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Old 12-11-2010, 11:08 AM   #1
Jason Hart
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Default Advice on Producer Attachment Agreement

Can anyone provide me on the do's and don'ts for Producer Attachment Agreements.

Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2010, 12:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Advice on Producer Attachment Agreement

This is a pretty big topic, but some of the big ones:


DO:

1. Make sure there's an expiration date for the attachment if no progress is made.
2. Make sure the producer in question is experienced and reputable.
3. Make sure that the attachment of this producer will actually benefit your project rather than hinder it. You'd be surprised how often an attached producer is a hindrance rather than a help, especially if the producer isn't in demand.
4. Make sure your objectives are in line and there's a clear understanding of what he's going to bring to the project and where he's going to take it while he's attached.


DON'T:

1. Assign your rights to the producer. If he wants the rights, he needs to negotiate an option/purchase, not just say he's attached as a producer.
2. Allow the producer to remain attached if he's not doing anything.
3. Pay money to the producer for the privilege of his attachment (he gets paid when someone coughs up his producing fee).
4. Perform any rewrites based on his notes without a written agreement governing ownership of the resulting draft. Make sure it's not a work for hire.


I'm sure I'm missing a few... but those are some of the big ones.
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Advice on Producer Attachment Agreement

So basically it's a fancy term for a free option (the dollar thing).
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Advice on Producer Attachment Agreement

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Originally Posted by Jason Hart View Post
So basically it's a fancy term for a free option (the dollar thing).
Not at all.

An option assigns rights to someone in exchange for some kind of consideration (even if it's only a dollar). An attachment agreement is documentation that says, "this person is attached to this project and you can't make it into a movie without them." Attachments can be valuable if you're attaching something desirable (a popular actor, accomplished director, etc.), or a hindrance if you're attaching something undesirable (producers who expect to be paid but don't really bring and skills or experience to the table)... but they don't usually cost anything (except in the event of pay-or-play or pay-and-play commitments), and usually have nothing to do with assigning the rights to the person being attached.

The problem with attachment agreements is that many people treat them like unpaid options... where they become a part of the project (i.e. incorporated into the chain of title) without actually offering anything in return.

Which is why I said what I did in my last post. Do NOT assign any IP rights (even temporarily) in an attachment agreement. An attachment agreement is NOT the same thing as an option.
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Advice on Producer Attachment Agreement

Doesn't sound very juicy at all...sounds like a pain.

What do you think should come along with it $ wise or "whatever" wise to make it...juicy

As in what amount?
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Old 12-11-2010, 10:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Advice on Producer Attachment Agreement

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Doesn't sound very juicy at all...sounds like a pain.

What do you think should come along with it $ wise or "whatever" wise to make it...juicy

As in what amount?
It is a pain... when the arrangement isn't mutually beneficial. Which is why I said make sure that the person attaching themselves brings something to the project. It's usually not a paid arrangement... they don't pay you and you don't pay them. The consideration that comes from an attachment is that you both bring something to a project... they bring their expertise/reputation, and you bring the material.
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Advice on Producer Attachment Agreement

So realistically the whole idea is...absurd.

If the person attached was of the salt (had the power) they would just pay you to option it. If they don't have that pull then attaching them works great for them because should it fly they are now on board.

Smells all really stinky to me...

The only way it could be good is if they are a name but if they are a name they should just pay ya to option it... right?
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Advice on Producer Attachment Agreement

you're not understanding the purpose of attachment. whether it be an actor, director, or producer that person brings something of value to the project. money is not the issue. you wrote the script. the others have (like SoCal said) expertise and reputation or something that will convince executive producers to get on board and finance the project.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Advice on Producer Attachment Agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Hart View Post
So realistically the whole idea is...absurd.

If the person attached was of the salt (had the power) they would just pay you to option it. If they don't have that pull then attaching them works great for them because should it fly they are now on board.

Smells all really stinky to me...

The only way it could be good is if they are a name but if they are a name they should just pay ya to option it... right?
Not true. There's very little development money out there, and studio deals have been cut to half of what they were couple of years ago, so lots of great producers out there will not pay for options.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: Advice on Producer Attachment Agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Hart View Post
So realistically the whole idea is...absurd.

If the person attached was of the salt (had the power) they would just pay you to option it. If they don't have that pull then attaching them works great for them because should it fly they are now on board.

Smells all really stinky to me...

The only way it could be good is if they are a name but if they are a name they should just pay ya to option it... right?

You have to make a distinction here... to be clear, there are two issues you've brought up. Optioning/buying a project (which means someone acquires the rights from you for a specified amount of time, if not outright purchasing them), and attaching to a project (which means someone likes the project and wants to be involved, but doesn't want to pay you or have anything to do with the rights or ownership of the project).

If a producer likes your project but has a lot on their plate, they may attach themselves to a project, which is basically like saying, "I don't have the time to get this made myself. So I don't want the rights, and this is still your project... but if it gets off the ground, I'll be involved." There is no pay involved for that kind of scenario.

Or, if a producer likes your project and wants to actively try and get it made, they may option or purchase the rights to your project, which is basically like saying, "I want to get this project made myself. I do want the rights, and this is now my project... hopefully I can get it off the ground." There should be pay involved for the writer for that kind of scenario, since the producer is acquiring something of yours (the rights).

Either of these situations is acceptable. The unacceptable situation is when the producer in the first scenario ("I'm too busy to get this made myself.") wants the consideration of a producer in the second scenario ("but I want the rights."). Attachments are fine. Options are fine. Allowing an attachment to acquire the rights is not fine.

It has nothing to do with the person in question and everything to do with the relationship they want with your material. And that relationship should never be casual involvement in exchange for a controlling interest in the project.
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