Created By: backpack on April 27, 2014 Last Edited By: Lawman592 on February 22, 2018
Troped

One for the Money; One for the Art

Bob does Project "A" to get the money and creative freedom to do Project "B".

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Trope
"Do one for them; do one for you. If you can still do projects for yourself, you can keep your soul."

Trivia page about what happens when creators do a project for money or to fulfill a contract so that they'll have the finances and creative freedom to do their artistic dream project.

This can be done indirectly by, for example, an actor or director doing project for money and then turning around to put the money into an indie film he or she wanted to do. In this instance, however, the creators still have to deal with all the problems faced by indie film directors. The paycheck is rarely that huge, they have to find a distributor, and they have to hold casting calls.

The funding can also be done directly when, as part of a multi-film contract, a creator agrees to do a commercial project for a studio while the studio, in exchange, agrees to fund the creator's artistic project. This version ends up being far more convenient for the actor/director. First, the studio is frequently willing to fork over more money for this, as they stand to take a share of the box office cut, so even if the artistic film takes a minor loss they're not out that much. Second, with the power of a major studio behind them, the actor/director now has A-list stars on speed dial, and doesn't have to worry about finding a distributor.

Compare Paying Their Dues for when an artist needs to take smaller gigs before they hit the big time. Contrast with Only in It for the Money, in which the work made for making money clearly is not for personal projects. See also Auteur License.

Can lead to Magnum Opus Dissonance if the project done only for the money is the one that takes flight while the project done for the art never gets off the ground.

Examples

Comics
  • After alienating much of the comic-book industry with his embrace of Objectivism (and losing the rights to many of his most famous creations to DC when they acquired Charleston Comics), Steve Ditko spent the 80s taking low-prestige jobs like drawing for coloring books in order to fund his own Objectivist-themed comics.

Film - Animated

Film - Live Action

Music
  • Famously inverted by David Bowie. After getting a raw deal on his contract, he spent the next several years producing experimental and highly acclaimed but not-very-commercial material. When his contract expired, he produced some more mainstream (but again, highly acclaimed) work for the money.

Video Games
  • Allegedly, the reason that Aliens: Colonial Marines ended up being such a terrible game was because Gearbox used the money that they were paid to make the game in order to fund their own properties, including Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Duke Nukem Forever, and only started working on Colonial Marines in earnest after becoming in danger of violating their contract.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 43
  • April 27, 2014
    DAN004
    Vanity would be the wrong word.

    Working X To Fund Y?
  • April 27, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    Funding Dear Boy? (though that could take some expanding into scientific and military projects)
  • April 27, 2014
    backpack
    @DAN 004: I was getting it from the term "vanity project."

    @Morning Star: Yeah, I could see that working.
  • April 27, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    I did some cleanup of your original post...
  • April 27, 2014
    DAN004
    Well, this isn't limited to funding movies, games or any kind of creations right? It can fund scientific projects, or for charity...
  • April 27, 2014
    DAN004
    For movies at least, B Movie is often involved.
  • April 27, 2014
    randomsurfer
    • Lampshaded in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back:
      Ben Affleck: What've I been telling you? You gotta do the safe picture. Then you can do the art picture. But then sometimes you gotta do the payback picture because your friend says you owe him.
    • Benjamin Disraeli became a best-selling Romance Novel author in order to fund his political career.
  • April 28, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section formatting.
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Added the word "Examples".
    • Changed First Variation to "Indirect Funding" and Second Variation to "Direct Funding" as they're much more clear and avoid the risk of violating Type Labels Are Not Examples.

    Seconding Funding Dear Boy as it's much clearer.
  • April 28, 2014
    Lawman592
    I think this trope is an example of the maxim, "Do one for them; do one for you." In fact, Do One For Them; Do One For You would be a better name.
  • April 28, 2014
    backpack
    Ok, I'm giving Funding Dear Boy a third. I put in the Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back example, but I'm a bit uncertain about Benjamin Disraeli, because he did art to fund something that wasn't art. That risks this trope becoming too broad, and becoming indistinguishable from Money Dear Boy. I mean, where would it stop? "I did this movie to fund my ham sandwich!"
  • April 28, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ this is a subtrope of Money Dear Boy, only that here, a purpose of the money is given.
  • April 28, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    I'm not sure which categories these would fall into, but I think they fit this trope.

    Comics
    • After alienating much of the comic-book industry with his embrace of Objectivism (and losing the rights to many of his most famous creations to DC when they acquired Charleston Comics), Steve Ditko spent the 80s taking low-prestige jobs like drawing for coloring books in order to fund his own Objectivist-themed comics.

    Video Games
    • Allegedly, the reason that Aliens Colonial Marines ended up being such a terrible game was because Gearbox used the money that they were paid to make the game in order to fund their own properties, including Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Duke Nukem Forever, and only started working on Colonial Marines in earnest after becoming in danger of violating their contract.
  • April 29, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Chirstopher Reeve did Superman IV so the studio would produce Street Smart.
  • April 29, 2014
    bitemytail
    A more mundane Real Life example is investing. Buying shares in a company you have no interest in, so that when the value of the shares goes up, you can sell them to get capital for whatever your originally wanted.
  • July 10, 2014
    Lawman592
    Bumped.
  • July 31, 2014
    Lawman592
    Bumped again because I think this could be an interesting Triva page. I'll also vouch for my suggestion that it be named Do One For Them; Do One For You.
  • July 31, 2014
    Generality
    The Wachowski siblings debuted with the film Bound as a way to establish the credibility they needed to sell The Matrix.
  • A lot of these people today just go to Kickstarter, which has actually angered a lot of the general public, as Kickstarter is really meant for the average joe trying to raise funds for certain projects, but now that the likes of Zack Braff and Spike Lee have taken to it, many feel it defeats the whole purpose of the site, and that to have big-named celebrities and personalities on there asking for money when they're at a point in their careers they should be giving money will only hurt those average joes who actually do need the money, because it's believed people will more likely donate to people they're familiar with (too wit, Zack Braff or Spike Lee) rather than nobodies.

    But...

    Film
    • Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman used the money they had made off the Alvin And The Chipmunks franchise to finance The Chipmunk Adventure (because possible distributors wouldn't meet their proposed budget) - which they later admitted was a big mistake, citing that producers funding their own movies is the Hollywood equivilent of a lawyer representing himself, quoting Abraham Lincoln, "A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client."
  • Money Dear Boy isn't a trope, nor does the page seem overwhelmingly large or incompatible with funding for something else. Why not just mention funding if appropriate?
  • November 7, 2017
    Lawman592
    I'm bringing this back from the dead because I think this could be a good Trivia page if its focus is slightly shifted to be about creators who do projects for either monetary or contractual reasons so they can later get the financial and artistic freedom to do more aesthetically rewarding projects.

    Also, is the creator of this proposed page still interested in it or is Up For Grabs?
  • November 8, 2017
    Arivne
    ^ This proposal is Up For Grabs (according to the rules on that page) because the OP has been inactive here for more than two months.

    The OP backpack is still on TV Tropes: they just edited a page on November 4th.

    You could send them a PM and ask if they're still interested in it.
  • November 8, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
  • November 8, 2017
    Generality
    The Wachowskis made Bound to prove they had the chops to handle The Matrix.
  • November 8, 2017
    Lawman592
    Title changed with revisions to follow.
  • November 9, 2017
    Synchronicity
    One For Them One For You makes me think of some sort of sharing aesop. Funding Dear Boy seems more to the point.
  • November 9, 2017
    Bisected8
    Compare Paying Their Dues for when an artist needs to take smaller gigs before they hit the big time.

    • Famously inverted by David Bowie. After getting a raw deal on his contract, he spent the next several years producing experimental and highly acclaimed, but not-very-commercial material. When his contract expired, he produced some more mainstream (but again, highly acclaimed) work for the money.
  • November 9, 2017
    Synchronicity
    Ok, hold on: doesn't the current title violate No New Stock Phrases ("the use of "them" to refer to an "other"")
  • November 10, 2017
    WaterBlap
    Favors Quid Pro Quo or Quid-Pro-Quo Exchange?

    Okay, I jumped the gun a bit. The title implies there's a quid pro quo thing going on between two people, but that's not what this trivia article is about.

    That first sentence is very confusing since it relies too heavily on the assumption that we all know these three tropes and how they relate to whatever this is. Going off those articles' laconic pages: This is when a good actor or director is contractually forced to do a particular project, but instead of putting the funding to that contractually "agreed on" project, they put the money somewhere else in order to fulfill their artistic vision...?

  • November 14, 2017
    Lawman592
    For the record, the current title is based on a show biz maxim about creators who alternate between doing commercial projects for monetary reasons (i.e., "them") and doing personal projects for artistic reasons (i.e., "you"). Martin Scorsese discusses this rule in his documentary, A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies.
  • November 10, 2017
    WaterBlap
    That's still a stockphrase, but now I think it's also suffering from Fan Myopia...

    EDIT: It sound identical to "You scratch my back; I scratch yours," by the way.
  • November 10, 2017
    Lawman592
    Changed to "One for the Money; One for the Art"
  • November 14, 2017
    Basara-kun
    So many references and nothing about this in description:

    See also Only In It For The Money, in which the work made for making money isn't just for personal projects as this trope.
  • November 20, 2017
    eroock
    The page quote from Doing It For The Art could be moved here.
  • January 24, 2018
    MetaFour
    See also Auteur License.
  • January 24, 2018
    TorpidDrake
    I accidentally launched the trope and I don'tknow how to un-launch it.

    What do I do know?
  • January 24, 2018
    alnair20aug93
    ^ Ask here. Plus, you should participate first before launching a draft.
  • January 25, 2018
    Berrenta
    Trope's been unlaunched. Please be careful next time.
  • February 18, 2018
    Lawman592
    I'm planning on launching this once I find the exact quote by Martin Scorsese about doing one for them and doing one for you. Until then, feel free to add more examples.
  • February 18, 2018
    ANTMuddle
    And sometimes, the project done only for the money is the one that takes flight while the project done for the art can't seem to get off the ground.
  • February 18, 2018
    MazeMaker
    ^ This can lead to Magnum Opus Dissonance
  • February 20, 2018
    AmourMitts
    Would this be Trivia?
  • February 20, 2018
    AmourMitts
    Would this be Trivia?
  • February 20, 2018
    Lawman592
    ^ Yes, it's a proposed Trivia page.
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