Cliff Michaels & Associates provides a network of agents, investors, and strategists for real estate junkies, entrepreneurs, and entertainers. How did all this begin …?

6 Keys to The Hollywood Matrix
By Cliff Michaels (Full Bio Here)

Agents and heroes and villains, OH MY!

I grew up in L.A. with a passion for films, songs, and novels. I loved stories and words were magic to me. I tutored English whenever money was tight and spare time was a friend. I also charged $20 to write essays for classmates and lyrics for musicians. A few Hollywood producers (parents of friends) even paid me to edit screenplays. It was all very hush-hush.

I attended USC briefly in the mid-80’s and took my first cinema class. The professor caught me ghostwriting for other students. Rather than kick me out, she made me attend Robert McKee’s Story Structure. It was a 3-day bootcamp dissecting the film Casablanca. I learned that successful writers tell stories that make us laugh, think, share, scream, or escape. Branding experts use similar methods, so I tucked away those nuggets in the creative corners of my mind.

Writing took a detour when I dropped out of college to hunt bargains for a group of real estate investors. I barely covered rent as a glorified gopher, but I networked with a lot of entertainment executives and their clients. Film scripts and real estate were a common vocabulary for all of us.

Sy 19, I borrowed $5,000 from a mentor to buy my first condo and flipped it for a profit two years later. I then got my mortgage and real estate license to help friends do the same. I was flying high and teh world was my proverbial oyster.

Like most real estate junkies in the ’80s, I bit off more than I could chew and lost it all in the housing crash of ’89. The saving grace were lessons in finance, networking, negotiation, and project management. These essentials were my real-world MBA (a Masters in Basic Abilities). Twenty years later, I wrote about all of it in a mini-memoir titled: The 4 Essentials: A Misfit’s Journey to Mindset, Strategies, Values, and Purpose. (Initially titled The 4 Essentials of Entrepreneurial Thinking).

Through the years, I nurtured those relationships with talent agents and accountants. Before long, I had fallen ass-backwards into hunting homes for celebrities and their entourages who appreciated my candor and a unique set of skills (namely home remodeling, credit repair, real estate finance, and strategic thinking.

In 1992, I started Cliff Michaels & Associates (age 25). It was a boutique real estate and mortgage firm that expanded to entertainment and venture consulting during the DotCom frenzy of the ’90s. By 2000, it was a daily courtship of CPAs, bankers, entertainers, and entrepreneurs. The experience taught me 6 Keys to The Hollywood Matrix (and Life) that I share with friends to this day…

Key 1: Be Creative & Stay Busy

For artists and entrepreneurs, it’s critical to pitch and practice your craft every day. Show up first and go home last. Delegate & collaborate … then eliminate the junk! If you stay busy, you’ll not only survive but thrive in any industry.

Key #2: Learn & Build Teams

Choose teams and mentors who inspire your passion, purpose, and creativity. Study masters of history or take a masterclass from your favorite mentor online. Once you discover strengths and weaknesses, you’ll discover that writing a screenplay or launching a business is as much spark as strategy.

Key #3: Build Grit & Never Quit

Ideas are a dime a dozen and talent isn’t enough. Sylvester Stallone, JK Rowling, and Matt Damon were rejected long before Rocky (1976), Harry Potter (1997) and Good Will Hunting (1998) became blockbusters. The same is true of most artists, athletes, and entrepreneurs. The age-old lesson: Never stop punching until the final bell.

Key #4: Discover Digital Dynamics 

There’s no arguing that social media, crowdfunding, and simple tech tools democratized Hollywood and Silicon Valley. At the same time, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube presented as much peril as opportunity for creatives and entrepreneurs. Although amateurs now have the simplest of bars to limbo (such as self-publishing and e-commerce), everyone needs to re-think their sales and marketing strategies. Bottom line? Creatives are #Trending #Digital! Don’t fight the tide, ride the wave.

Key #5: Differentiate or Die

More than ever, artists, storytellers, and entrepreneurs must “differentiate or die!” Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix have successfully challenged the likes of HBO and Showtime in the same way Apple challenged Microsoft to “Think Different!” In short, the ability to pivot and provide unique value always was (and remains) THE NEXT BIG THING!

Key 6: Have Fun, Give Back, Be True  

In The 4 Essentials, I wrote about dozens of mentors who taught me the values of integrity, humility, and gratitude. To that end, three keys will always serve you well:

  1. Have fun and find laughter in the work.
  2. Give back and be extraordinarily grateful.
  3. Be true to yourself, your peers, and clients.

If you believe in these principles, my team and I would love to help your mission.

Cliff Michaels
M: 310-488-6422 • E:
CEO, Cliff Michaels & Associates , Inc.
Real Estate & Venture Finance • Consulting
Chairman, Misfits & Maestro LLC
Entertainment • Education • Philanthropy

Mailing: PO 6156 Thousand Oaks, CA 91359