The Business of Being an Artist Workshop

Posted by on Mar 7, 2011 in ASIFA Events | 3 Comments

Steven Zelin - The Singing CPA. Photo by Rob Yulfo.

Article written by Caresse Singh.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 was the second time Steven Zelin a.k.a “The Singing CPA” had lectured at an ASIFA-East event. Along side him sat Emily Campbell, an accomplished business lawyer. After a brief introduction highlighting their degrees, achievements and careers, Zelin performed a song – a tax related rendition of Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere.”

Then it was down to business. Sample forms were distributed and outlined on the chalkboard were the six points to be discussed that night.

On the topic of Taxes, the points were:

1. Preparing Tax Returns & Book-keeping
2. Calculating Quarterly Payments
3. How different business structures are taxed.

On the Legal end the points were:

1. The difference between Independent Contractors & Work-For-Hire;
The Legal Definition of Employee
2. Types of business entities.
3. Copyright vs. Trademarks

Zelin began by walking us through the conventional 1040 tax return, discussing such things as Schedule C forms, itemized deductions, 1099s and W2s. From there, Campbell took over and explained in great detail the legal difference between an Independent Contractor and an employee.

Both were extremely knowledgeable and relayed their messages in a very intuitive manner, bouncing off of each other’s topics and incorporating audience questions. They also served as perfect complements to each other. If Zelin’s conversation was scribed word for word and on a website, Campbell’s interjections were the underlined hyperlinks. Zelin even doled out prizes for correct answers to his quiz questions.

Other topics explored were: S-Corporations, C-Corporations, LLC’s, Trademarks, Copyrights, Creative Commons and how to pick the best accountant and lawyer for yourself. The most important thing both Zelin and Campbell urged us all to consider is that tax and legal issues are our business; it’s information all of us who create for a living can and should know. With that said, rest assured, ASIFA-East does plan to bring Zelin back for another informative night.

For more on Steven Zelin:

For more on Emily Campbell:

For more on the IRS:

For Trademarks:

For Copyright:

Emily Campbell. Photo by Rob Yulfo.


  1. David Levy
    March 7, 2011

    Great report, Caresse.. and thanks for arranging the wonderful event, Dayna!
    There’s a lot of buzz asking us to do this every year. Who are we disagree? : D

  2. Stephen Brooks
    March 8, 2011

    Bummed I couldn’t make it… I recently formed my LLC so taxes next year are going to be fun (=

  3. Tone
    March 9, 2011

    This event was great. Steven and Emily discussed important topics ranging from tax items for LLC’s to recent copyright law impacting intellectual property.