• Disclaimer: Legal advice is not binding, consulting an attorney is always recommended.

pay Upfront payment vs percentage of film proceeds

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
onebaldman, I understand math, I understand crowdfunding, I understand
no budget filmmaking, I understand people working for free on a project
they believe in and I understand where you are currently in you filmmaking
career. What I don't understand is why you will not answer a very simple
question.
 
I guess what I'm trying in my own project is both methods. I pay an upfront payment for supplies/gas/food/materials. THAT to me is a payment. Especially since I am fronting the cost myself.
To you, perhaps. And yes, covering costs is nice and all. But that shouldn’t be equated to actually paying crew.

Say there are 10 members in the crew, and each of us gets 5%. If the crowdfunding campaign earns $5,000 total... That's $500 for each member of the crew. If we want to balance out based on the job worked, then the point distribution changes.

Again, this is after all gas/food/utilities/materials have been payed for, and all that is being provided by the talent is time.
5000 x 0.05 = 250

I’m curious about crowdfunding. I know that lots of folks look toward that, but I also know that it rarely raises the money needed. You may get a few family members to throw in a few dollars, and maybe some close friends, but there are so many filmmakers out there trying to raise money through crowdfunding and, honestly, few of them get there. So why is yours going to be different? Be sure to adjust for inherent bias of your own project before you answer that.

And you still haven’t answered Rik’s simple question.
 
Last edited:

onebaldman

Pro Member
indiePRO
5000 x 0.05 = 250
That's correct. Sorry, my original value was 10k in the math. I've had that formula stuck in my head for a while, so I rounded it based on that.

I did answer, I personally am taking a mixed approach to funding. That's what I prefer starting out. Payment for materials/gas/food and a future percentage of crowdfunding. If the first campaign doesn't work, remarket and recollect to try one more time.

I'm sure my methods and ideas are frowned upon the further up the chain, but it doesn't mean they don't/won't work. Some of you are still disregarding the gap between a fledgling/starting filmmaker and a professional that's been in for 20 years.

I don't want to argue anything is better than what you folks are already achieving successfully. Again, it's a different approach to STUDENT/ENTHUSIAST level funding.
 
I did answer, I personally am taking a mixed approach to funding. That's what I prefer starting out. Payment for materials/gas/food and a future percentage of crowdfunding. If the first campaign doesn't work, remarket and recollect to try one more time.
You’re answering based on what you are trying to do in producing your short film. But what about your perspective as a crew member? If you were asked to work on someone else’s film, and you were offered pay or points, which would you prefer?
 
Last edited:

onebaldman

Pro Member
indiePRO
You’re answering based on what you are trying to do in producing your short film. But what about your perspective as a crew member? If you were asked to work on someone else’s film, and you were offered pay or points, which would you prefer?
Doesn't matter. At the level I'm at, I would take the job based on the idea, maybe even pro bono. Now if the person in charge offered payment, even if points based on crowdfunding, I would still take the job based on whether I liked the idea.

Just because cash is favorable over points, doesn't mean you choose strictly based on payment. There are other factors in the decision.

Edit: I think I might understand your hypothetical question? What would I prefer if I were given the choice between up front cash and promised points?

Blind, with no idea what the project is... Obviously cash first, points second. But you are cutting out the most important bits about a film, just to prove a point???
 
Last edited:

jax_rox

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Crowdfunding is planned to add to that initial monetary value once a good amount of behind the scenes footage is gathered, and the marketing planned out. Each member of the crew gets 5% of the total crowdfunding earnings. If the crowdfunding campaign does well (with all members of the crew invested by sharing with contacts/friends/family), then whatever the total amount becomes is split between the crew evenly.
I’m confused. Is it stated that the reason for the campaign is to pay your crew? Or are you using it to attract funds for completion? Do the family and friends of the cast and crew know they’re effectively paying for their wage..?
If it’s part completion and part crew pay, do the crew only get 5% after the target is reached? Or do you need to double your target to ensure you can complete and pay crew? If so does that make the target harder to reach...?
 
Last edited:

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I wasn't trying to prove a point. I'm a curious person. I asked
what I thought was a simple question out of curiosity. You
evaded that question.

I'm sorry I asked.
 

OddGinger

Member
I don't even understand how you could think to offer points on a short film. A feature? Sure. I doubt most departments would go for it.

Admittedly, my experience is only doing shorts, but there are only a couple of people that I am willing to work on a feature for points. If I don't know you, what would convince me to work for you on a feature without pay? What distributor is going to want to pick up a feature where everyone is essentially a producer? I wouldn't touch that project as a distributor.

For a short, I would think the first offer would generally be for no pay. Shorts, in my opinion, should only be used for a few purposes: experience and experimentation. If you can't offer either of those options, money is the only thing you have left. Why would a working professional want to work on a project for free? I understand there are a multitude of varying answers to this question, but everyone has their reason. If you know the answer, you are likely to attain their services.

We are all creative individuals and for the right reasons we will create for love and fun.
 

onebaldman

Pro Member
indiePRO
I wasn't trying to prove a point. I'm a curious person. I asked
what I thought was a simple question out of curiosity. You
evaded that question.

I'm sorry I asked.
You know, the way you respond to people's posts up here is extremely one sided. Just because it doesn't work for you, doesn't mean it won't work.

You are an old school filmmaker. I've watched your content. Very well done, and I respect your work. I am going to go out on a limb and say most of your content was made in the 1990's to 2000's... So I don't think you have ever operated with a crowdfunding mindset. You couldn't because you had to rely on the old methods of raising funds for your projects. You needed distribution networks because you didn't have Vimeo or Youtube. You also probably did not have the benefit that younger filmmakers have, which is access to high quality gear at a very low entry cost.

You are probably correct. My method wouldn't work in Hollywood. It wouldn't work with a starving artist trying to make ends meet. Hell, it might not work at all.... But I think it will. I have a wonderful team, excited and willing to work on our project for very little pay, exactly the opposite of what people on this forum are saying.

That's okay though, because I am a rebel, and I think the results will speak for themselves.

I'm sorry you are sorry. I'm not trying to piss anyone off here. Just throwing an idea into the mix. If you think it's a terrible idea, well, hopefully I do what is best for the crew in the end and it won't be a problem. If it is, then I will learn from the mistake.
 
Last edited:

onebaldman

Pro Member
indiePRO
I don't even understand how you could think to offer points on a short film. A feature? Sure. I doubt most departments would go for it.
But people are friend. I have gotten more interest by using this method than any before... So something works here. All I am saying is maybe look past the fact of "points" being bad. It's just a word for an overall PERCENTAGE of total gross. Treat the crowdfunding like a box office release, and then you see what I am trying to do.

Shorts, in my opinion, should only be used for a few purposes: experience and experimentation. If you can't offer either of those options, money is the only thing you have left. Why would a working professional want to work on a project for free?
They work knowing the project might not get a ton of money, so yes essentially they are working with a student/free project mindset. The film we are making is good enough to cover the experimentation/experience aspect too.

Hopefully, people like what they see, and throw some funds our way to smooth operations and give the talented people what they deserve. I've maxed out my funds supporting these fine folks already. That is very important to me. So, point distribution just makes it easy to split funds from the campaign upfront, without confusion for the talent behind the project.

The points make the contract and end game more clear for people involved.

If you worked with me, you would understand.
 
Last edited:

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
You know, the way you respond to people's posts up here is extremely one sided. Just because it doesn't work for you, doesn't mean it won't work.
Wow. I'm interested in you. What would you, in your situation with your
current experience prefer in this, specific example. Not one sided at all.
I'm interested in you.
You are an old school filmmaker. I've watched your content. Very well done, and I respect your work. I am going to go out on a limb and say most of your content was made in the 1990's to 2000's... So I don't think you have ever operated with a crowdfunding mindset. You couldn't because you had to rely on the old methods of raising funds for your projects. You needed distribution networks because you didn't have Vimeo or Youtube. You also probably did not have the benefit that younger filmmakers have, which is access to high quality gear at a very low entry cost.

You are probably correct. My method wouldn't work in Hollywood.
You are so wrong. I live and work in Hollywood. I have crowdfunded a feature
and a series. How dare you think you know about my career. I have worked on
14 independent movies, YouTube and Vimeo series that were crowd funded.
But how would you know? You have never even asked me about my career. I
have asked you because I'm interested.

I'm sorry you are sorry. I'm not trying to piss anyone off here. Just throwing an idea into the mix. If you think it's a terrible idea, well, hopefully I do what is best for the crew in the end and it won't be a problem. If it is, then I will learn from the mistake.
Talk about one sided. You method is a great method. I know it works. It's worked
for me. It's worked for many people I know and have worked with. You have explained
yourself very well. But what you refuse to do is answer a very simple question from a
fellow film maker who is only trying to better understand you as a person and a film maker.

I apologize. I won't do it again.
 
Last edited:

onebaldman

Pro Member
indiePRO
Wow. I'm interested in you. What would you, in your situation with your
current experience prefer in this, specific example. Not one sided at all.
I'm interested in you.


You are so wrong. I live and work in Hollywood. I have crowdfunded a feature
and a series. How dare you think you know about my career. I have worked on
14 independent movies, YouTube and Vimeo series that were crowd funded.
But how would you know? You have never even asked me about my career. I
have asked you because I'm interested.


Talk about one sided. You method is a great method. I know it works. It's worked
for me. It's worked for many people I know and have worked with. You have explained
yourself very well. But what you refuse to do is answer a very simple question from a
fellow film maker who is only trying to better understand you as a person and a film maker.

I apologize. I won't do it again.
Again, sorry you feel that way. I actually did answer your question already, way back before I assumed anything. Read the prior posts if you really care to hear it. I never dodged your question.

All I did was share my method, and people here are all jumping on telling me how it doesn't work. But it is.... So... I really don't get the hate for points.

I'm going to cool my jets a little, let me ask you a question.

I pitch a project you love, but I have no money to give to you personally... Only the project.
I promise to pay your food, gas, rental fee, etc. All you provide is labor.

And again, this is a passion project you actually enjoy.

So I throw into the deal the fact that I will be crowdfunding for future deferred payment. I'm using a keep what you earn strategy. Points will decide what percentage gets divided among you and your other volunteers.

You mean to tell me, you will throw away that opportunity to be on this project you would really enjoy.... With possible payment as icing on the cake... Because I can't pay you an upfront payment?

You already love the project, the experience will be there, the fun will be had.... But you will blaze by it because it doesn't pay a check.

That sounds a little, salty.
 
Last edited:

onebaldman

Pro Member
indiePRO
You may get a few family members to throw in a few dollars, and maybe some close friends, but there are so many filmmakers out there trying to raise money through crowdfunding and, honestly, few of them get there. So why is yours going to be different?
Here is how I'm viewing crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is more of a marketing platform than anything else. As long as you put forward a decent marketing strategy, good looking pictures, and a humble campaign video, you should do way better than just friends and family.

It also helps to have a PR plan in place before the campaign starts. Many of the failed campaigns (again, my theory, my thoughts) are usually due to poor PR being done before the campaign launches. A way to circumvent this is to contact local papers/news/radio sites, and pitch your film to them.

I'm not saying you are going to be getting $1,000's overnight... But if during the interview you tell people you have a crowdfunding campaign launching soon, and the people listening or reading actually go to your website to find it, the clicks and donations (even if small) accumulate rapidly and gets your campaign front and center on the home page.
 

onebaldman

Pro Member
indiePRO
If it’s part completion and part crew pay, do the crew only get 5% after the target is reached? Or do you need to double your target to ensure you can complete and pay crew?
I am already attempting to raise funding separately for the film itself using grants and local production funds. If this payment does come through, then the crowdfunding is extra payment on top of that. If that doesn't come through, then it will mostly tie into to back-pay for the film. The crowdfunding was always planned as a mix of back-pay for the project, and payment for the crew.

Completion will happen whether these two things occur or not. I am fully funding the production from my own pocket.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Again, sorry you feel that way. I actually did answer your question already, way back before I assumed anything. Read the prior posts if you really care to hear it. I never dodged your question.
That passive/aggressive reply to AcousticAl? #25? The one with the
incorrect assumption about my motive in asking? Okay, you win.
All I did was share my method, and people here are all jumping on telling me how it doesn't work
I never jumped on you. I never told you how it doesn't work. Because
I have used your method and I know it works.

I'm going to cool my jets a little, let me ask you a question.

I pitch a project you love, but I have no money to give to you personally... Only the project.
I promise to pay your food, gas, rental fee, etc. All you provide is labor.

And again, this is a passion project you actually enjoy.

So I throw into the deal the fact that I will be crowdfunding for future deferred payment. I'm using a keep what you earn strategy. Points will decide what percentage gets divided among you and your other volunteers.

You mean to tell me, you will throw away that opportunity to be on this project you would really enjoy.... With possible payment as icing on the cake... Because I can't pay you an upfront payment?
I would not throw away that opportunity. I would take it gladly and put
all my effort, experience and talent into it 100%. I have worked on over
25 projects like that. Never seen any points money and don't care. I do it
and will continue doing it because I love working on passion projects.

I'm doing one in November.
You already love the project, the experience will be there, the fun will be had.... But you will blaze by it because it doesn't pay a check.

That sounds a little, salty.
Who has a point to make with the question? Who is being one sided? You
have already drawn a conclusion that I would blaze by it because it doesn't
mean a paycheck. With my question I didn't draw a conclusion. I just wanted
to know your, personal, take on the question that started this thread.

I'm sorry we're getting nowhere. You have reached a conclusion about me
and I can't see a way out of it.
 

onebaldman

Pro Member
indiePRO
Who has a point to make with the question? Who is being one sided? You
have already drawn a conclusion that I would blaze by it because it doesn't
mean a paycheck. With my question I didn't draw a conclusion. I just wanted
to know your, personal, take on the question that started this thread.

I'm sorry we're getting nowhere. You have reached a conclusion about me
and I can't see a way out of it.
You can't see a way, because you aren't really looking.

Here is what I responded with to AcousticAI:

Edit: I think I might understand your hypothetical question? What would I prefer if I were given the choice between up front cash and promised points?

Blind, with no idea what the project is... Obviously cash first, points second.

There's the answer you've been trying to get out of me, and its been there since Saturday.

Again, looking at most of your posts to new people just getting into the industry. You have a spiciness to you. While you have experience and you are the senior here, I can't shake that you only keep bringing up your questions to push me into a corner.

That's fine Sir. I actually was a little perturbed at first, but I'm over it. No harm no foul. Hopefully my campaign does well, so I can give these awesome people what they deserve. Points, upfront payments, these people are amazing and they deserve anything I can give them. That said, I can't give them all my money, because I have to feed my family too. Hence why I'm doing what I am. Points are my choice.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Yes. That's the one.

That comes off a "spicy" to me. And the fact that you left out your incorrect assumption
in that bolded quote suggests you know what you were doing.

But you are cutting out the most important bits about a film, just to prove a point???

That is an incorrect assumption. I was not just proving a point. I was genuinely curious
about what you would do under that, specific, opportunity. You answer in no way suggests
your current method is unworkable or the wrong way to put together a project.

Look at my original question. I included some (not all) of the most important bits about a film:

Either way, the film gets made with passion by a cast and crew who very much want to make a great movie.

Your accusation that I'm trying to push you into a corner isn't reflected in anything I have said to
you. I fully believe in your method. I fully respect your method. No where have I suggested there
is anything wrong or unworkable in your method. Yet you have concluded that I'm just trying to
make a point. You have concluded that I will not work for points. You have concluded that I'm
trying to push you into a corner despite anything I say.

I'm looking for a way to have a conversation with you. It's difficult when you have already made up
your mind about me.
 

onebaldman

Pro Member
indiePRO
That comes off a "spicy" to me. And the fact that you left out your incorrect assumption
in that bolded quote suggests you know what you were doing.

Your accusation that I'm trying to push you into a corner isn't reflected in anything I have said to
you.
Well, I apologize if I'm thinking about your posts in the wrong context Sir. I'm spicy because I think you are spicy. That's what I meant by let me cool off. Sometimes, I assume the wrong things, and it is a character flaw on my part.

I did not intend to offend or dodge your question.

All I was stating was why I am thinking crowdfunded points work as a cooler option over up front payment to give people another tool in the chest.

Otherwise, all we have here on this thread is upfront payment is the best tride and true way to complete a film. (Which just isn't the case these days with the internet, low budget equipment, and computer programs.) In fact, to a low budget indie, it may even be a barrier to entry into the business.

Now if I was offered an upfront payment, of course. I would take it. But if the Producer/Director really wants help, and I like the project, I would be willing to wait on crowdfunding.
 
Last edited:

Maxsdad

Member
There IS no "right" answer. I produced a REALLY BAD music video for free (think "A Flock of Seagulls" bad) with a REALLY bad singer for Warner Records in the 80's because I got to work with Cinematographer Jim Crabe. I acted in a play for free (it was black box theater) at the old L.A. Theater Center because I got to be the killer and beat the shit out of fellow actor Gerry Petievich. And I worked on "The Coyote Cycle" at Paramount Ranch for free because the actress who took her top off at the waterfall scene was... well, never mind. Some things I've been paid for (not as many as I'd like), many things I've done for free. If someone off Craig's List offers me "residual pay as the film makes money", they BETTER also be tossing in dinner and a kiss goodnight because we KNOW what they have planned, and it ain't going to be pretty. But if someone I know or like or admire, like the fine folks on "indietalk" ("cheeky self promotion" not intentional... okay, maybe a little) asked for my help, I'd do it because helping people feels good and the people on indietalk KNOW and appreciate the value of one's time and aren't going to waste it (Harmonica 44 not withstanding) Getting paid or not all depends on whether you NEED the money, or whether you get enough personal satisfaction out of a job to compensate for your time. Speaking solely for me, I'm old, retired, and don't need the money. Feed me, keep a cup of HOT coffee in my hand, and I'm happy as Larry.
 
Last edited:

Top