Contracts, oof.

By and large our contracts are divided up into two different kinds. One is the

  1. contract for the writer of a motion-picture. The language in this contract is a bit different from
  2. the other kind of contract for what we call artists. Artists can include actors, cg artists, DP's, designers, etc.

There are also a third category of contract which are simple "releases". These are used for those poor folk who don't even get a percentage of the back-end of a motion picture. That will frequently include zombies and children.

And also there may be agreements between different LLC's regarding the financing and such of a motion picture.

The artist and writers agreements all pay out a percentage of all receipts above what used to be called "Drew's Arbitrary Number" or "DAN". Nowdays we just call that $50,000. In other words, if you have 1% of the movie's receipts, you get 1% of all money above $50,000.

Note that we've never made $50,000 on a picture so we've never paid out. Which is too bad, but we're trying.

The standard writers agreement(external link). I sort of assume that a writer is like an "early investor". So I figure they should make 10%. On a bigger-budget picture I figure the writer makes about 4% of the total budget. That's four-thousand dollars on a hundred-thousand-dollar movie, or forty-thousand on a million dollar movie. On our movies the writer isn't paid up front. Wish they were, but they ain't.

It is absolutely critical that contracts all get signed by everyone who has a credit on the picture. I cannot over-stress that. The reason is that the buyers will demand that every "i" be dotted and ever "t" be crossed when they are taking delivery of the picture. You absolutely need to be able to show the chain of title and provenance and anything else which is potentially copyrightable or of a person who has some sort of copyrights to any portion of the picture, including images of themselves or images and sounds which they created.