I enjoy chatting with folks who say hello through my meebo chat widget. I wish I could stay logged in all the time. Unfortunately, that’s impossible, so sometimes people leave me questions on the widget, but they don’t always provide an e-mail address or other contact info, so I have no way of responding to them personally.
Hence, from time to time I’ll be posting answers to questions folks have left me. Here’s the latest.
Question: Our publicity person on our independent film is asking 1/3 of the profits. Is that reasonable? He has a proven track record in internet marketing.
Answer: While I don’t think it’s very common for a publicist to get a back-end deal, it’s not altogether unheard of. Obviously, the circumstances surrounding the production, marketing, and distribution of a film are different for every project. If a publicist is providing unit publicity on a union production, then union rates and rules apply and must be stated clearly, along with any mutually agreed upon and allowable exceptions, in the deal memo prior to the publicist beginning work. Non-union productions afford much more flexibility for negotiating creative deals with publicists. You and your executive producers will have to decide on what’s reasonable. Consulting with an entertainment attorney may also be a good idea.