Monday, June 1, 2009

To Partner or Not to Partner, That Is the Question

There have been a number of people asking me recently if I think it's worth partnering with someone on producing a film. My feelings are pretty straightforward on this topic. I partner if the partnership helps me get a film made or it furthers my career to do so.

I have partnered on many projects, both in film and publishing. And I have a lot of opinions about partnering. They can be exciting and fun and inspirational, yet emotional, draining, and exhausting at the same time. 

Partnering often has me in a state of feeling bipolar. Some days are amazing. Others are completely frustrating. It's like when you're playing as kid and your best friend steals your toy. One minute you're excited and having fun with your friend; the next you want to knock her block off. 

I think the key to a strong partnership is really knowing and respecting your partner. But sometimes we don't have the time to get to know someone well as we are trying to put our team together on a film. What then?
  • Trust your instincts. If your gut tells you this person spells trouble, well then I can almost guarantee, he or she will bring you a ton of sleepless nights. If you are okay with not sleeping then that is your choice.
  • Get references. Ask if you can speak to others who have worked with him or her. Or do some digging on your own and get the scoop.
  • If it's too good to be true then it probably is. I have had many experiences of people trying to sell me the moon but until the moon is on my doorstep, I don't believe them.
  • Make sure you click creatively, unless you don't care about being creatively involved. 
  • Establish specific tasks and what is expected of one another early on. 
  • Agree on titles and deal points for each producer as soon as you know you want to partner. 
  • Get Producer Agreements signed as soon as they are created. Don't let them sit and remain unsigned for lengthy periods. The more time goes by; the less inclined people are to sign. And then you end up spending countless, unnecessary time trying to get the agreements executed when you really should be working on finishing your film.
It may not sound like it but I am a fan of partnering. But I have two wonderful business partners in my company. And I count my blessings every day that I have them.

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