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Taking Care of Business
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 02:30 PM   #1
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Working on a TV Pilot

I have recently agreed to help a guy I know with a project for a TV Pilot. He wants me mainly for special effects/ 3d animation.

He was asking what type of pay would make me happy with the understanding that he has little too no budget upfront and would only get a significant amount if the show is picked up. What I was plaing to propose to him since I beleave the project will be fun and I should learn alot on it that if the show is picked up I should get $50 and hour for my time plus a guaranteed job on the show. If it doesn't I'll just take minimum wage for my time so I get something out of it.

Would you think this is fair? I proubly will be putting 100-120 hours into the project over the next 6 mounths.
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 02:36 PM   #2
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I would do a flat fee instead of hourly - when you get into that and the show doesn't even exist...well, it gets ugly.

Also, make it clear to him that you're interested in a job if the show is picked up...and want that in writing. Get everything in writing of course!

When something is in development - usually, there isn't any contract for someone working on graphics etc. The producers are trying to line-up funding or get the show picked up. Any monies generated are going to them first and they'll let you in on it next....however, up front work should be paid and it sounds like a flat fee is best. I'd charge $5000 or thereabouts based on what you said time-wise. If he freaks on that - then maybe you should spend the 100+ hours working on a show yourself?

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Old February 2nd, 2004, 03:08 PM   #3
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well what he offerd up front was nothing till the show gets picked up then 10k afterwards. I don't like this at all because I only get money under the slim chance the show gets picked up. And if it gets picked up I got no guarntee of a job after that.

so would saying I would take a grand for the work and if the show is picked up I get the remainer of the 5000 plus a job?
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 04:23 PM   #4
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Promises aren't worth much. Go for the deal that ensures that you get cash in your hand as quickly as possible. If you do a good job, then your friend will want to hire you back anyway IF the pilot is picked up. The odds are against any pilot being picked up so I wouldn't go for promises.
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 05:20 PM   #5
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thier would be a written contract involve with all the above stated in it of cource.
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 05:33 PM   #6
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Yeah, just go for the immediate cash. It sucks, but the fact is that the odds of this show getting picked up are slim...just like Keith said. (However, keep everything you do for your reel...and it's definately still good on the resume')

If he argues about getting paid up front - he's not being truthful about the odds of getting paid himself. If he's smart - he already has money coming in for the pilot. If not, he's using his own money...and everyone knows what happens then. He's emotionally involved money-wise beyond all reason.

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Old February 3rd, 2004, 10:24 PM   #7
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Risk vs. Reward
that is the bottom line. is this a pilot that has a air date ? does this persons have "connections" ? or is this a dream ?

IMO if your normal rate is 50 per hour and they offer nothing up front then the backend should be 2-3 X your normal pay!. the risk is ? 70- 99% (depending on their connections) it will not be picked up. if they have no money then you are sitting in the 99.9% area it will not be picked up. so if you going to get NOTHING i say get alot of nothing !!

if this is a "real " pilot they have $$ to pay you something - IMO min 50-75% of your rate and they are getting a DEAL.
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Old February 4th, 2004, 10:18 PM   #8
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Hi Jon,

First of all, if this is a friend, I mean a true friend and not just an acquaintance, then I would just do it as a favor, not expecting anything in return. If this person is worth his/her salt, you will get what 's coming to you in due course. Karma is a wonderful thing when it is GOOD Karma!

However, be careful. The most efficient relationship buster in the world is doing business with friends or family.

If you are going into this as a business deal, I would get everything you both agree to, IN WRITING! This includes any promise of future compensation, and/or employment.

One of the traps that I quickly learned to avoid when I was free-lancing in the film industry was the: "Give us a break on your rate for this job. We have a bunch of commercials coming to Miami and we'll make up for it on those" pitch.

Well, after being bitten a couple of times, my standard response was, "Give me my rate on this job, and I'll be happy to cut you a deal on any future jobs when you return".

Needless to say, if you go with option #1, they get a deal on your services and you never hear from them again. If you go with option #2, they either don't hire you or they pay your rate, and, you never hear from them again!

Never base your decisions on whether this person has or doesn't have connections. The bottom line is...business is business. They are out to get the best possible people, and the best possible product, for the least amount of money possible. Like Don said, if this is a real, (backed and funded), project, then there is money, although it may not be much, available for all necessary services to complete said project. If this "pilot" is a personal project done on spec, with hopes of selling it down the line, then we are dealing with a completely different animal.

Sometimes the experience of doing the work and adding one more line to your resume is worth more than all of the potential headaches associated with doing business with friends.

RB
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