The US economic crisis and its aftershocks may have forced many investors to steer clear of the US property market, but director, script writer and actor Kam Kwok-leung is not one of them. Instead of following the stampede out, Kam is considering buying land in Washington state, which he believes presents good investment opportunities. Kam joined show business after graduating from TVB's first training class for artists, in 1970. Over the past three decades he has either starred or directed in many popular soaps and films such as Terracotta Warrior, Four Faces of Eve and Girl with a Suitcase, as well as No Biz Like Show Biz. He spent several years in management roles at Metro Radio, from 2000 to 2006, before returning to the performing arts. In January, he produced and directed a Cantonese stage show, Crazy For Her, starring Connie Chan Po-chu. How much did you receive for your first script? I earned about HK$100 for my first piece of writing at TVB in the early 1970s. That was not bad given that some of the big movie stars of the day earned only about HK$500 per show and most people made only a few hundred dollars a month. I wrote scripts for dramas and entertainment shows as well as documentaries, which not only helped me earn a living but also gave me invaluable experience as a writer and film director. Did you earn much for Crazy for Her? Is show business a good investment? All our 26 shows were sold out; that's not bad. But it's difficult to make money from performing live. I can't tell you much about the box-office returns of Crazy for Her, but let me give you an example. Say you have produced a stage play with 30 shows and have sold about 80 per cent of the tickets; you may generate HK$9.6 million at the box office. But from this, you have to deduct around HK$4 million that goes towards production costs, including payments to actors, and another HK$1 million that you need to lease the theatre. So if you fail to sell enough tickets, you can very easily lose money. However, if you can produce a show that clicks and then sell the rights, it can be a profitable investment. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera and Cats are prime examples. Do you think the financial crisis will affect show business? All industries have been hit hard by the financial crisis. But I believe the long-term prospects of the live-performance industry are good in China. As many young people have grown up with online entertainment, live performances will have a new appeal. What about your personal investments? What's your portfolio like? Do you invest in stocks and funds or dabble in more exotic things such as wine? I am pretty conservative, so I have only invested in traditional instruments such as blue chips and property. I'm no good at investing, as I hardly have the time to do the necessary homework. So I tend to follow the advice of my close friends when it comes to investing. What was your worst investment decision? In 1992, when I was working for Star TV, I bought a new apartment in Ma On Shan on my colleagues' advice. But soon after, all the three major developers in the area slashed the prices of their new projects by a quarter. In another deal in the 1990s, I bought an apartment on the advice of a friend who is a licensed property agent in the US and was promoting a new block in San Francisco with a nice sea view overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. At US$270,000, it looked like a pretty good deal. But shortly afterwards, the developer sold the apartment just a floor above mine for US$220,000. What have you learned from these experiences? As I said, I am the type of investor who tends to follow other people's advice. Some of this advice did not work out but I have no regrets. In the US apartment deal, I was able to help a friend. So I might have lost a bit of money but kept a wonderful friendship. Are you a saver, spender, speculator or long-term investor? I am probably more of a spender. Since I am not good at investing, I feel spending wisely more fulfilling. I like trying out new technologies and fashion. I work hard to earn my money, and spend it carefully. Since I like to buy new stuff all the time, it leaves me with less to invest. Any investment plans amid this crisis? I am considering purchasing land in Washington state. There are some projects in Washington offering what I believe are good investments that may appreciate in the long run. Doesn't the US property market scare you? Washington state is relatively stable compared with many other areas in the United States. These investments are also open to non-Americans. I think the Chinese could find these projects interesting. Do you think you are rich or poor? It depends on how you define rich and poor. If you look at my bank account, I guess you could say I am poor. But I'm pretty rich in terms of my life experiences and the adulation I have received for my TV shows, films and live performances. That way, I think, I'm a rich man indeed.