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.
This is just a quick note to say that I strongly recommend checking out the Negotiations Special episode (#327) of The Writers Panel podcast, for anyone interested in what’s going on with the current negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP (and really, that should probably be everyone that reads this blog).
Ben Blacker talks with former WGA President Chris Keyser, as well as other guild members about what’s going on with the negotiations and the call for a strike authorization vote. It’s incredibly informative, and clearly addresses a lot of the questions and uncertainty that writers have over the upcoming vote.
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.
In my earlier post about script sale breakdowns, I promised a more in-depth look at options. This is that post!
The previous post about script sale breakdowns was a little bleak, so let’s talk about a more positive topic today… all the things you can do with your writing once you’ve created something! This post will only provide an overview, because it’s a very large topic.
Screenwriting, in a lot of ways, is a fairly unique profession. Unlike a more traditional job at an office, or a retail store, or a school, a screenwriter’s job has a workflow that can vary greatly, unpredictable payment schedules, and a lot of effort put into a lot of opportunities that don’t go anywhere. And, on top of all that, there’s no clear professional ladder to climb; high-level success requires intangible components like luck and good timing in addition to perseverance, hard work, and quality output.
One way in which screenwriting isn’t so different from other professions is that salary history comes into play when it comes to the money you earn.
In a previous post, I wrote about the Writers Guild of America labor union, which most professional screenwriters end up joining sooner or later when they do enough work on guild-signatory projects. But what about all the writers that work on non-guild projects and don’t have the protections of the WGA in place?
At the very beginning of most entertainment contracts, there’s an important section called the conditions precedent. It tends to get overlooked because there are way more interesting sections like the compensation, credit, and perks like premiere tickets, but the conditions precedent is a critical area that shouldn’t be ignored.
In order to have any kind of proper conversation about business matters, we first have to understand how negotiations work. And in order to have any kind of proper conversation about how negotiations work, we first have to understand the power dynamics at play.