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Topic: OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

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  1. #1

    Question OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

    Hi all,
    Well the referal game has started. I did the music for a short (freebe) and that person has refered me to someone else. This new person's company makes extremely low budget slasher films and has some distribution (Borders, Best Buy, Blockbuster...etc). The budjets are so tiny that this is a copy/credit only job. My question is how or should I ask about residual payment on sold product through their distribution and if so what is the proper percentage or amount?

    This is that weird area where the jobs start coming in and at some point you have to say show me the money. The flip side is I don't have many film scoring credits and I could use more.

    Thanks in advance,
    Chris

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Boise, Idaho, U.S.A.
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    Re: OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

    How low budget are we talking here? I have done some SUPER low budget stuff but still have been paid for them (even though it was practically nothing). I usually just go by 2.5% of the budget, and if that amount is too low I just license the score to them. Food for thought. Bottom line is I would never do a project for copy/credit. Ask for a percentage of the rentals or something.

    James W.G. Smith

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

    My advice is the same as Sharmy's below, except:

    If it doesn't match at least 2 of those criteria.. I'd walk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharmy
    I find tracking someones sales as something I would rather not do, unless you have someone to monitor it for you or you like that kind of thing then i would decide on other factors.

    1. Will this possibly lead to better work (better connections...director on the way up...etc)
    2. Is it fun
    3. Will you learn a lot from the experience
    4. Is the money worth the effort

    If it does not match any of this critera...walk
    If it does match any of the critera then go with your gut.

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

    Thanks for the replys. When I say low budget it is about $2000. That really doesn't leave much in the way of anything for the music. This is why I was thinking of the licensing deal. How much would be normal per unit sold? So far it fits three of the four criteria as there is no money yet. Actually, #1 is probably the bigger one here as so far this was from a referal from my first job (which has no distibution like this). It a way it is a step in the right direction.
    Chris

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

    Quote Originally Posted by chriscaouette
    Thanks for the replys. When I say low budget it is about $2000. That really doesn't leave much in the way of anything for the music. This is why I was thinking of the licensing deal. How much would be normal per unit sold? So far it fits three of the four criteria as there is no money yet. Actually, #1 is probably the bigger one here as so far this was from a referal from my first job (which has no distibution like this). It a way it is a step in the right direction.
    Chris
    how certain is the chance of distribution? Even if the budget is small up front, the producer probably has some idea what they will bring in once it's distributed. rather than try to get a percentage of the sales, i would ask for a lump sum that is triggered when they get distribution, and possibly bonus sums triggered if their revenue passes certain milestones.

    and whatever you do, don't give up the publishing/do a "work for hire" unless you are well paid for it!

    getting experience is a must, but don't sell yourself short. it sounds like they are doing this to make money, so you should insist on being paid something, even if it seems trivially small.

    congrats!
    John DeBorde

    Composer of Music for Film, TV and Interactive Media

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

    Business answer:

    If you work for no money, you will get referrals as a person who will work for no money.

    So, as a principal (composer) on a project, either a) get paid up front sufficient to compensate your time and contribution, b) get guaranteed back-end based upon the gross sales, or c) walk.

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

    Alrighty. I have enough to go with now so thank you all for the input. Ah the joys of the heavey competition.
    Chris

  8. #8
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    Re: OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    Business answer:

    If you work for no money, you will get referrals as a person who will work for no money.

    So, as a principal (composer) on a project, either a) get paid up front sufficient to compensate your time and contribution, b) get guaranteed back-end based upon the gross sales, or c) walk.

    I could not agree more. The production was made with $2000, with intent to make further $. Either the 2000 was spread over several contributors or the producers took a do-it-yourself approach. In either case, one should not expect the music, an integral part of the success of such visual media, to be generated for nothing.

  9. #9

    Re: OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

    Hello Chris,

    I think you're better off passing on this one. A slasher film made for under $2000 is definitely not something that you want to be associated with. It could hurt your carreer more than help it. As a matter of fact, I think you should be upsaet at your friend for referring you to these guys. And as far as the deferred payment goes, the chance of you ever seeing any money from this is so slim that you might as well play the lottery instead!

    If you need credits, find some talented student directors which have projects with more credibility and that will ultimately help your carreer more.
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  10. #10

    Re: OT: Help! What do I do? (Business question)

    Quote Originally Posted by midphase
    Hello Chris,

    I think you're better off passing on this one. A slasher film made for under $2000 is definitely not something that you want to be associated with. It could hurt your carreer more than help it.
    I think thats the best advice yet. Thanks Kays. I was already on the edge of respectfully declining.
    Chris

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