FRIENDLY FEEDBACK: The Distribution of Wealth

Posted: February 15, 2010 in Tilt
Tags: , , ,

One of our goals with Tilt is to include the audience every step of the way. While we (Phil, Jeremy, Julie & I) are all passionate about filmmaking and storytelling, we aren’t experts on everything that’s involved with making, marketing, or distributing a feature film. In fact, it’s incredibly daunting for all of us. Therefore, we want to tap into our biggest resource: YOU.

Why are you a resource? For many reasons. You might have more experience than us. You may have more expertise. Maybe you’ve already made a feature film (or know someone who has). Or you might simply have a different perspective. Whether you fit one or all of those categories, we’d love to hear what you have to say. So – up for giving us a little Friendly Feedback?

TODAY’S TOPIC: The Distribution of Wealth

Now – first we want to acknowledge that broaching this subject is incredibly presumptuous. We haven’t even finished the script, and we’re already thinking about what happens if we make money. Who do we think we are? Well, for one, we’re people who, despite not having experience making a feature, have life experience that has taught us to be very cautious when embarking on financial endeavors with others.

Going into this, we all understand fully that we may make no money or (please, no!) even lose money. However, from our experience (from Julie’s as a business owner and ours together as filmmakers), we know, beyond a doubt, that this is an issue that needs to be discussed openly and honestly up front. Otherwise, problems could develop later due to unrealistic expectations and assumptions.

Here’s what we’ve agreed on so far:

  • All money raised to make TILT will be used to make this the best movie possible. What does this mean? We will not pay ourselves unless we turn a profit.
  • If people (us, friends, family, members, guardian angels, fairy godmothers, etc.) invest in our movie (outside of Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or other crowdfunding platforms) AND if TILT turns a profit, then those investors will be reimbursed before we divvy up the rest.

So, today’s question is: If TILT turns a profit, how should be split it up?

After examining Hollywood film budgets, it looks as though they usually allot money to people based on their specific roles: the producer and director get the most, followed by the screenwriter, followed by the cinematographer.

However, some of the circumstances of our arrangement make following this model difficult:

  • We are all wearing several different hats. Phil is directing and producing. I am writing and producing. We’re exploring the possibility of sharing editing duties. We’re all contributing to the planning and promotion of the film. The tasks that we all complete are not cut and dry.
  • Julie and I are writing the screenplay together. Does this mean we should we be treated as a unit or as individuals?

Additional questions:

  • Also, we’ll need to set aside money to pay other contributors. Should we pay them up front or give them a share of things later? How much should we set aside for them?
  • Since none of us has marketing, publicity, or distribution experience, should we hire a strategist or consultant right now? Is it too early? And will it really help us make more money in the long run?
  • Are we wack-a-doo to fork over money for a consultant for a movie that hasn’t even been written yet, let alone filmed or edited?
  • Should we plan to set aside money to pay sound designers? Or actors?
  • Most importantly: What questions aren’t we asking that we should be?

Thank you in advance for your insights and ideas on today’s topic. If you don’t know the answers, feel free to bring someone else into the discussion. The more, the merrier.

Posted by Jessica

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