emails initiating work with all contractors
1. BCCed to members of DOG mailing list,
Michael (Melonie) Callaghan
Maho Mizutani Sone
2. From: Dan Kelly <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: March 21, 2006 10:27:30 AM EST
To: Dan Kelly <email@example.com>
Cc: Dan Kelly <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: contracts and profit sharing for upcoming project
I am wearing my Artist house, Inc. corporate hat today. This is my first broadcast to the entire ensemble for Daughter of God. First of all, welcome to our first international production!
I plan on having independent contractor agreements ready before April 1, thanks for your patience. You’ll all have at least one week to review and comment before the sign date, April 7. We then will leave for Canada on April 10 for 10 days.
I have been considering the terms for the contracts. As you may know, on movie projects there are two significant ways to compensate the participants- 1) pay everyone for the actual time they work and 2) pay them based on how much money the project makes in the market – profit sharing. Partial ownership of a project through profit sharing can be very motivating during production and may provide ongoing income afterwards. In principle, I don’t have a problem with this idea. The real life application to “Daughter of God” however is complicated. Aside from the legal research required (which takes time away from general pre-production) I don’t really think this makes sense. I’ll explain why, but first let’s assume that the final product is amazing – the performance’s are fantastic and the production is masterful. Here we go…
I am excited to bring “Daughter of God” to the entire universe via festivals and creative distribution. I am not sure how much distribution will happen through sales. The length of the finished project is projected to be about 10-15 minutes long. There is a market for selling short format movies, but it isn’t huge. The revenue stream may be pretty trivial or even non-existent.
Artist house, Inc. is funding this project and has first dibs on any revenue. Profits would have to exceed total expenditures before any profit sharing would kick in. The projected budget for this project is significant. I’d be thrilled (shocked) to break even on my first marketable project.
The director (me) was lucky to get some pretty amazing people involved. The only hitch is that some of our actors are not legal to work in the USA. When the project goes into wide distribution it’s likely that some close minded folks might be upset by the slightly controversial subject matter. The last thing we need is to be legally vulnerable – for instance drawing the attention of immigration and homeland security. That could ruin not only potential profitability, but even prevent participation in film festivals. That’s primarily why special arrangements have been made to shoot the project outside of the USA. These special arrangements have increased the budget – travel, lodging, location, etc. Again, profits have to exceed expenditures.
Finally, entertainment lawyers make a heap of money working up profit sharing agreements. These agreements spell out who actually owns the project, who has title to it, what counts as shared revenue etc. If the title is unclear or disputed, say goodbye to distribution. Again as this is my first foray into the business of movies, my preference is for keeping the situation dirt simple – Artist house, Inc. as the sole owner of all rights, period.
Keeping all this in mind, I think the idea of profit sharing is good in principle. As the chief executive officer of Artist house, here is my offer for all participants in the project – be you cast, crew or support. If we pull off a miracle in Canada I will authorize a profit sharing effort, which basically means hiring legal resources to create profit sharing agreements for everyone involved. The following caveats apply!
1) The decision to profit share will be totally at my discretion. The final arbiter of miracles is the post production process. If the performances are strong and things flow smoothly during the edit, we are golden.
2) Everyone involved from in all phases of production will share equally in the hypothetical profits. With lots of participants, percentages will likely be modest – less than 3%.
3) Artist house, Inc. will need to recover all of it’s investment before profit sharing will kick in. That includes every possible bean you can imagine – labor, equipment, marketing, legal expenses, etc. The specific break even point would be listed as part of any agreement.
So that’s the profit sharing issue in a nutshell. The rest of the terms for the contractor agreements are listed below. If anyone has any problems with anything in this document, you must contact me immediately!
1) 10 full days of shooting on location (Canada) 8-10 hours
2) contractors get no additional profits from the sale of the movie and have no further expectation of payment after production is complete
3) work for hire, contractor releases all rights for any and every purpose, throughout the universe in perpetuity, including marketing and merchandising
4) please be healthy and well rested upon departure for canada on April 10
5) Actor’s rate on location is $150 US/day. Everyone else’s rate is $100US/day. Food and lodging will be provided.
Questions? Call or email.
Artist house, Inc.
3. From: email@example.com
Subject: Re: contracts and profit sharing for upcoming project
Date: March 22, 2006 2:44:49 AM EST
i understood fully. 🙂
4. From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: contracts and profit sharing for upcoming project
Date: March 27, 2006 5:37:47 AM EST
Is fine. Hear ya. Kiss
5. From: email@example.com
Date: March 31, 2006 12:35:08 PM EST
I need to check on the passport, but I think I can work this out to come alone. I need more details like method of travel, where and what it is, am I qualified? I actually can probably do this. Call me.
6. From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: monolog
Date: March 29, 2006 11:20:51 PM EST
hey dan, lost my phone. i`ll come by in the morning
k. what`s your num?
7. From: email@example.com
Subject: Re: help?
Date: March 30, 2006 6:25:48 AM EST
I really want to help. Yesterday Ada was weaned so I’m
free from that demand. I will work today on trying to
set up child care. Are the dates definite?
8. From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: hi
Date: April 5, 2006 4:25:31 PM EDT
Here attached is the invoice for the check you gave me. Sorry I forgot about it.