Monday, April 20, 2009
This is a good meeting
You don't even want to know what a bad meeting looks like.
There's something that's been bugging me. It bugs just about every creative at some point but I don't know exactly how bad things are in different countries. But here, if you want to get anything off the ground, be it a show, film, whatever, you will be expected to sign away all rights to a producer. All rights, according to contracts, across the entire universe and for all forms 'yet to be invented'.
You will likely get paid cack all for that. Like, taking feature films as an example, a feature writer or director or writer/director simply could not live on the amount of money they would make. It can't happen. The only reason to make a film is the challenge or for it to be a labour of love. And that's why there are so many first-time directors. Almost nobody can actually make a career out of it. Those who do have to move to Hollywood and get a gig remaking a film that shouldn't ever be touched.
And yet a producer can buy the rights to an entire film and all of its exploitation for pretty much nothing. I was offered an option agreement recently for five hundred Euros. Five hundred. Oh, and another five hundred if it got into production.
That is not all that unusual. At least, over here.
But you have to consider the old Golden Rule cliche - those with the gold make the rules. But here's the hilarious thing. Producers over this end of the world (it's different in the US) raise most of their finance by filling in forms to access public money. They aren't bringing their own gold. The only difference between them and anyone else is simply that their name is at the end of an application. They aren't bringing their own money to the table.
So the natural thought process is, shouldn't the director or writer access those funds themselves? Well, yes. BUT... there are two considerations here. Firstly, being a creative and being a producer are two very different things. Producers do actually do a hell of a lot. It would be wrong to think they don't. Do they do enough to warrant total ownership of a project? No. Not even bloody close. But they do enough that can often be incompatible with the goals of directing, creating, to make it really difficult to do both jobs well.
There are reasons they are two separate jobs, as I found when I produced one of my own short films many years ago.
But the second consideration is something I don't quite get exactly. On just about all public funds and applications over this end of the world, it is stipulated in the conditions that the director/creative and producer must NOT be the same person. Because they are two different jobs like I said? I don't know the reason. But as all applications must go through the producer, it puts all of the power into their hands.
Because they are capable of filling out forms.
Or hiring a solicitor to fill those forms for them.
Creatives are being complete and utterly shafted. There is something really wrong with this system. It's not working. It's just not working. And I'm thinking, there must be an easy way around the system. In fact, there are easy ways around the system, technically, but because this way of doing things is so ingrained over here it is just accepted that this is the way things are done.
And that's bullshit.