kid a car, and I sold him a sweet little Mercury Cougar I had for what I paid for it just because I wanted the kid to have a car and to let Will be the hero and a good dad. I didn’t need the money then, but I totally do now.

That was $1500, and he never paid me one cent. I was more than lenient and tried to be nice in all three of these cases, but all three bit me in the ass and it’s festering. That money would go far in paying off my IRS debt, and technically it’s mine but how am I ever going to get it back? The damage is done, and all three of those oil cans are probably laughing that they stuck it to me.

This really makes me lose faith in humanity, and I’m sorry I was so stupid it took not just once but THREE separate incidents to drive this lesson into my cement like skull. I don’t make a habit of treating people like that – especially when they went out of their way to do me a solid favor.

This is why the Mafia wacks people. Who wouldn’t be upset if they were disrespected like this for years? I’ll probably not see my money again, and that’s bad enough. I so should have gotten paid up front in all three instances, and this is a painful lesson I won’t soon forget. It still hurts.


Good Money After Bad

September 29, 2012

Friday September 28th, 2012 – Morgantown, WV/Charlotte, NC

   Anyone self employed has to wear a variety of hats. Some fit better than others, and there are a few that don’t fit at all. As a comedian, I have things to tend to onstage and off. I am the product, so I am the writer and performer. I also have to be the sales agent to get bookings, and a publicist once I get them. I am the complaint department as well, both from bookers and actual customers.

I also am responsible for taxes, profits, losses and all kinds of other stuff I’m not trained to do and quite frankly am not the least bit interested in doing. But they need to get done, and I have to find a way to address it. My least favorite part of being a comedian is off stage minutia, and I had a heaping helping of hell to deal with first thing in the morning and it gave me all I could handle.

After trying every conceivable way to settle it peacefully, I found the building in Morgantown, WV where small claims court is located. This is about the last thing I want or need right now, but the amount of money in question will equal several months rent should I be able to track it down.

Vince Skolny is the person who hired me for the engagement, and he cancelled with very short notice this past March. I hired Tom Sobel out of Louisville, KY to negotiate the deal, as he’s the agent who booked me for the comedy show where Vince saw me a few years ago and asked if he could hire me for a private engagement. I went through Tom Sobel because it’s proper etiquette.

Tom drew up a contract, and we all agreed on a price. It was a very fair price in my opinion for what I was going to have to do, but I wanted it to be a win/win/win where we all did well. It was an event I was looking forward to doing, and I hoped it would lead to other events in the future.

I’m very sorry the project didn’t go as planned, but I still need to be paid. We made a contract, and everyone knew that if it didn’t come off we were to receive payment for reserving the dates. Entrepreneurial projects fail all the time, but that’s how it goes. I feel bad, but I need my money.

Tom tried to reach Vince time after time and got ignored. I’m glad he handled it professionally, as I would have probably said something I’d be sorry for later. I held my tongue and hoped we’d be able to work it out, but it doesn’t look good so Tom booked me in Morgantown so I could get the papers filed and hopefully cause Vince to have to pay up at some point. This is a huge hassle.

An even bigger hassle is that it costs $70 to file the papers and another $25 to deliver them via sheriff to Vince. That’s 95 more dollars I don’t have, and I am infuriated I have to think about it at all. I should have been paid months ago, and life should be going on more smoothly than it is.

It stuck in my craw all day as I drove from Morgantown to Charlotte, NC for my gig tomorrow in Columbia, SC. Those long lonely hours in a car weren’t so bad on my way up the ladder but at this point it’s like being in a rolling prison. I drove twelve solid hours before crashing in a cheap motel that smelled like disinfectant and curry chicken. Maybe that was the dish being served, but it sure stunk as I laid on a lumpy mattress with a flat pillow wondering why I chose to be a comic in the first place and stayed with it this long. Is the dent in my can that big that I still need this?