Creative COW SIGN IN :: SPONSORS :: ADVERTISING :: ABOUT US :: CONTACT US :: FAQ
Creative COW's LinkedIn GroupCreative COW's Facebook PageCreative COW on TwitterCreative COW's Google+ PageCreative COW on YouTube
BUSINESS AND MARKETING:Business and Marketing ForumBusiness and Marketing ArticlesBusiness and Marketing Podcasts

Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed

COW Forums : Business & Marketing

<< PREVIOUS   •   FAQ   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Share on Facebook
Chris TaylorTaking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 4, 2009 at 6:02:18 pm

Hey guys,

I’m the director of photography on a feature shooting next year and wanted to get some pointers and maybe some experience on working partially for points after the film’s release. The producer/director and I have a pretty good relationship so I’m willing to do this on a contingent basis, but it’ll be the first film I’m working on with a potential market.

I’m setting my rate on a daily basis, 2/3rds of which will be deferred. I’m looking for a good starting point to negotiate my points on the back end. First off, I think he’s willing to give me a gross percentage rather than net, since I’m essentially helping produce this film in terms of in-kind equipment rentals. I guess it depends on how you look at it. We already have at least one theater that will screen it. But I’m wondering what kind of pay schedule I should ask for and how those gross earnings during screening should be accounted for (if that’s even possible).

If distribution ever takes place, how are those earnings reported? I’d imagine he’d go for a more upfront/less points deal with any sales rep he’d collaborate with, but I just don’t have any experience with the process of checking the books as a “producer” to see how percentages are continually paid out.

I might be leaving a few things out, so I’ll answer any questions if you got em.

Thank you ma friends

Chris


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Todd TerryRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 4, 2009 at 6:28:44 pm

Not to be the voice of doom, or a glass-is-half-empty kind of guy...

But...

Through the years I've knows a few dozen people who worked either as crew, post-production staff, or actors in exactly the same set-up.

Some have even made pretty darn decent and potentially marketable films. Some were bad, but some were quite quite good.

I'm unaware of any of them that ever saw as much as one dime from their "points deal."

I'd say, if you wanna make the movie, make it... if it is something that you want to do, if it is a subject or theme that is close to your heart, if it seems fun, or if you want to build your reel. Don't make it though in expectation of a future payday down the road. I have rarely seen those happen.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Arnie SchlisselRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 4, 2009 at 7:16:02 pm

To quote Billy Preston: "Nothing from nothing leaves nothing."

I'm sure that you already know that most films, not just indies, make no money in theaters. Indies usually make no money at all.

Given that, it's not surprising that the producers are being so generous with money that, odds are, nobody will ever see.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  


Aaron NeitzRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 4, 2009 at 8:05:59 pm

Have to agree here.

I have points on a film. It didn't do too bad for itself. I haven't made a single dime. No one has.

Once an indie film goes into distribution, even with contracts and lawyers crawling all over the place, don't expect anything. It's a corrupt world. Heck, even Peter Jackson had to sue because his distribution was being sneaky with the $$.



Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Chris TaylorRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 4, 2009 at 10:06:55 pm

Wait, so you're saying as a producer I shouldn't even bother with a contingency plan? Because I shouldn't expect anything on the back end, I shouldn't bother with contracts?

I wish I could use that same theory with my car insurance. I wonder if they'll give me a break on my premium if I tell them I'll probably never have an accident.

Thanks for the advice.

- Chris



Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Mark SuszkoRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 4, 2009 at 10:10:03 pm

Hollywood accounting is infamous, Gone With the Wind and Wizard of OZ Supposedly "only" broke into the black for their points some time around 1997 or so.

It is tempting to think of points as some kind of lotto ticket. The smartest guy in terms of making money was George Lucas for taking all the merchandizing licensing rights to Star Wars (toys and etc) while Fox didn't know what it really had. Now if you could only work out a McDonald's happy meal toy from your movie...


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  


nick hassonRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 4, 2009 at 10:25:07 pm

I edit a film a few years ago that I did on deferment. I sweated blood for 5 months for no pay. I liked the movie and thought it was going to be an easy sell. Well, the director sold it in intl. markets and made some good money. When All was said and done, the books were cooked so bad, the film looked like it made nothing. So, I sued because in my contract I stated that I was to be paid upon selling of the film, NOT once they made money. They should not have sold it without paying me. I was entitled to 25,000 bucks as stated in my contract. I landed up suing the director. And I got paid my 25,000. But by the time I paid my lawyer and taxes, I walked away with 1100 bucks.


Just know going into it, that you will never get paid. And if you do, then its a bonus.

Nick Hasson
http://www.niceedits.com


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Steve WargoRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 5, 2009 at 6:32:56 am

[nick hasson] "I walked away with 1100 bucks."


Wow! Someone that actually made $1,100.

I have done several of these and the check you get up front might be the only check you'll ever see. Find the crookedest lawyer you can and have them write your contract.

Nick did the smart thing. On one project I worked on in he early years, the director changed the name of the film and all contracts were rendered void. There's a thousand ways to skin a cat and a thousand more ways to skin you. Be careful.

Sam Rami did the same to his college buddies but he is an honest guy and the loyal guys made it big and they're still with him. That's what I would do and I can't be the only guy who's honest.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Aaron NeitzRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 4, 2009 at 11:09:45 pm

[Chris Taylor] "Wait, so you're saying as a producer I shouldn't even bother with a contingency plan? Because I shouldn't expect anything on the back end, I shouldn't bother with contracts?"

Not at all! You should have a contract! Sorry for the cynicism (I think the whole little thread has been hijacked by it)

I'm not an entertainment lawyer, but Points are typically percentages of NET profit of the film AFTER every single middle-man has recouped their "costs." And they LOVE to cook those books.... Sure you might get a quarterly earnings report, but it'll probably always suspiciously come out to zero. But unless you have the $$ to get a lawyer and accountant involved so you can get into their books - there's not much hope. Just like Nick mentioned - his $25K ended up being $1000 after legal fees.

So in my jaded opinion, work out a contract in which you have whatever Points you feel is fair, but try and get a % of ANY money paid for the film right up front - paid directly you from the LLC who owns the rights to the film. So if the LLC has a theater screen the movie, the theater agrees to pay 50% of the ticket sales after their baseline costs, you should ask for a % of that paid immediately. Or if they sell international screening rights for X amount, get a percentage of that. Which sounds a little what your director mentioned "gross profits."

Cash in hand is better than Points in the bush :)




Return to posts index
Reply   Like  


Chris TaylorRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 4, 2009 at 11:47:02 pm

If POINTS are defined as the net percentage, then I used the term incorrectly… but I’ve heard the term GROSS POINTS used before so I figured it could mean one or the other.

But Nick’s situation, although a very stale one, shows that there’s potential there. Even if I don’t pull more than a few dollars from any sales, it will still be a win in my eyes. I’ve dealt with shady people in the past, even with people who I wouldn’t dream of having contractual problems with, but in the rare case that this director who I have a good relationship with stiffs me, he risks losing just as much as I did. I have a pretty well developed network out here and I’m bringing a lot of people into this project who respect me and routinely work with me because they appreciate my ethic, even though they aren’t paid. The director is from this area and lives just a few miles from me. Because of that, I highly doubt he’d do anything to sacrifice his reputation. Worst case scenario… short of a giant lighting fixture falling on my head, I still have my name attached to the project, an addition to my reel, a couple thousand $$ for my equipment rentals and the experience of my first feature under my belt.

Chris




Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Christopher WrightRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 5, 2009 at 6:21:25 pm

I'd say, if you wanna make the movie, make it... if it is something that you want to do, if it is a subject or theme that is close to your heart, if it seems fun, or if you want to build your reel. Don't make it though in expectation of a future payday down the road. I have rarely seen those happen.

Very sage advise.
I have been through this process with film projects many times, either on the D.P. end, editing end, or as a full on production resource. One "director friend who only lives a few miles from me" totally hosed a good project and even tried to stop the film from being shown at film festivals and to distributors. You never really know who your real friends or enemies are until you try to make a feature film with them, and there is money involved. As has been mentioned by many here, even if your film gets good reviews and is played at a major film festival, rarely does anyone make a dime on their effort, especially their "first feature under their belt." Making a film takes a lot of hard work and effort, and dedication from all participants in the project especially if no one is getting paid for it. And as one producer once told attendees at a seminar on filmmaking at our local film festival, "Making a film is easy, it's getting someone to actually see it that is hard (besides your actors, crew, and relatives)." The best advice I can give you is to get the best contract written up, signed and in place before a single person sets foot on set and the camera starts rolling. You will regret it down the line if you don't.

Dual 2.5 G5, IO, Kona LH, IO, Medea Raid, UL4D, NVidia 6800, 4Gig RAM
Nehalem Octocore 12 GB Ram, Nvidia card, MBP, MXO, MXO2 mini, Windows Vista Adobe Studio CS4, Vegas 9.0, Lightwave 9.6, Sound Forge 9, Acid Pro 7, Continuum 6, Boris Red 4, Combustion 2008, Sapphire Effects


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Mike SmithRe: Taking points on a film's earnings...advice needed
by on Nov 5, 2009 at 11:01:09 am

1 Lovely scene in Shakespeare in Love on this theme

2 The producer will be very unlikely to get any distribution deal with gross points for herself / himself ; hard then to pass on to you. What distribution is in place?

3 Get a fee collection agency in place to monitor the exhibitor / distributor accounts, if you think it's worth it.

http://www.blakewang.com/distribution_lawyer.htm
http://www.skillset.org/film/knowledge/article_5103_1.asp


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Share on Facebook


FORUMSTUTORIALSFEATURESVIDEOSPODCASTSEVENTSSERVICESNEWSLETTERNEWSBLOGS

Creative COW LinkedIn Group Creative COW Facebook Page Creative COW on Twitter
© 2014 CreativeCOW.net All rights are reserved. - Privacy Policy

[Top]