Sunday, May 2, 2010

Negotiating Is a Producer's Life

Negotiating is probably the number one task that I do as a producer. Day in, day out, I am negotiating talent and crew deals, investor and operating agreements, union contracts, and vendor costs.

Each production poses a new set of terms for every aspect of a person or company's involvement. No two projects are exactly the same.

So consider that I have about 10 projects going at one time. This means I am negotiating x 10 every day.

The good thing is that it gets easier after a while. You create relationships with crew and vendors and investors, who are already familiar with the kind of deals you like to make. So there is a short cut the next time you negotiate.

However, there are those projects that have you feeling like you are starting from scratch. You need a new investor. You are filming in a new location. You are working with new cast and crew. And the process starts all over again.

But this time you're smarter, savvier, and, most important, you have experience. With that past experience, you know the tools upon which you need to lean to get that new investor and find the perfect location, cast, and crew. You also have connections to colleagues who can provide ideas and short cuts to make life easier on your new production.

You know what works thus your negotiations can be focused.

From experience, you will also have greater confidence. And confidence is a key ingredient to great negotiating. You are confident that the deals you are negotiating are strong and allowing you to make the most cost effective and creative production.

Negotiating can be intimidating at first. And in our world of indie filmmaking, it can often feel like begging. But remember, a film is a business. And negotiating is an art form. Believe in your product and your work and over time you will become a master negotiator and hopefully be fulfilling your dream of becoming an award-winning filmmaker.

1 comment:

Jentri said...

Thanks for the continued insight into the biz, Jane. :)