Profit participation

Profit participation is a very complex topic that is the subject of a great many accounting disputes, legal claims, and general ill-will between companies and the people to whom they’re supposed to be paying participations.

This post is an attempt to give as simple a picture as possible. Even so, this is your fair warning that this is going to be a very long post, and I will be generalizing or simplifying a lot of really complex concepts for the sake of providing a clearer, broader overview.

Also, please keep my disclaimer in mind. I am by no means an undisputed authority on this topic and in trying to distill a complex process down, there will likely be some details that you’ll want to consult an attorney and/or accountant about before diving into profit participation on your own deals.

For everyone else, I hope this overview helps to demystify this complicated concept a bit.

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Hyphenates

An individual who serves in more than one professional capacity is informally called a “hyphenate.” Some people, for example, are writer/directors, writer/producers, actor/producers, author/entrepreneurs, etc.

Let’s take a look at what it means to be a hyphenate, and the pros and cons of calling yourself one.

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Attachments

In the entertainment industry, there’s a lot of talk about project attachments. So-and-so is attached to direct. Attached to star. Attached to produce. Attached to finance, distribute, represent as a sales agent, etc.

This post is a look at what those attachments are and what they mean for your project.

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Sterile scripts

I’ve already talked about options and script sales, and those of you who have read those posts might have noticed several mentions of the fact that production companies don’t always end up buying the scripts they option or work on. It’s actually a common occurrence for a company to option a script, pay to have some writing done, and then ultimately decide not to buy it for any of a variety of reasons. That situation naturally raises the following question:

What happens to those drafts written while the work was under option?

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