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Topic: OT: Some business questions

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  1. #1

    OT: Some business questions

    Hi. Most hired work I have done have been for games, which means I have little or no knowledge about TV contracts. I'm slated to score an animated TV series where I will provide the main titles, AND the score for each episode.

    Now what kind of advice can you give me regarding the contract...

    Things I would like:

    - To own the theme (meaning other composers cant use it shoudl they want to hire someone else)

    The music I have done has been complete sell out, but I understand its possible to be paid each time the series is aired etc - like for instance i'm sure Danny Elfman is still payed everytime the Simpsons is played.

    So how would that look in the contract? What other stuff should I worry about or try get written into my contract?

    Also I'm scoring the pilot first, which will be used to get funding. How does one make an "if-this-thing-gets-made" contract. Should it state what I am to be paid per episode, or should that be a new contract?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: OT: Some business questions

    Find an agent to do your deal (one off)... unless you wanna get screwed in the butt.


    KID

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Re: OT: Some business questions

    Sage advice Mr. Surf.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: OT: Some business questions

    Ditto the advice. Get a lawyer or agent to cut this deal for you. Once you know the ropes, it's easier to cut your own deals, but you would need a lot of education, really fast, to do this one. My advice is pay for the lawyer (an entertainment attorney who knows how to get you paid).

    Are you already an ASCAP or BMI member? This is how you'll get paid on the back end. BUT...you need to structure the deal properly so that money comes to you.

    Basically, you want to keep every bit of ownership you can negotiate. License, rather than sell, the music. Some people will want part of the publishing, some will want all of it. Best possible outcome is that you keep it all.

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Some business questions

    Right - I'm not a member of either ASCAP or BMI... Which I will be if I score something for the states. Both or just one of them?

    Any advice on the lawyer, how to find him, who to get? What is the going rate for such a fellow?

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Some business questions

    Re: BMI or ASCAP. You can only be in one at a time (technically). Unless you get creative. They are both basically the same thing, and it is a timeless discussion as to which is better. In the end...they both have their positives and negatives and end up being about the same.

    My Lawyer gets 5%. If I don't get anything on some scout work, neither does he. If I get a lot...so does he. Very worth it in my opinion. The agent typicaly gets 10%. Everything else I do myself. So, while they are handy to have around to help negotiate terms (leaving the composer/director/producer relationship to be more creatively focused), there is a price as well. The most important being really the lawyer. Some will do simply hourly work as well if you only need them for a specific job.
    Regards,
    Brian W. Ralston

    Check out my new FREE iPhone App! Click Here!

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Some business questions

    [QUOTE=

    Also I'm scoring the pilot first, which will be used to get funding. How does one make an "if-this-thing-gets-made" contract. Should it state what I am to be paid per episode, or should that be a new contract?[/QUOTE]

    Some good info and advice from Paul and Brian, but if this is for the States
    it's backwards. Usually the funding comes before hiring a composer. How will they pay you if there's no funding? Usually a pilot will be temped to lure a buyer, which is much cheaper than paying a composer. A main contention to funding may be the music and most pilots are temped many times before a musical style is agreed on. The buyer may want picture changes too. How many scores are you willing to write for one fee?
    As far as getting paid by ASCAP/BMI, it's done with cue sheets, submitted by your editor.
    More info here:
    http://www.ascap.com/filmtv/movies-part4.html
    And here:
    http://www.editorsguild.com/newslett...ue_sheets.html

    I obviously don't know the particulars or where you are, but it doesn't sound like whoever is hiring you has sold any shows in the States. If these are not friends or people you've worked with before, I'd get some more information. The network will have a set fee for the music, which probably won't have any wiggle room, so it won't be like they'll ask you how music you want.
    It sounds to me like they want you to write something to see if it'll attract a buyer and then hire you if it does. This scerario rarely works in favor of the composer. The so called funders may only write the check if the composer THEY want writes the score.
    For a lawyer referral, from free to expensive, I've had good luck with:
    http://www.calawyersforthearts.org/ (in California)
    Good Luck,

  8. #8

    Re: OT: Some business questions

    I obviously don't know the particulars or where you are, but it doesn't sound like whoever is hiring you has sold any shows in the States. If these are not friends or people you've worked with before, I'd get some more information.
    Both are the case - so I'm not too worried

    The pilot wont require more than like 10 minutes of music. But thats why I want the contract to be sweet in terms of "what if it gets made"

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