Monday, March 11, 2013

Its A New Week, Some Lessons in Show Business

I've working a lot, out of town traveling. This week I'm finally finishing up a new lens review, I'll be taking a look at some recent computer upgrades, and who knows what else. That said, it all takes money. That means as much as it is fun to make moving images, you have to TCB too. In this video, a well know director with major hollywood credits talks about swimming with the sharks. Dealing with the leaches of this business and the unskilled opportunists looking for a check. Big egos are also in the mix.

I've dealt with them too and its never pleasant. Perhaps the most important thing is to realize who you are dealing with quickly. Once you know they are cheats, you can decide to deal with them or not, or deal very very carefully with them. Most of that means getting paid up front rather than doing the work. Then waiting hoping to get paid. Then hoping you can find an address to serve them papers when you finally have to sue them if it gets to that. I've been there a few times. I've paid out crew and rentals on large jobs, then waited months to get paid. Well at least I did. Now I'm wiser ( I hope ) and when dealing with questionable types ask for deposits up front with progress payments first before anything gets done. Having a good contract helps too. However, its probably best to let the bad players go.... unless your only choice is to deal with them to get the project you want to do. When they are a gatekeeper its always a tricky game to play and really who needs it. 

The flipside is I've had lots of great clients over the years too. Handshake deals, checks on time, problems were small and always worked out with honest direct conversation. Thats always best way of doing things and maybe why hollywood isn't the place you want to be. Given that there are so many ways of getting distribution now, your need to deal with hollywood is smaller. No you might not make $100M with your film, but you might make $1M or even $100K and walk away happy to do another.