View Full Version : Need Advice with Manager/Potential Deal

07-15-2004, 12:41 AM
My managers and I recently set-up a script at a small prod co, and the prod co is looking to partner up with a studio or larger company in order to get the project going -- that is the only way I will get paid (I have a written option agreement that includes rewrites). My problem is that my manager is saying that the new prod co has limited contacts, so they are therefore asking my management company to do a lot of legwork and make a lot of introductions to their contacts -- all of which means that my managers now want to be cut in on the deal as producers.

Is this normal? I feel like my managers should make all those calls on my behalf, but I understand that they feel like they are now serving as producers and want to be compensated as such.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

07-15-2004, 07:17 AM
I would be wary. Too many cooks spoil the broth. If your managers sign on as producers, it could be a deal breaker with a larger studio and if your managers had producer's clout to begin with, then why do you need the smaller prodco? Something doesn't sound right. I would only sign on to this deal if it had a time limit.


07-15-2004, 09:25 AM
It's certainly not unusual for a manager to 'produce' in order to collect a producing fee when the project is formally set-up at a studio or production company. Depending on how the manager is perceived this may or may not be a problem for a studio, since they would not be producing per se -- a lit manager's involvement in the project, their script notes etc, would be expected to end there.

However, since a buyer would have to pay the manager off with a producing fee in order to acquire the script, they would essentially be paying twice for the material, so having your manager attached to the project may make the script less attractive to some prodcos.

It's basically something you want to avoid unless the manager is an established asset and can get your script directly into the hands of first-look prodcos and studios. However, if you are already locked into an option agreement with this other company it's probably worth letting the manager grease the wheels...

No matter what the circumstances, if your manager acts as a producer it should be under the understanding they will pay back their commission -- in full -- in the event that they receive a producing fee. This is how all legitimate managers do business. (As regards commission, 10% is the normal cut for reputable lit managers, 15% is not unheard off but would make me think twice about signing)

Have you been paid a small upfront sum for the option, at least? If you haven't received adequate 'consideration' the option agreement may not constitute a legal contract and that may give you a way out.

I agree with LIMAMA. Not knowing more about your manager and what this prodco particularly has the potential to bring to the project, it's impossible to advise you one way or the other.

(The most extreme interpretation of your post is that your manager has given a free option to inexperienced producers and now sees an opportunity to double-dip. Now, this is probably not the case, but if it is you should say farewell to both.)

07-15-2004, 01:28 PM
It is very VERY common for managers to produce. Nobody frowns on it anymore, it does not cost you a dime and, frankly, it shouldn't concern you at all because you are not a part of that business. Every movie has producers. All producers get paid. Studios accept that. Nobody turns down a good project because it has producers attached. More so, by the time a project gets to a studio, there's pretty much no way for it not to have a producer or two.

As for his 10%, it is a commonly understood thing that the manager's fee will be refunded should he get his producing fee. I never heard of anyone refusing to do so. Anyone reputable, that is. But you know your manager, right? After all, you signed with him.

What I would be worried about is not your manager producing the script, but the "beard" in the form of that production company that doesn't even have contacts... Why on earth did you option it to someone like that?? Them being attached makes it much much harder to get another production company involved. Because they don't do squat and they are pretty much there for the ride.

07-15-2004, 01:56 PM
I just wanted to thank all three of you that responded -- all very helpful and informative. And just for the record, everyone involved in the deal is very reputable, so I feel completely protected and all that. I was just worried about the "too many cooks" aspect, even though I agree that my managers will certainly help to "grease the wheels" because they have some high-end contacts.

So, thanks guys! This is a great board.