Mark Hentemann is one of the original (and still) head writers of the hit show "Family Guy" that has ran for over two decades now. He is also an avid Real estate investor in commercial and multifamily properties.
Mark got his start in the greeting card business but quickly transitioned to show business by getting his "dream job" at The Letterman Show in a writer's room full of Harvard Grads.
Many crazy events then ended up leading him to eventually meeting Seth Mcfarlane and be convinced to pilot this show called "Family Guy".
Many years and awards later Mark now mainly focuses on Multifamily investing in the Los Angeles Market - controlling a portfolio of over 100 million in property.
Main topics of today's show:
Are You Stuck In Your W2 Job, Relationships, And Life?
Good - Let's Change That:
Welcome to the action Academy podcast. Action Academy podcast is Dan back while I celebrate freedom, the show where we help you achieve financial independence with the mindset methods and actionable steps from guests who've already earned their freedom, the freedom fly. Choose to do what you want, what you want with who you want with who you want, when you want when you want with another episode today. Now, here's your host, Brian Luebben. What is up guys, this is Brian Luebben. Over at the action Academy podcast with a new intro. Yeah, that is substantially better than what I was doing before. So I hope you guys all enjoyed that I've got a little bit of an intro and an outro. Now to each episode, because we are getting professional people, we're making moves. And today I'm hopefully going to be helping you make some moves as well. We've got a really, really interesting guest today who I'm very, very excited to bring to you. His name is Mark Hentemann. And he is a script writer and one of the head writers for the hit show Family Guy. So unless you've been living under the rock, I'm sure that you have been watching Family Guy as we were growing up. And as you're growing up, and you were witnessing all of this has been happening over the last two decades of the show. It's been a wild ride. And that's the first half of the interview is basically talking to him about his upbringing, how he got into writing and giving tips and strategies to help writers and help with the creative process that I think a lot of you can take something out of no matter where you are, but that was more. So just an interesting piece for me and I think that it will be for you as well. The back half of the show is going to be talking about Mark's real estate investments. Mark is wildly wildly wildly successful and commercial and multifamily real estate in his niche is buying apartments, distressed apartment specifically in Los Angeles. And he's been doing that for the last decade. So without any further ado, please leave a rating and a review. And let's go through to the show. It's okay if y'all log off now. I would understand after that. Mark, how are you my friend? I'm good. How are you doing? I can't lie to you. I'm upset. Mark was pissed if you would, because because I was thinking about what to title this episode. And I'm looking through all the different podcasts that have you on them. And I was just thinking to my car, I'm like, I know the title is gonna be the multifamily guy. And I was over the moon excited like my creative juices are flowing. And I'm like, let me just double check real quick. You nailed it. Jake and Gino? Ah, after you. Jake and Gino stole you from me with that title. So it is fine. All is forgiven? We'll move on. But nobody, nobody listens to that show. Yeah, the family man. Family boy. Yeah. Or Jake and Gino? Yeah, fine. There's small potatoes in the in the space. But, man, it's a pleasure to have you on my friend. I'm very, very excited about where we're gonna go today. Like I told you before, I really want to dive into your more creative side and where you went with Family Guy and kind of do a little bit of an origin story there. And then we can work on how that translates to business. And the reason I want to do that 30,000 foot is because I find your story very, very interesting. Not in the fact that you are wildly successful in real estate. But it's kind of an unconventional path to get there. Because a lot of the guys you see are like on a free Oh Cushman, where they're like the engineering operations analytical mind. You don't see too too many people and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't feel like you see many people from like a creative side that go into investing very heavily. You know why that is? It's just kind of how everything's framed. Yeah, I think engineers are wired for, for real estate investing kind of inherently naturally. Mm hmm. Yeah, exactly. So that's why I find your story even more interesting. And yeah, all my writing colleagues are fearful. Like, that's what my frustration with them is like they they're, they're, I don't know, maybe a little too neurotic or panicky. Like, I don't know, I just sort of have this like sociopathic like just, you know, meth methodical, I can be very methodical and consistent for a very, very long time. And I feel like I don't want to get into that with your writing process, too. That's gonna be one of my questions moving forward. But my first question is right now, do you view yourself as more of like a writer who happens to be an investor in commercial multifamily real estate? Or do you view yourself as an investor slash business owner, who also happens to be a writer? Uh huh. I think growing up, I always wanted to be a writer, that was like, my first love, and the dream. And, you know, I was, you know, I grew up in Ohio, and didn't think it was ever would ever be possible. But, you know, so that was like, the big dream that I thought would be the coolest thing in the world if I could possibly succeed in that arena. But I've been doing that for like, 30 years now. Almost. And, and I think I'm going to phase out, like, I think I've done a lot of what I wanted to accomplish in the entertainment business. And I like the investing part of it. And I think I think investing is something that I can do until I'm 100. And I think writing is something that I can't do until I'm 100. And be good in relevant. And I don't even know if I want to be relevant. I don't want to chase pop culture. You know, when I'm 65 or something like that, that's got to be exhausting. Like, I can't, no, it is in the writers room on the show kind of going through that. Yeah, you know, you'd, you'd you do whatever you want to, or maybe it's a luxury that I have is like, you know, I don't watch, I don't watch 95 99% of the shows that are on the air and I don't care. And I don't feel like it's my homework to do. I'll let someone else pitch those jokes. There. Yeah, that works perfectly fine for all of us. So, walk us walk us through. I know you started over like with an internship over at Letterman. So got a young mark. He's, he's up and coming. He's going to school. He wants to be a writer. He gets an internship over to write for the Letterman Show, correct? Not exactly. I never had an internship with Letterman. I. Let's see. Okay, so I was in college. Basically how it all started, I went to college, I I majored in organizational communications, didn't really ever know what that was supposed to be. But I started just from boredom. And I just I started a satirical magazine. And I spent a lot of my time in college. writing and drawing cartoons for that in I was kind of entrepreneurial, too. So we distributed it, like five colleges in the Midwest. And, and after college, I went to New moved up to New York, to try to pursue writing and I also had got an internship at MTV at the time. It was for a show called unplugged. If people in the 90s probably remember that. But um, but it was also like, got paid nothing, and became like the proverbial starving artist. And, you know, I was, I was writing a ton. But also, you know, had no money was broke. And it was I was destitute, and I was in the most expensive city in the US. So I was like, bolting awake in the middle of the night panicked over how is going to pay my rent the next month. And, you know, it scarred me. Like, because of that, that stress, and never have not having food, not having money to eat that like coming out out of that. And I think what happened from there, as I got hired, I submitted some of my cartoons and some of my writing samples, and randomly got hired to be a greeting card writer and illustrator in the alternative humor department at American Greetings. And, and it was, and now he's like, Well, what a left turn that was, but what an opportunity, like I was not an artist in any way, but they just hired me as an illustrator to. And it was in their alternative humor department, and which was different from their conventional humor department, in their conventional humor department had to service all their licensed characters. And at the time, it was like Garfield and Ziggy and Holly hobby or something like that a cabbage patch or something. But we had no rules. And so we were like, supposed to be the experimental end of it. And so we just tried to make each other laugh with these really, really weird cards and they were conceptual and serious. Real. And nobody bought our cards. Like the average greeting card buyer was a 62 year old grandmother. Yeah. And it was almost a badge of honor. If if your card and our sales numbers were on the cards, and if you got to 0.0, which means nobody bought, you're already we were proud of that, like, we're like we It must have been good because no grandmothers, you know, got got the thing. But I it was fun. And I liked it in I liked everybody that I was working with. I knew that I didn't want to be stuck, like in one of those American Greetings cubicles for the rest of my life. And so, I, I did some research on how to, you know, what's my next move? What's my next step? And, and I knew that William Morris Agency was like one of the biggest agencies, the only agency I had ever heard of. And so I called their mailroom, and I said, or I called, I called the receptionist and said, How do I submit material? Like, I'm interested? And I just got like, a two second, like, send your send something send a package to the mailroom, no, hung up on me. And so I was naive enough to do that. And I submitted, put a bunch of my cards in an envelope and sent them and figured immediately figured out I'm never going to hear you know, that said i The sooner I forget about this, the better. However, like two weeks later, I get a phone call. And it was this woman says Hi, I'm an eight. I'm an agent at the William Morris Agency. I'm an I'm a brand new agent, I was an assistant but I just got bumped up to agent. I have zero clot I had zero clients. So I was looking in the mailroom, and I looked at everything in the mailroom. And I liked your your cards are funny. And she's like, Would you be interested in trying to write for television or film? And I was like, yeah, that'd be amazing. I don't know what to do, how to get in there. And she explained, you know, figure out a script, you got to write a spec script, that's a sample of your writing. And I'll try to shop it around, and we'll try to get you a job. So I, I like was thrilled and went home and started thinking like, Okay, how do you write us? How do you write a script? Like, what does it even look like? Like, what's the formatting? And I think I was, I liked the Simpsons at the time, I'm like, maybe I'll write a Simpsons are a Seinfeld or something like that. And try to try to figure out how to break that down and figure out how to write a script. And I started to do that. And however, like, a week and a half later, she calls me back the same agent. And she said, You know, I didn't tell you this. On our first call, but I had forwarded your cards to the Late Show with David Letterman. And they just called me, and they want to meet you. And she's like, how quickly can you get up here. And I said, I'll be there tomorrow. And my mom loaned me some airline miles, and I flew up to New York, and they offered me a job, they said, you want to come work on The Late Show. That is, that is a heck of an origin story. And he said something there that I think gets lost in age. So you said I was naive enough to send my cards in. So I know that as time goes on, and as we get older, we're kind of like beat down by society. And by, right, well, they're like, Hey, don't be a dumbass. Don't do that. Don't do that. Don't do that. That's too risky. And I think the War of Art Steven Pressfield. I don't know if you've read that. But he talks about like that resistance. So what's the advice you would give maybe to somebody that as before we go into your next part of the story where you meet you go on Letterman, and then you meet Seth and everything. What's some advice you would give to someone that's maybe in that same spot right now that's looking to make that move? By just go for it? Yeah, I would say do things that seem pointless. I mean, that's the that's the takeaway from that is like, because that was, there was no way in my brain. There was no way. This was gonna go anywhere. And I was trying this thing I was going at. I was applying. I was calling up the biggest, the most venerable 100 year old agency, the William Morris Agency, with no contacts, I didn't know anything. And in you know, they couldn't get me off the phone quick enough. But they said mailroom and I still put, I think a lot of people would have just You know, hung up and gone back to their life, but I did. I felt it felt totally pointless. But I did put my stuff into an envelope and paid the like, $4 of postage, to mail it. And I mailed it. And, you know, I remember telling myself, the faster you forget about this, the better just move on. But it worked, you know, sometimes, sometimes a shot in the dark. Can can work. That's a that's a heck of an ROI on $4. Right. So, so you go to Letterman, and then what happens next? Yeah, I mean, Letterman was a thrill because I, you know, I never watched a ton of TV. But I loved you know, it was during the late night wars of the late 90s. And it was Conan and Letterman and Jay Leno. And it was all big, it was really competitive. And I walked into that room. And Letterman was like, the most, you know, the most, they had, every writer in that room was pretty much a Harvard Lampoon graduate had been, you know, a member of the Harvard Lampoon, they all had 10 Emmys on their shelves, and they had been there for 2015 years. And it was the most intimidating writer, you know, writers room, you know, that I've been in to date. And I was, I was terrified, and tried to, you know, get my bearings. And, you know, it was also a thrill like, and, you know, wrote, for them and in, it was amazing, you know, living in New York and writing for a show like that, at a time when, you know, when it was a big, big deal, late night was really kind of a big deal. But, uh, so I was there for about a year and a half. And, you know, I think the Letterman was slipping, slipping in the ratings. And they fired the executive producer, and the new executive producer came in, and he thought the first thing to do was to, you know, clean up to a cleaning house on the writing staff. And, you know, and I think all those the, the old guard who had all been there for, for 10 years or more, they all stayed, and it was the new guys that kind of got swept aside. And I was in New York and God, you know, sort of found myself like abruptly like, Oh, my God, I'm out of a job now. What do I do next? And so, you know, and I think, like, to your point of some of those moments in your life is is, you know, that was I remember walking down Broadway, in New York, fresh off of just gotten let go. And I'm like, I, you know, I don't I barely know anybody in New York, what am I going to do? And, you know, there's a swirl of emotion in like, panic and fear. And I remember thinking, like, you know, I'm kind of like, a stoic personality. I'm like, What am I doing? Like, why am I like, getting all emotional about emotional about this, like, I should use this, like, this is all energy. This is just like, this is a swirl of energy. You know, I'm pissed. And, and I resent all those guys with their, like, prestige, and, and I'm gonna use this energy to become better than all of them. Like, because I'm going to work harder, because they're complacent, they're going to sit back and, you know, be entitled in and I'm going to go to work. And, and that was kind of, you know, it was like, that's going to be an engine, you know, my, my getting burned is going to be an engine to motivate me, and I'll get up earlier, and I'll work longer and harder than anyone else. Until I get, you know, I probably got the job prematurely. Like I wasn't, I maybe wasn't ready. You know, ready for a big break like that so quickly. And now it was my time to earn it. And I was like, that's fair. Yeah, and you but I think that things when they happen to live, it's neither like late nor early. I think everything is right on time, even though we can't see it in the present. So it's like looking back. It's almost weird, because once you got put into that writers room, it's like, it's like knocking out like a 64 unit for your first real estate deal. You're like, after that. You're like, okay, cool. I just left the writers room with a bunch of Harvard grads, like, throw it at me anywhere. Yeah. Yeah. And it was in it was like you They're, they're no better. You know, they're, they're no better than anybody else. And I've still worked with a bunch of Harvard Lampoon grads now. And they're, they're great. I mean, they're, they're, they're fun and funny, but like, the risk of being a Harvard Lampoon grad is that you're going to be complacent. Beware, like, you're going to be complacent. And someone's gonna hustle more than you. And, and, you know, be better than you. And do you want that like, so you got to? Everything is earned. You know, there's any Harvard Lampoon grads listening to this podcast. But I'm unfamiliar with keep your head on a swivel guy. Yeah, hard work. What Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. I had the ad. I love that. That's great. So you're walking the streets in New York, you're going through your you're embracing your inner, stoic, and then and then so what's next? I got to work. Like I was like, I'm gonna wake up, I'm going to wake up, you know, early, I'm going to be writing from 7am. And I also, like, acknowledged, I'm like, Alright, I, I got given a big break. Before I had really figured out even how to format a script, like, so I didn't know so much of the nuts and bolts of writing. I'm like, I got to learn all that stuff. And I got to learn how, you know, I got to learn scripts. Letterman was was jokes. And I could do the top 10 lists and the desk pieces and remote is what the sort of the different aspects of the show were. But it's like, I need to learn story. And I need to learn act three act structures. And so I I figured my next step was going to be get into scripted, episodic TV. And I needed to learn how those were structured. And so I watched a bunch of the shows that I liked, I just found shows and movies that I liked. And I deconstructed everything, I wanted to know why every choice was made at every moment, in a script, like, what was the logic that underlies? Like, why did this happen now. And there was a dishes, there was a decision clearly made, and like, you know, which jokes worked and which didn't, so I kind of like deconstructed everything I could. And, and during that time, I was my agent was submitting me to different things in New York, but my agent was like, you know, New York, has Saturday Night Live, it has Letterman, it had Conan it, so it has late night, and it has Saturday live in it doesn't have much else. 99% of the entertainment business is out in LA. And we had gone out there. You know, when I was on Letterman, we got nominated for an Emmy. And so we all flew out to LA. That was the first time I had ever been in LA. But I going to the Emmys. You know, in that first, I think it was like six months into my, my job on Letterman. And I was in LA for the first time and I kind of recognize that okay, 99% of the entertainment business is in LA. And when, when I was in New York, post Letterman, I realized that I probably am going to have to move out to LA, if I want to do this full time, full time. And I was like, I probably don't want to stay in just late night I probably want to get into movies and and other things. And so my wife, my girlfriend at the time, she had moved up to New York with me. And she was she had an ope her, she was working in PR and her her company had an opening in their LA office. And so I was like, Okay, let's take that you you will have that job and let's move out. And so we did it and didn't know anybody moved out to LA and getting out to LA pretty quickly. You know, I the the fact that so much of the business was was in LA things, there was a lot more activity and I was getting meetings and within like a week of being there in LA. I got I got a meeting at Fox and they had liked my they had seen my cartoons they had seen they had seen some of my writing and you know, my Letterman credit was was a great, you know, calling card. And I went in and had a meeting and I think she told me she's like pitch a show, like pitch a show. So I did pitch a show and they they ended up buying it and then at the same time They said, we we like your cartoons. You know, we're starting a cartoon, you should meet the guys behind it. And it was Seth MacFarlane and David Zuckerman. And so I, I got hired to write the script, the pilot for the pilot for the show that I had pitched, which ended up being going on MTV. And then at the same time, I met with Seth, and they hadn't even launched the show yet. And he was like, You should come right on this show. He and I had like some of the same influences. We both like the far side and like different cartooning sort of influences. And so I did, I joined Family Guy. And, and it was fun. It was the opposite of Letterman, Letterman was just prestige. You know, it was the old guard of like the most venerable television writers, most honored and decorated. Television writers Family Guy was total ragtag people who couldn't find jobs on other shows, like we're, we're showing up in that writers room. And so it was a total contrast, like Letterman, I remember having to learn what words David Letterman would and would not say, and you had to learn, like, oh, man, he had been doing it for 20 years. So he did what he, he had specific, you know, you had to learn how to write in his wheelhouse, and it was very narrow. And on the other hand, by contrast, family, I had no real direction. And so we were all just sitting in that room, pitching weird, like, we would just try to make each other laugh with, with all our weird, different influences. And that's what became, you know, some of those early plots, and everybody brought something different to the table, you know, some different influences that we were all trying to imitate from our childhood. And, you know, you get in a room with a bunch of people, and it's kind of fun, it's like, you know, you feed off each other, you start to recognize each other's techniques. And so you kind of model each other and twist it in different ways. And, and, you know, when you get into, like, a good flow, it's really fun. And that's kind of how we got started. That was gonna be one of my questions is, I know, in startup like business, I don't know how it is the show business that was gonna be my question is, I know that in business, it's a lot of time there, like, follow the team and follow the founder, maybe not necessarily the concept, like partner with the right founder in the right leader, and you'll take off so I was gonna ask, do they, when you're looking for a show to join? Is it more so like, hey, I really like the concept of this, or, Hey, I really like the guys that are heading this up. And I don't know what's going on yet. But I've got faith in these guys that we can figure this out together. Oh, I wish I had the luxury of choosing, like, like, let's do it. Like who's gonna give me a job? Like, I'm in Baghdad, and I think that's a lot of a lot of the reality is, is, you're alright, I'm unemployed, whose first one to give me a job. Awesome. So by what point during that, so you start Family Guy, and it's a whirlwind. At what point? Is there like a moment where you're like, oh, hell, we got something going here? Um, I don't know. I mean, honestly, like, yeah, that first, that first meeting I had with executives at Fox, they said, You should meet with these creators, and they handed me the pilot, like the four minute or five minute short. That that was the what Seth's like senior project in college was, and I watched it and I was like, Oh, this is going nowhere. And and but I go in that room. What really doesn't crash? I'm like, I better get I better start looking for another job now. But I, I we joined the room and didn't know what to expect and and we just didn't, you know, we always were on the fence in those early years, and we got canceled twice. And the second time we got cancelled. We were off for two years. So it didn't really have a smooth launch that it wasn't an instant success. Mm hmm. And I it Yeah, did did things in the interim. Yeah, that's a it's funny because it's like I just remember growing up with it and watching like the humor progress throughout the years. It's like I always enjoyed it because I remember you speaking at the event, and you're like, yeah, it's a cool concept, because it's like we've got cars tunes so they don't have to age and we can just keep putting them in an infinite amount. It's like a giant sandbox and we get to play in. Yeah, yeah, that's the nice thing about animation. Yeah, so my one of my questions I had is twofold. One is what was your favorite joke and or episode that y'all created where you're like, This is it? And then the second one is on the flip side of it. Which one if you can remember any specific situation where you're like, oh, man, I don't know about this one guys. We may get cancelled a third time. Haha. Oh, god. Yeah. fav. Favorite show? Or Fail favorite moment, either. Yeah, there's there's a lot of I feel like I'm going to the popular ones. Like I there is that like it the CAC scene where they're all puking? Yep, there was the favorite one I wrote. Probably a couple ones that I wrote is I liked like Stewie. And Brian, go back to the pilot episode. That was a fun like sci fi because I was never really a sci fi person growing up, but I liked in the cartoon world where you could do comedy, too. I liked cracking, science fiction sort of plots. Or I did a 90s episode recently. Not too long ago that was was really fun to write. But I don't know, I think my favorite moments or the most obnoxious moments, either when we had used Conway Twitty whenever we talk, when we were stuck in, like we, we had this one episode, where we sent Bonnie and Lois to Paris. And we thought, we were like, we were trying to rewrite it for like, the third time and it was like, it was really late at night. And we're like, oh, God, why did we? Why did we do this plot? And so we just someone goes, we should just put this like David Bowie, Mick Jagger video, it'll take like, it's like a four and a half minute video. So we remember that. We just, we just jumped to this, like, the worst video someone was like, You should put this in because it's the worst music video ever made. Like because they're both holding like Diet Cokes. Like while they're dancing in an alley. And they they didn't even take enough care to like set their cokes off frame and like so they're dancing and they're bending over and picking up their their coke and taking a sip and then continuing. Literally remember sitting on my couch is like ladies and gentlemen, Conway Twitty, right. I'm just sat there in silence. I'm just like remembering back and like, how funny that was for zero reason. Oh, my God. And then so it's like live this life is funny because it's one of the scenes I remember to I was with my girlfriend this last week. And she we were hungover. You know, we're just laying on the couch or just she was just like, You know what I feel like right now. And I was like, what is before she even knew I was talking to you. She brings out her phone that goes on YouTube. And it's that damn scene with the freakin frog trying to throw it out. Oh, yeah. The box. And I was like, Yeah, that's what I got to talk to Mark about. Cuz like, the dialogue and out of all the funniest things I've seen on the show that that frog just like with a cardboard box just Yeah. Sound effects and yeah, that was great. That was, you know, a lot of the a lot of the jokes are writer driven on our show, but that one was I think we had Peter Shin, who's our supervising director, kind of just go and that was a, you know, that was the director like all those little poses. When that that's animated. So all those things had to be little drawings. And there's so much subtlety in the sound effects. And we just, you know, dragged it out for a very long time. Is there any specific reason that that you weren't voicing any of the characters? Like I know you did the I know you did the ostrich. Aha. Yeah, yeah, I did like I always this guy who was like, I usually they would always give me brain damaged characters. To do for some reason, I was Peters, a co worker, Op. And I was an ostrich. And I was always always animals or like a really bad sportscaster. Yeah, it was like, yeah, these golf, you know, a golf announcer some thing. But uh, yeah, phony guy. The phony guy. Yeah, let's give Marco the brain dead characters. No problem guys, this is slam dunk. So on the flip side of that, were there any ones where you're like, Alright, this one's getting this cancelled? Um yeah, I think there was a lot of there was a lot of episodes that I thought after cry Yeah, half of them that at some point like crossed the line. I don't know. I mean, the one the one episode that ironically they never aired because they thought it was the most offensive thing we had ever done was we were basically trying to do an All in the Family episode, which is if you guys, if anybody remembers all in the family, it was just as iconic 70s show that was before my time. But it was known as this comedy that like tackled really relevant, you know, real life situations. And so we did an abortion episode. And, and Lois was trying to decide whether she should have an abortion, because they couldn't afford another kid. And there's the debate, it's like, just half the episode is a debate. And and we thought we did it smartly. Like, I know that was in but But Fox, you know, the studio network were like, that was the one. I guess, for some reason that was the one where we crossed a line. Yeah, I can definitely see that. So I've got one more question, then we'll move on. Because you've, you've been dropping some gold here that we can really dive into as it translates into your investing and business career. I wanted, I was curious about I have an idea from listening to you speak before about kind of your writing process. I know that like I listen to Seinfeld, and he's like, write a joke a day, like just write a joke a day? And then he's like, the repetition? And the consistency is what keeps everything sharp? Do you have any specific writing practices that you do? I think, you know, I think it goes back to, like, it goes back to that moment. You know, walking down Broadway is like that sort of flick the switch, that I was like I was I have to be, I have to be the hardest worker, the most disciplined, and I was going to work the process. And and that's what I think it would, would be like, the most important key thing is, is, you know, work the process day in and day out, don't worry about the outcome. I think, you know, just like I said, do the do the process. And I think that's that when I got out to LA and got into the business and, and met a ton of people, I was kind of shocked at that, like 80% of the people that are in we're trying to get into the business, they had come out of like schools where they had taken programs, in college on getting into the entertainment business. And they were instructed to like, go out to LA immediately and network and network as much as you can. And then try to get into a room and and network your way into a production assistant job and maybe get a writer's assistant job. And what was surprising to me is like, but that's by nobody's mentioning anything about getting good as a writer like that was I was oblivious to that I was oblivious. I never networked. I never, I was too shy. I didn't know how to meet anybody. But I sat in my room and got good at the process. I was like, I want to learn how to be a great writer, and I want to learn, I just want to understand, you know, even before I'm good, I want to understand why every move that writers make, I want to know why they made that move and why that was the right move. And, you know, whether it's applies to the plot, or whether it applies to a joke technique, like how you're, how you're manipulating something, so that it's funny, I wanted to know how they did it and why they did it. And, you know, the more I built that understanding, you know, the more I could walk into rooms and be good, and I wanted to be good. I love that. And I think that's a perfect transition point. Because one of the things that you've said that kind of stood stood out to me the most was when between all that story which is a fantastic story. And it's it's a wild ride in its infinite ROI from a $4 postage note, to send that into Letterman's mailroom for the first time. The biggest part that stood out to me was you sitting in the room when you are unaware Floyd, completely self imposed, no one watching. Like that's where greatness is made is when you're sitting there and you have no one behind you saying, Hey, you have to do this and you're sitting there on your own with your own merit in your dissection scripts. You're writing screenplays, you're writing scripts. That's where the magic happens. So yeah, I love that you said that because yeah, and it was huge. It was the 10,000 hours, like, yeah, it was, it was my time to sit down. I had had a couple lucky breaks. And it was my time to, like, get to work and, and put in those 10,000 hours and learn. And I wanted to have a deep understanding. And that's it. That's that Cal Newport. The 10,000 hours. Was that from mastery. what's that guy's name? I'm drawing a blank those it's blank it on me too. I know. I know, our 10,000 hours then on the name memorization. But Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm Gladwell. Perfect. There we go. Our 10,000 has been logged, ladies and gentlemen. So you're over and you're with all the you're with all the different creatives there. They're going crazy in the writers room. You're in LA where everyone says that real estate's too expensive to buy. You shouldn't do any of this, you shouldn't do this, you shouldn't do that. You say, Hey, guys, I need some stability. I've walked down Broadway unemployed before I want to buy a duplex, correct? Yeah, it was kind of like that. It was yeah, like my, my destitute time in New York Fed that is like when I was in New York, didn't know where my rent payment is going to come from. I was eating like 10 pound boxes of dried lentils. And just in just cooking those once a week and eating those every, every meal of the day. And because I could live off of like, you know, 50 cents a day. And so when I got to LA, you know, it was a totally new city again, at least, at least New York City was like, was like an eight hour drive from Ohio. And, and I could get home like LA I was, I had never been to LA when I moved there. And I didn't know anybody. So that was even further away. And, and I was joining this new show that I didn't think was gonna last. And so. So yeah, I think at the same time, my, my landlord, the apartment that we moved into in LA when we we landed there, they raised my rent. And I was like, I don't, I don't screw this, I'm going to go look for another apartment, walk to an open house on a Sunday morning with my wife. It was we had nothing to do that day. So we walked out of the the apartment open house, and there was a house for sale across the street. And we're like, let's just go walk in and just check it out. You know, we're bored. And the realtor there was like, she was like, Oh, are you looking to buy a house? I'm like, No, not really. We just went and looked at an apartment across the street. And she's like, well, what's your, you know, financial situation. And I had just written my first two scripts for Family Guy, I think I got paid $23,000 per script. So I had 46,000, basically, in the bank, and I was like, I got 46,000 in the bank. But but I'm not interested in buying a house, like I don't want that kind of responsibility. You know, I'm in this volatile industry. And she was like, Well, you know, you got 46,000 You don't want to throw that away on rent. And I was like, you know, are you kidding? You know, I don't want you think I want the responsibility of a mortgage, like when I'm in anticipating that my show is gonna get canceled. And then then I'll default on, you know, this mortgage, and be in worse shape. And we talked for a little bit and she was really nice. And I liked her and, and eventually I said, the only way I would take out mortgages is if it it would have to be the best investment I've ever made. If you could find me something that will bring me stability in this volatile industry, then that would be something I would be interested in. And we parted ways. Figured I never hear from her again. But two weeks later, she calls me and she says I found the property you need to buy but there's a catch. You need to become a landlord. And I was like a landlord. And, and, and so I met her at the property. And it was this duplex and it was rundown overgrown. It was in an up and coming area in LA called Larchmont village, the sellers of it. Were raising goats and chickens in the backyard in the middle of LA. And they were moving to Kansas to dig a hole and build an underground house and live off the grid. Oh fun. But they had this this property was completely like kind of neglected. But I liked it. I always I've always had this like, inherent thing for real estate, at least houses and buildings. I remember in high school and growing up, a friend of mines dad did real estate and always like, was fascinated by it. But I was looking at this house. I was like, I could see how this could be so much better if it got cleaned up. And but basically, I trusted this broker, and I said, Okay, what do I got to do? Because I could tell that the neighborhood was up and coming. There was still kind of graffiti on the sidewalks. But it was it was walkable to this really charming area called Larchmont village. And I was like I could see the how this could be a great property. And, and she I leaned on her I'm like, do you think it's a good deal. And she's like, I think there's a lot of opportunity here. And so she coached me. And there was 15 other buyers, and we got in a bidding war. And this property was listed for $379,000. And over two weeks, the price went up about 15 grand every day. And after two weeks, I was the last I won the bidding war by paying $435,000 for this property that was listed for 379 and thought, and I won the bidding war and I was like, oh shit, like I see the What have I done like, I got swept up. And, and I thought I was gonna you know, be bankrupt, destitute again, and maybe in jail. But I tried to embrace it in, you know, first thing I was going to do is I got to learn how to do this. So I kind of got books, read everything I could about real estate to try to salvage this thing. My tenant, my first tenant was the guy who does the voice of Cleveland, and Herbert and Consuela on Mike Henry. He was my, my next door neighbor, my tenant, and he made fun of me for being a landlord, and I threatened to evict them. Just about every week. That's awesome. Oh, yeah, try to embrace it, and fixed it up. Nice. And then so you go from that? What was the bug that bitches so you put your next 10,000 hours and into learning about the real estate and learning into all this while you're doing and Family Guy? So what was the bug? What was your next one after that to kind of get the snowball rolling? I think the bug that that happened is, so when I buy this thing, when I win the bidding war, I'm terrified. And I recognize my own ignorance in real estate and I'm like, I better learn, I better just start educating myself and try to navigate myself out of this potentially bad situation I got myself in. And so I did so but I caught, you know, an upswing in the market. This was in like 2000 right around like 1999 2000 in the market was going up. And I reified after a year. And Mike moved out after like two years and I replied like three times rates were at like 8% when I bought it, this was back then in rates were much higher and they were going down in the early 2000s. So I went from like a 8% rate to a 6% rate to a 4% rate. And I reef I was reifying. And it was doing great after like three years, and I sold it after five years. And what I had paid what I had paid 435,004 And I had put down 10% Because of I was a first time buyer so I put down basically $45,000 on this property. And so I put down yeah $45,000 on a $435,000 property, and I sold it for 1.2 7 million and made about $800,000 on my 40 $45,000 downpayment and that was your entire payment. That was your entire check from the first two scripts right Yes, yeah, that was my first two scripts went to that. So that was like, I was like, Whoa, like, oh, this there's, there's, this is a good thing like real estate, in the huge sort of Thunderbolt that hit me is like I have been so financially insecure, like in this, as I've made my way in this entertainment business, that he will hit me like a thunderbolt like real estate is the way that I will never have to worry about money is I need to keep investing, I need to get the discipline to like pump all of my entertainment income into real estate, and build build that out. And this was starting in 2000. And so I was kind of all in on real estate. And, and just started looking around LA and LA was, you know, happy hunting grounds of like Mom and Pop owners. And, you know, it was an appreciation market. It was a it was tough, like it wasn't a cash flow market. But, uh, but I did value adds, bought, you know, bought on cheap metrics, because I had limited funds, and I was in expensive markets, I was always looking for the cheapest properties, I would value add them, and turn them. And I did that straight through the 2000s. And buy in, I became like an evangelist at work. Like all my friends, my writer, friends, I was like, get into real estate, like, it's, it's the best, the best compliment to an entertainment career because you got volatility, you're taking a chance with this, like creative field, and then just put all your income into real estate, and it's the perfect combo. But a lot of them were skittish and, you know, didn't have the nerve to do it or didn't have the passion that I did for it. So nobody really did that. And then until about 2007 was when when they said, You know, I was an evangelist at work, and they were ultimately like, well, you won't stop talking about this. So why don't you find properties? And we'll put our money down? Yeah, yeah. 2008 I think it was actually, when we, when we got into contract on our, on a 16 unit building. And the sellers were suing each other it was distressed. The market had started to slide in 2008. I remember like there was massive foreclosures happening in Florida. So you trouble was, was a brew, but but anyone who went through 2008 They may recall that the market started to slide, but then it plateaued and kind of stabilized briefly. And that's when I that's when I was watching the market go down. And I thought to myself, when I once I saw it drop 10% Or like 15% I was like it's time to get in. It's now's the time to jump in and lock in these discounts. Because LA's has been charging upward. The values have been and now's the time to lock in this discount. And so we bought this 16 unit. And however, however, within two weeks after I removed contingencies with, with seven of my writing colleagues, investing with me that I had brought them on board, Lehman Brothers crashed and bears followed by Bear Stearns, and you know, the whole global economy plunged into the great recession. And I was like, Oh, crap, you know, I, the first time I bring all these, like smart asses that I see every day, and I'm gonna lose, I've never lost money on anything, like an image of the mentally disabled character. Rob, Mark, right. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I fortunately, I think none of they don't pay attention to the economic data. They weren't devouring but they knew the shit was hitting the fan. And, but we just we kind of wrote it out. I mean, I I think we benefited that we bought at a discount. We bought a C B minus it was workforce housing. And during that time, I mean, the reality is, is I I was I was not sleeping. Well. I was like, you know, I'm going to lose my friends money. I dreaded that. But at the same time, our building stayed full rents. Rents actually were inching upwards, because there was foreclosures, massive foreclosures. So people in single family homes were losing their homes and becoming renters. And this was the most affordable tier, it was workforce housing. So there was also another group of people who had been renting a class or, you know, B plus class, and they were moving down because people were losing their jobs, and everybody was getting squeezed. So our buildings stayed full the entire time, by like, c plus or B minus, yeah, this particular deal was was Yep, b minus c plus workforce housing. And, and we, you know, miraculously, we stayed fall, and our rents went upward, right through straight through the Great Recession. And I think the only hiccup that I experienced was that our lender, you know, the only repercussion that we really felt from the great recession was that our lender had adjusted the value of our property pretty early on, they adjusted it downward. And because they had a debt coverage ratio requirement, they said, Oh, we lowered the value, the estimated value of your property, we need you to meet our debt coverage ratio. So you know, you to put more money, put more money behind the loan. And so, you know, we were all working, we were all employed. And so yeah, so that was my experience in the Great Recession. We sold it. Maybe 2015, a couple years after the recession, we come out of the recession, and everybody tripled their money. And, you know, I think I told them all, I was a big relief for me. But I also told them, I pointed out that like the stock market had made 48% return and I delivered them a 299% return during that same period. That that is, that's a wild story, especially going through kind of getting everything started. Right. Right when everything was about to kind of hit the fan, right? Yeah. So I'm thinking I'm trying to pull a couple different things out of there. For anybody that's in hot markets. So which is you know, the United States of America, I'm in Atlanta, you know, people Colorado, obviously, California. So there's a lot of talk right now about, you know, I can't get in, I'm getting priced out of the market. So a couple of things I'm listening you hearing you say is c plus class B, B minus, because if anybody gets displaced, it's going to come down, bind value add, were you going through brokers at the time, when you started going to the commercial, or were you still like looking on just find them online or direct mail or a little bit of everything? I've never done direct mail, but I, I had broker relationships, I would get some off market. And I often, you know, I was an advocate, maybe the only person in the world who liked loop net, I would go on loop net. And, you know, I remember reading that LA County has a population of 20 million people. And I think there's 3 million parcels in LA a parcels of buildings, structures, and probably a third of those are multifamily. You know, there's, it's a big huge multifamily market. So there's probably a million properties at any given time, maybe 80 to 100,000 might be on the market. So you have this huge inventory to look through. And you could screen I would use loop net and just screen for lowest cost per square foot, a figure La La was about a $500 a $500 a square foot market when the land was factored in as well. And I would I was buying properties at 250 or less a square foot so I knew I was buying them at half. Half of them are of the average market price per square foot. And I was always I was that kept me in the affordable Tier I was always I was always buying and adding value to affordable housing. And the other thing about that was that nobody was building affordable housing like the only thing that penciled out in a in an expensive, high regulatory market like LA all Developers, once they get through all the hoops to build, the only thing that pencils out for them is a class. So they were building a class and luxury. And nobody was serving the desperate need for for B and C class, you know, affordable workforce housing, and that's the tier that I zeroed in on. And that was the the product that I would buy, try to buy off of, of mom and pop owners, and always identifying those hot up and coming sub markets. Because la always had these like hipster. You know, you could just see them all the time. They were just emerging. They went from being dirt cheap to being, you know, coffee shops and restaurants, and, and everybody moving there. And that's where I tried to get in. And that was my strategy. There's got to be somebody somewhere that season like the coffee shop strategy, where they're like, how many coffee shops are like the target strategy? Like, is there a Whole Foods nearby? Is there one that's getting developed? Right, like, so? Are these still principles that you are able to apply in today's market? Is there anything that's kind of carried over? Or what kind of pivots Have you made? Yeah, I don't think I've ever really strayed too far from, you know, the it was, it was not like, I never got coached it, the book didn't tell me to do it, it was just the thing that made sense to me. And it still is to this day is like I like I like, you know, I don't really trust a class or luxury. I know, people do well with that. But I want to be in that affordable. Like I've seen volatile economies, I've seen the swings. And when, when the economy goes bad, and everybody's tightening their purse strings, it's good to be in the affordable tier. And I like that, and they're not building more of that. And so I like that I like adding value to that, um, you know, one of the quirks that I adopted, you know, just another thing from not really self educating myself, rather than ever getting taught is, is I never chased cash flow, like it always, to me, like cash flow. You know, I wanted to be in competitive markets. And that was kind of a lesson I learned in LA, that in competitive markets, cash flow is going to be squeezed. But the reason cash flow is squeezed is because of demand. And, and you want demand demand is good, like demand means that it's resilient, like that market is strong. And there's it means there's jobs. And and, you know, the the oldest, you know, kind of it led me back to Oh, yeah, that's the oldest rule of real estate is it's not cash flow, cash flow, cash flow, it's location, location, location. And I always wanted to find, where's location, like, where's the great locations that have momentum, and that has become my like, my real estate strategy is I invest in growth momentum. And that's what I call it. And I don't know if anybody else calls their strategy that but that's what I call it, I want I want to invest in areas that are growing, that have population growth, rent growth, job growth, income growth. And I know they're going to be competitive. And I know they're going to be expensive. But I that's where I want to be, because I think my downsides really protected. And my upside, you know, I'll add my value add, I'll go in with the paint in, you know, paint and construction crew, but the market itself is going to be my value add the market is going to be adding value on my behalf. It's funny, it's funny, because if everyone could get a visual of this, so we're sitting in a conference in a giant room, and then marks on stage, and then it's a bunch of cash flow guys in the audience. And then marks like, I don't care about cash flow. I'm an appreciation guy. I was like, What are you talking about? Like, you need to refinance these your cash flows terrible. And he shows up there on stages, like dead pan, just look at everyone. He's like, I don't care. He's like, I've got appreciation, baby. That's an eye, hey, I completely see that. And that's something that anybody that's in an expensive market can you know attest to they're like, hey, get enough cash flow to survive. It's just a defensive mechanism that's in your when you're in other areas, you can go more so for cash flow, and you can have a diverse strategy. So you form so you obviously started partnering with some of the writers room and started the people and then I'm assuming that kind of led into now You're syndicating, right? You got a group? Yeah, yeah, I started a company called Quantum capital back in 2015. And just formalized my investing. And then also was doing syndications, bringing in, you know, investor friends, and it kind of broadened beyond the entertainment business. And it was just fun. I mean, I recognized pretty early, you know, maybe, maybe around that time I recognized like, you know, I, I've had a blast doing the writing career. But, like, I could see, I could see phasing out writing eventually. But I, I also can see investing in real estate until I'm 100. And I'm like, I'm going to do this, I could do this my whole life. It's a discipline, it's simple. In once you learn it, like writing is you're racking your brain, you know, you get, you get kind of, you know, I think your time you do you put in your time, but I think eventually, like, I don't know, I, I don't know that I'll always want to be on top of every new show, and hottest new movie, and I just don't care as much. And, and so I want to do what I want to do in real estate, I can do that. Easily. So that was gonna be my next question is, when you take all this away? Like, why do you do it? Why is this important to you? Like, why? Why does this even matter to you? What's your, what's your vision for where this all goes? Where this all goes? I think, you know, I, I have a, I'm so happy, my writing career has turned out so much better than I ever expected it to, you know, I've had the ability to, to run Family Guy to, to be on a hit show to have created a couple of shows that were on, you know, on big networks, and to write movies to. So I've done everything in I guess. I guess, at some point, I'll I'll just kind of phase out the writing thing and do real estate. And I think I just enjoy the simple practice of real estate. And it's, it's not as I don't put my soul, you know, I don't have to like, put your soul into it the way you do writing. And I think writing drains via a little bit. But like, real estate is just a simple discipline that I could do daily. And I think I'm good at those. I'm very, I don't know whether I have like some sort of Asperger's or something. But I like simple disciplines. I could do them endlessly. I love it. And it's funny, because you're one of the guys where you know, everyone's about the early retirement to where they can figure out what they want to go do. And that's the point. It's like, it's glamorized, and it's sexy now to have the early retirement, like, I'm gonna be done probably at 30, I'll be finished. So it's like, then we're moving on to the next thing. And the next thing in the passion projects, and it's like, it's kind of cool, because you're like, I love what I do. You're like, it's been so much fun. Like, I get to have fun, I get to go right. And then so now real estate is honestly something fun for you. And it's so cool that you can have your time back to be able to just focus on what actually like is feeling you and take away some of the stuff that's getting heavy, like the writing, and then picking up stuff that feels like and for Yeah, Dave is feeling light. Yeah. And I got a great team. I really, I love my team. And, and we've got systems, we've set up the systems. We have fun, you know, we've fun getting on calls. We like sifting through deals, finding, you know, that needle in the haystack, that that little property that's gold. And that's fun. That's exciting. You know that that pursuit? Yep. And so if anybody wants to invest with you quantum capital, where can they find quantum capital? Just the website? Yeah, you can reach us reach out to us at Quantum capital inc.com. Or, you can I don't know, I'm not really much on social media. I guess I'm on Facebook. I have accounts. You what, okay, so anybody wants to reach out to mark to invest, you have to reach him how I reached him. And that's by attaching a small, a small canvas note to a messenger pigeon. And then you fly, whisper in his ear, go to Mark, go home. And that's how you can count. That's how you get on to his buyers list. Sure. You could also send me an email if you're if you're interested in it's my full name and Ma RK h e n t e ma n n at m e.com. Mark firstname.lastname@example.org. There you go. Perfect. And then how many? What's your portfolio right now? What's your assets under management? I think we're at about 135 million 100 and 40 million, something like that. And that's all in the LA market. No, that's in Austin, LA and Denver. So you love appreciation markets. Yeah, we're in big, you know, I'm in growth markets, I go, I go directly for the big growth markets and try to get on the ground there. And, you know, I, they've been fantastic. That's perfect. We replied all our properties after like a year in Austin, and we're shocked at how much they had gone up. Yeah, I'm gonna be starting to head down towards there in a little bit. But I want to be conscious of your time here. So as we kind of wrap up, I want to ask you, one last question. And since this is the podcast is the action Academy, I want to ask you if you could identify or simplify on like three different things that if somebody was in the beginning or in the intermediate stage of their journey towards financial independence towards wealth creation, what's some advice that you would give them to go from maybe like, step one to step 10? Or step 10, to step 100? step one to step 10. I think, you know, I think, you know, figure out what matters most. I think most people get distracted by things that don't matter as much, because they're easier to do. You know, I guess focus on your big rocks, your one thing, your one thing, focused on the process that was that's been like, the defining thing of my, my whole career is like, don't focus on the outcome. Be patient, it's going to take longer than you think it than you thought it would take. And don't get frustrated. You know, set your emotions aside, and just do the process, fall in love with the process, if you really enjoy. And I remember those days, like those Sunday mornings, like, in my, you know, studio apartment, sitting down to write with a cup of coffee and just loving it. Like, I didn't want to do anything else. Like I was so happy, just deconstructing, you know, then the nuances in the mechanics of writing. And I wanted, that was a thrill to me, there was nothing more fun. And if you you know, if you can embrace and enjoy what you're going after. And if you don't enjoy it, figure out a way to trick your mind into enjoying it. You know, you could, everybody's mind is malleable. I love it. I love it. I love it. Man. This has been absolutely fantastic. I loved hearing about your story. I loved hearing about your process. I loved hearing about how you transfer that into the business world. And man, thank you for being you. I love your spin on all this is very unique. There's only one mark Hentemann that I can see in the world. So I appreciate. Thanks, Brian. I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me on. Thank you, sir. And with that this has been the action Academy podcast with Brian Luebben and mark the AHA Thank you very much. You've been listening to the action Academy podcast helping you to choose what you want with who you want. When you want. You've been given the gift of freedom. Don't turn your back on that. We hope you've enjoyed the show. And we hope you've gotten some practical and useful information make sure to like rate and review the show. We'll be back soon. But in the meantime, hook up with us on social media. Remember financial independence is freedom. The freedom fly