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Should I Register or Copyright My Project?

A reader, ELLISSA, recently asked a few questions (in the Comments section of this post: How Do I Pitch A TV Show?).  Ellissa’s questions were interesting enough, that I thought I’d give fairly detailed answers, so here goes:

Ellissa commented:
Would a producer with a pitch idea, ever pitch a show to a network/studio without copyrighting it or registering it first? If the producer had a deal with the network/studio, like a first look /development deal, would they pitch it without registering it? Would a network ever go to pilot without having the producer/creator/writer of the show register or copyright a script or treatment? Would network/studio want validation of ownership before it shot a pilot or went into series production? Thanks for any info on these questions.

Hey Ellissa —
Let’s start with the first question: “Would a producer with a pitch idea, ever pitch a show to a network/studio without copyrighting it or registering it first?”  I used to register everything I did with the WGA (Writers Guild of America), which you can do for $20 per project ($10 if you’re a member), see here for details.  As for copyrighting your project?  It’s done but I never have.  As far as WGA registration, it got to be expensive, and honestly, I stopped many years ago, as I found that it was not an efficient business model.  For me, it boiled down to this:  Can you get ripped off by someone/some company/some network?  Absolutely.  WILL you get ripped off by one of them?  Not very likely.  Most legitimate, reputable people and companies will not do so, as it is a bad business model for them.  They don’t want to get sued, and in reality, they don’t want to have a reputation of stealing from others.  This entire business is built on relationships, and not many  people/companies want to ruin that by stealing something from someone.  Can or will it happen?  No doubt.  But the percentage of that is very very low.  And no major company will do so knowingly, although it’s not impossible.

Also, keep in mind that while you are developing a project to the point of pitching it, there are probably 10 other people developing the very same idea, or something close to it.  Literally.  I’ve spoken with many a develop exec and asked them how often they get pitched the same idea.  Some have said that it’s amazing how often they hear the same pitch, oftentimes within the same week.  So you may think, when you read in the trades about a project that was exactly like yours, that someone swiped your idea, or that it’s eerily similar to something you pitched, but more often than not, it was merely pitched BETTER or SOONER by someone else. As director John Landis is quoted in Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan’s 2008 book “John Landis”: “Every movie I have been involved with that was a big hit had people suing the studio saying it was their idea. We live in a very litigious society. You can sue anybody for anything here.”  To me, that just states that four or five other people had the same idea around the same time, but only one person got it made.

Obviously, when you have a very specific idea (a mobster seeks counseling while trying to juggle his two “families”) it is much harder to rip off than when you have something more generic (a young woman hangs out with three wacky guys — that could be The Big Bang Theory or The New Girl, since those are both described by that logline).  So make sure you have very specific characters, plot and themes, and you’ll be better off.  (That will also help you when you’re pitching.)

So for me, it came down to how many $20 registrations (I was not a WGA member at the time) did I want to pay?  I have, on average, anywhere from 50-100 projects rolling around in my head/computer (some are one line ideas that need to be developed, some are fully fleshed-out 25 page treatments, most are in between), so it would be very expensive and time consuming to register everything I want to pitch.  I made the decision to not register everything… or anything for that matter.

And registering with the WGA doesn’t prove it’s your idea.  It only proves that on the date the project was registered, that you sent them this project.

The only other thing I’d throw in for this question is that I’ve reached a certain level in the business, wherein I’m somewhat “known” (at least, within  the industry!) and it makes it a little harder for someone to rip me off.  For someone new to the business, they may still feel the need to register or copyright their project.  But honestly, when I see a script that’s got the registration number on the cover, my first thought is “newbie”… not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just know that I’m probably dealing with someone who hasn’t sold anything yet or who is somewhat less experienced.

Pitch to reputable people/companies, and you should be fine without registration, is my bottom line.  Having an idea or script stolen has never happened to me, or to any of my friends, that I know of, so I’m just not too worried about it (check back in a year or two, and we’ll see!).  Have I pitched things to various networks and/or companies, that they passed on, and then later something very similar came out from that company?  Yes, but never anything that was an exact copy, so it never really got to me.  Also, sometimes you’ll be in a pitch, they like what you’re pitching and say something like, “That’s great, got anything else?”, and you’ll start talking about it and they cut you off, saying they have something very similar already in development, so I know that similar ideas are often in the “ether”, as they say.

As with everything else in this business, there are no rules and I’m sure there are people who have horrific stories about getting ripped off.  Newspaper columnist Art Buchwald famously sued Paramount Pictures in 1990, for breach of contract, stating that Paramount had ripped off his idea for the Eddie Murphy feature “Coming to America”, but that suit ending up being more about how profits are defined and paid to writers and other “net profits” holders, than about Paramount having taken Buchwald’s idea… (see: Buchwald v. Paramount).

As for your other questions:

If the producer had a deal with the network/studio, like a first look/development deal, would they pitch it without registering it?“:   There is no need to worry when you have a deal with a studio that they will rip you off.  It just isn’t done to someone that is part of their corporate “family”.

Would a network ever go to pilot without having the producer/creator/writer of the show register or copyright a script or treatment?”  Well, the weird thing here is that once a studio or network buys your project, you usually do not own it anymore.  They become the copyright holders and you are merely the hired gun… (and therefore more easily replaceable, so watch out).  But, as long as you’re doing great work, they’ll most likely keep you in place.  You will still have some sort of ownership of the project, based on what your lawyer negotiates, but they literally own your project once you’ve signed it over to them.  And guess what?  They copyright it, for sure!

Would a network/studio want validation of ownership before it shot a pilot or went into series production?”  Yes, every buyer will want proof that you actually wrote the project (or control the rights to it), so they’ll send along a document called the Certificate of Authorship, commonly referred to as the COA.  The COA basically says you wrote it (or control it), that it is original, that it can be assigned it to another owner (the studio), and a few other things.  There’s an example of one here: COA Sample

Thanks, Ellissa, for a great string of questions, and I hope this helps!  Obviously I’m no lawyer, so be sure to get the help of a qualified entertainment business lawyer to get all the details correct.

Posted in Career Advice, Hollywood.

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More TV Pitching Tips

About ten yeas ago, I worked with a really smart man named Erik Nelson.  Erik owns a company called Creative Differences (love the name!), which is a very productive reality/documentary television company.   While I was working with him, I happened to be producing a “Pitching and Development” seminar, and, since Erik has sold literally hundreds of shows, I asked him to be part of the panel.  He obliged, and also offered up his bullet points for effective TV pitching.  I’m including it here, and hoping that Erik is not upset by my posting it!

Keep in mind that Erik pitches reality and documentary shows, so this may be a bit specialized for those arenas, but really, his tips are good, all around advice.

ERIK NELSON’S SIX STEP PITCHING PROGRAM

1. GATHER INTELLIGENCE

2. PLAN OPERATION

3. RECRUIT ALLIES

4. STORM THE BEACHHEAD

5. IMPROVISE NEW BATTLE PLAN

6. TAKE NO PRISONERS

All I need to know about pitching I learned from Field Marshall Erwin Rommel —  selling a show is like planning the D-Day Invasion — and if you saw the first 20 minutes of “Saving Private Ryan”, you know what can go wrong…  Your buyer is your target.  (The enemy may come after show is ordered!)

SIX CRITICAL STEPS!

1. GATHER INTELLIGENCE

  • WHAT DOES BUYER WANT — NOT WANT.
  • WHAT DOES BUYER LIKE — NOT LIKE.
  • WHAT HAS BUYER DONE IN PREVIOUS LIFE?
  • DISCERN TARGET — WHICH IS UNBELIEVABLY NARROW.
  • TAKE AIM — VECTOR IN ON TARGET — WHAT HOLES EXIST IN SCHEDULE — (THIS IS WHERE AGENT COMES IN).
  • ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL — YOUR IDEA NEEDS TO FIT BUYER’S SPECIFIC NEEDS, NOT OTHER WAY AROUND.
  • GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS — WHERE ARE THE LEADS?

2.   PLAN OPERATION

  • CREATE SHOW WITH INTELLIGENCE IN MIND — MAKE SURE IT IS PITCHED IN TERMS OF WHAT IS CURRENTLY WORKING.
  • CUT PROMO? MOCK AS? PROPS?
  • WRITE TREATMENT.
  • REHEARSE AND PRACTICE PITCH (AND BACK UP PITCHES).
  • YOU EXIST TO SERVE THEM, THEY DON’T SERVE YOU.
  • THERE ARE A MILLION IDEAS OUT THERE, NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOURS.
  • SAYING “NO” IS EASIER THAN SAYING “YES”.

3. RECRUIT ALLIES

  • ANY PRODUCER/DIRECTORS THAT NETWORK LIKES?
  • ANY OTHER CREATIVE BAGGAGE THAT CAN BE ATTACHED?
  • ANYONE INSIDE NETWORK/STUDIO THAT LIKES YOU?
  • IS THIS SHOW LIKE OTHER HITS? IF NOT, MAKE IT LIKE OTHER HITS.
  • BUYER NEEDS TO DEFEND BUYING SHOW.

4. STORM THE BEACHHEAD

  • SHOW UP ON TIME, AND IF YOU’RE LATE, MAKE UP FUNNY EXCUSE WHY.
  • CHAT UP ASSISTANT, THEY RULE AND CAN BURY YOU.
  • ONCE INSIDE, “READ” OFFICE AND BUYER — “SWEET SMELL” STORY.
  • MAKE SMALL TALK (SEE ABOVE).
  • ASK THEM WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR — ADJUST YOUR PITCH ACCORDINGLY.
  • ESTABLISH A CONNECTION AND DRIVE POINT HOME (REALITY DISTORTION FIELD).

[reality-distortion field n. An expression used to describe the persuasive ability of managers like Steve Jobs (the term originated at Apple in the 1980s to describe his peculiar charisma).  Those close to these managers become passionately committed to possibly insane projects, without regard to the practicality of their implementation or competitive forces in the marketplace.]

  • BUYER HAS TO SELL TO THEIR BOSSES, MAKE THEIR JOB EASY, THEY WILL LOVE YOU.
  • PRETEND YOU ARE TALKING TO A FOUR YEAR OLD (NO OFFENSE, GUYS).  SHINY THINGS, SIMPLE THINGS, PAINT BY NUMBERS.  ’CAUSE REMEMBER, THEY HAVE TO SELL TO THEIR BOSSES, AND THINGS CAN GET LOST IN THE TRANSLASTION…
  • BRING PROPS (SHOW CARDS).
  • SIMPLE IS GOOD, BIG IS GOOD, DUMB IS BETTER, IPSO FACTO: SIMPLE BIG DUMB IDEAS RULE.

5.   THROW OUT THE PLAN AND IMPROVISE — REST ASSURED, YOU WILL HAVE TO.

  • WHEN THEY SAY NO, THEY MEAN NO, LET IT GO, BE OPEN TO INPUT, INVEST BUYER IN IDEA, MAKE IT SEEM THEIRS…
  • MOVE IN TO OTHER IDEAS (SACRIFICE PITCH).
  • TRY NOT TO EVER PITCH MORE THAN THREE.
  • DON’T OVERSELL.
  • LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN — TO WHAT THEY ARE SAYING, AND WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO SAY.

6.   TAKE NO PRISONERS

  • FOLLOW-UP, FOLLOW-UP, FOLLOW-UP.

Well, there you have it.  I thank Erik in advance for not suing me, and hope this helps you in your quest to sell a TV series!

Posted in Career Advice, Hollywood.

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How Do I Pitch a TV Show?

I recently had this inquiry from a relative newbie (I think) to the business:

“I have a question I’m hoping you can answer for me. From a business stand point how does one pitch a show to a major network or company? I see reality shows, movies, adult and rated R content and I wonder how they got that meeting. LOL. I would appreciate any answers and suggestions you could give me. Thank you for your time.”

Now, aside from the “LOL”, I think it’s a great question, so I’ll share with you my answer:

Well that’s a big question that could be answered in detail in an entire book, no doubt.

But the short answer is:
  • The networks only let in the “approved” people to pitch.  “Approved” means someone they know through previous experience or that comes in through a trusted entity – an agent or production company.
  • But it’s a bit of a Catch-22 at the beginning.  A producer with minimal credits needs to find an agent.  Almost no agent will take on a producer with minimal credits.
  • Some larger production companies may take a cold pitch (meaning from someone they don’t already know), but that’s difficult at best to make happen.
  • In this business, it all comes down to who you know.  Find a well-known or very experienced producer or director or writer, see if you can get any interest from them.
  • If you’re able to interest an agent or production company, AND they like your pitch, then they may set up a meeting to pitch at the networks.
  • To properly pitch, you need to have more than an idea.  You need to have fully fleshed out your project – whether it’s scripted, reality, or anything else.  Know the characters, know the themes, know the look and tone, know the basic story backwards and forwards.  Be able to discuss your show from every angle. Think of episode storylines if it’s scripted.  Think about what we’ll see in each new episode, and why we want to come back again.
  • It all comes down to telling a great story with great characters (whether real or created).
  • If you can shoot a presentation that shows what the project is (especially good for reality/non-fiction shows), do that.  If it’s scripted, shoot a short for it.
  • Have a logline (one line sentence saying what the show is), a concept paragraph, and a full page explanation of the show.  My typical “pitching treatments” are 15-25 pages, made for me only, describing everything in great detail — it helps me know the show really well.
  • If it’s based on a real person or book or movie, you’ll need to have the rights secured.
That’s the short answer, the best I can do here!
Hope this helps…
— TG

Now, of course, if you asked 50 professionals in the business about this, you’ll get 50 different stories, since the one thing we do know is that there are no rules in Hollywood…

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How To Pitch A TV Show / NFFTY

Here’s a little online interview piece I did for NFFTY.org (the website for the National Film Festival for Talented Youth).  NFFTY is a great organization (which I’m on the Adviosry Board for) that’s all about supporting young filmmakers (up to age 22).  They have a fantastic film festival that takes place in Seattle every year (this year it’s on from April 28 to May 1st); I highly recommend it.  Check out their website, if nothing else, and donate a few dollars, if you can, to this fabulous non-profit group.

Oh, and as for my interview, it’s filed under their “Ask The Experts” section…  now really, do I belong in the expert category?  You’ll be the judge of that, I’m sure!

NFFTY

Posted in Career Advice, Consulting, Hollywood.

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Expert Advice From an “Expert”

Expert… right. That’s what I was accused of being, recently.

I’m on the Advisory Board for the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). It’s a great organization, of which I’m proud to be a part. It’s all about young people (anyone up to age 22) making their own films, and it is really awesome. Check out their website, get involved, at: http://nffty.org

As far as me being an expert, you be the judge, here’s an interview they did with me, via Skype: http://nffty.org/explore/ask-the-experts/how-to-pitch-a-tv-show

Sounds pretty goofy to me, if you ask the expert…

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Tim Gibbons Interview on KPCC

I was interviewed today, along with producers Gale Anne Hurd and Hawk Kotch, on the Patt Morrison Show on KPCC.  Alex Cohen, the guest host, was a kind and gracious host, making it painless as we spoke about producing, the Producers Guild of America, and the Produced By Conference, which takes place on June 4-6 at 20th Century Fox Studios.

Check me out: http://www.scpr.org/programs/patt-morrison/2010/05/27/so-you-want-to-make-a-moviegive-a-listen-to-the-ex/?

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We Shot Our Network Pilot Like A Web Series!

I’ve just finished shooting a comedy pilot for a major network and major studio, and they are nervous.  We shot it like a web series.  What I mean by that is that we used a variety of formats to shoot on, with some shots involving up to 14 cameras, and none of the cameras are the “traditional” cameras one would use for a primetime comedy show.  The basic premise of the show involves a show-within-a-show concept.  It was created by Larry Charles (“Borat”, “Religulous”, “Seinfeld”, etc.), whom I’ve known for years, from working together on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.  It was executive produced by Larry, McG (well-known director/producer, “Charlie’s Angels”, “Chuck”), Peter Johnson (“Supernatural”, “Chuck”, who is also the president of McG’s Wonderland Sound and Vision company), and myself.

The show we see is the show the characters are making, which is shot by them, and the only video we ever see is material ostensibly shot by them.  The idea is that anything we’d see would have been shot by one of the characters, so there could be no traditional camera “coverage”, no studio three shots, no establishing shots, unless it was something one of the characters shot.  The main source of the storytelling footage would be the “behind the scenes” documentary one of the characters is making, to document their production, plus the actual footage the characters had shot for their movie.  It was shot all on location, no sets or stages.

In today’s world of YouTube and Ustream, the video many of us watch all the time is shot with iPhones, Flip cameras, miniDV’s and the like, all of which we used in our production. Lots of cameras The quality is not the same as shooting on any “professional” camera system, from the RED camera system to even old-school Sony digibeta, but we felt like we’ve come a long way in the expectation of what something to look like, especially in the world of fan films and user-generated material, so we decided to go for it and shoot on strictly “non professional” equipment (although, that being said, we did use some prosumer equipment, but that kind of walks the line, wouldn’t you say?).  And if the characters in our pilot’s small town were to actually shoot their own show, to be posted on the Internet, what would it look like anyway?   So we tried to match what a low-budget, non-professional team of filmmakers would and could do on a limited budget.

From the moment Larry Charles called me about this project, I was intrigued and excited.  The idea of shooting an entire primetime network show with an “alternate” look, on a variety of different camera platforms, was exciting.  Could we do it, and would this show fit in with other primetime shows that are shot with big, expensive cameras, full lighting packages and a giant crew?  How would we shoot it?  What cameras would we use?  So we got to work on planning this show, keeping in mind that everything we’d see in the finished product would need to appear as if it were shot by one of the characters.  We had to use “available light” (or at least make it look like that) for most of it, and then figure out how it would look and sound.  So I got to work with our Director of Photography, Anthony Hardwick, and we came up with a shooting plan that included some really interesting hardware.

We ended up going with our main camera package of: 2 Sony EX3 HDCAM’s, which shoot onto cards, not tape.  To this we added a Sony EX1 HDCAM, for when we need a third camera.  Then, for the main characters to hold (and shoot, with the cameras often seen in the shots), we added 3 Canon HV20 miniDV cameras and 6 Flip UltraHD camcorders.  For additional looks (and a few additional characters), along the way we added a Canon 7D still/video SLR, several iPhones, my MacBook Pro laptop, 2 Flip SD camcorders, a Canon GL2 Digital Camcorder, a Motorola phone, and, for one scene, an InfraRed camera, the Sony HDR-HC5.

Flip CamerasI should add that I approached Flip (owned by Cisco) about providing us with their cameras, since they’d be seen on screen, with our stars using them, but they declined.  They said that we didn’t fit in with their marketing strategy.  Don’t ask me, but it seems like we exactly fit in with their marketing strategy: people taking video into their own hands.  And their cameras would be shown on a primetime network show.

Sound was shot both in-camera (on some) and through the more traditional method of wireless mics and a boom, mixed through either a portable field mixer or soundboard on a cart.  We figured that an audience might forgive “rough” video (with many different looks), but that bad audio would not be tolerated.  The show is an improv comedy show, with several scenes having multiple people talking all at once, so we wanted to have as much flexibility as possible when it came time to mixing the sound.

So, for the shoot, we had a total 19 cameras (and, for one long scene, we used 14 of them), many of which had different recording formats (SD cards/disc, miniDV tape, hard drive, flash memory, etc.), and different frame rates (23.98fps, 24p, 30fps), some of which were HD, some SD.  To handle all the downloading of the cards on set, plus log the tapes and transfer iPhone and Macbook Pro material, I hired a data management tech, Jimmy An, whose sole job was to keep track of all the material, download the SD cards, and make sure we had adequate backups of all the material that had been transferred to hard drives.  We ended up, on our five-day shoot, with 45 hours of raw material.

Post has been hectic and exhilarating.  In addition to getting a plethora of great comedy (with some serious moments as well), we had the logistical challenge of conforming all the material from the different formats and frame rates into something our Final Cut Pro 7 editing system could ingest and work with.  For the conversions, we turned to Digital Film Tree, an awesome post house, who had the massive job of making it all work together seamlessly.  They did so with style and grace, cranking out “dailies” that we could use for our notes for post — and that the edit system could actually handle.  This all had to be done while keeping the “look” of the various formats, something that was important to us.

We haven’t delivered the pilot yet, but to get down to pilot length has been a real challenge.  With so many choices, so much footage, so many different looks, this show will be one thing most network primetime pilots are not: a show that looks, sounds, and feels completely different from everything else on network primetime.  Can the network handle it?  Will the mainstream TV audience (let alone the network!) accept something with so many looks?  I’ll let you know how it goes!

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The Problem With Civilians

Along the way in this business, I’ve partnered up with various people for various projects.  Most of them were already in the business, but occasionally I’ve found a project that involves someone outside the industry.  Generally, it’s an author or expert or someone with a real interesting life story.  I make a deal with them for their book/life rights/story/whatever, and then we work on it to develop a pitch.  Sometimes we agree up front that they will come on in some kind of producer role — this is generally when I feel they bring an authenticity or weight to the project that the network/studio/buyer can’t do without.  Now usually everything goes OK, we either sell the project or we don’t.

And then, sometimes it doesn’t work out.  It’s often the wannabe producer that upsets the applecart.  People seem to get it: the buyers don’t know them, they have no track record, they’ve never been in the business, they’ve never sold anything.  Oftentimes, the buyer doesn’t want anybody from the “outside” attached to a project.  It’s bad enough walking in with a partner or two, but it often seems like a really bad idea to attach someone who’s not in the business.  The buyers don’t know them, don’t know what they bring to the party, as it were.

Chili
I’m going into the movie business. I’m thinking about producing.

Tommy
What the fuck do you know about making movies?

Chili
Well, I don’t think the producer has to know much.

(From “Get Shorty”)

Everyone usually agrees upfront that they’ll take a back seat, go along for the ride, see what they can learn about the business, make a little cash along the way.  After all, it’s their first time at doing something in the business, and, from my viewpoint, they should be happy with just getting some interest in their project.  I explain that not everyone who comes to Hollywood for the first time ends up walking away on their first project with a million dollars in the bank and a three-picture deal.  I explain that it’s particularly hard to get the studio to agree to have them involved in a meaningful manner, as a writer or producer or director.  The studios don’t trust people they don’t know, and what they are buying when I walk in the room with a new project, is my track record of having delivered a lot of shows, and the project.  All that being said, I try to be honest and fair in making a deal.

Oftentimes, though, the trouble starts at the beginning.  The person, even though I suggest they find a reputable, experienced entertainment attorney, somehow ends up finding some attorney who doesn’t have much knowledge of the business, or used to be a player 20 years ago (and hasn’t kept up with current trends), or has nothing to do with entertainment law at all.  So then the dealmaking process becomes difficult.  I usually bail at this point, as this does not bode well for the future, if, we’re so lucky as to sell the project.

Anyway, we usually get past that stage and they have a contract, an established producer who can hopefully get their project sold and made (me) and someone who cares about the show (also me!).  And then we work on it, sometimes for many months (or several years), developing it and the pitch, working it into something the studios or networks will want, sometimes attaching talent or directors, and then we go pitch it.  And pitch it and pitch it.  Although I have sold projects “in the room” as they say, meaning the buyer says they want it right now, before we go anywhere else, more often than not, we pitch and pitch — on one project I sold, we pitched it about 40 times before it got bought.  Oftentimes it doesn’t work out and the project eventually dies.

But sometimes, in that magical world of Hollywood, it all comes together and a buyer wants it and we move forward into dealmaking…  And this is when the most civilian problem usually occur — the civilian, in their six months in Hollywood, has talked with a lot of people and has heard all the stories (of the extremely rare events that do occasionally happen) — a million dollar script sale; the waitress who worked with a big producer and is now making (20 years later) $4 million a year as a writer; the unknown first-time director who held out and got to direct that big studio movie as his first film; the nanny who now makes $20 million a year… and all of this sounds astounding compared to the “bad” deal they now think they have with me.

Anyway, the call comes in, sometimes directly, most often from their lawyer to mine, that they are not happy with the current deal.  They’d like to renegotiate.  Or sometimes it happens in the negotiations with the network/studio… the civilians wants some outrageous amount of money or some unobtainable/unjustified credit and/or position.  And they continue to demand more and more and more… and eventually, even though I’ve talked with them, and my attorney and agents have talked with all of their people, the deal just falls apart because the network/studio does not like being held hostage — they’ve got 20 other projects they can switch their attention to.  And then the project is dead.  And it’s a shame, because ultimately, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere with a project I didn’t think was cool, sellable and amazing.  It could have been a good show.  And usually, later, the civilian who walked away from the deal because they thought they could do better, ends up getting nowhere with their project.

So a word of advice — if you’re new to the business, don’t expect to get rich and famous from your first show — be in it for the long haul.  Certainly take care of yourself — there are bad people out there — get a good lawyer, and feel comfortable about moving forward with whomever you’ve teamed up with.  But in the end, be reasonable and level-headed.  Trust me, you’ll get much farther along, and will no longer be a “civilian”.

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Producers on Producers – Tim Gibbons – Pros Reflect on Achievements of Nommed Colleagues

variety.jpegUp-125_oldman.jpgTim Gibbons on “Up”

Producer: Jonas Rivera

Posted: Mon., Feb. 8, 2010, 1:57pm PT

A cartoon about a crotchety old man and a kid. They’re in a house that floats on balloons. Doesn’t sound like much of a movie to me … but then I’m not the geniuses at Pixar and I don’t make fantastic, wonderful, warm, compelling, funny and heartfelt movies like they do. “Up” is an amazing movie, one that I loved and watched several times over the last year. The fact that I saw it with my 8-year-old child and 82-year-old mother — and we all loved it — should tell you about the broad appeal this film has. It’s not just a great cartoon, it’s a great movie.

The opening sequence, in which we meet Carl and Ellie, and see their lifetime together, is storytelling at its best. In a few short minutes you see their entire life unfold, experiencing multiple emotions along the way. By the end, (and if you didn’t cry at the end of that sequence you need some sensitivity training!), you instantly know who Carl is, what he’s about. And then the movie takes off on the main storyline and the whole movie becomes a wild, fun roller coaster, full of excitement and bad guys and evil dogs and funny characters and action and drama.

Tim Gibbons is an executive producer of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

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Tim’s Tweets for 2012-10-07

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