Entertainment Magazine

Tips for Negotiating in the Entertainment Industry

Posted on the 20 June 2011 by Dkentertainment @TheDKE
In the entertainment industry there is a lot of negotiating that goes on behind the scenes to bring together the things we enjoy like going to the movies.  Most of the negotiating takes place over contracts with the studios, actor’s, and director specifically and this can be a tough process.  A recent example is Hugh Jackman’s current negotiations to play a role in “Les Miserables” (click here for the article).  Some of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to these negotiations are entertainment lawyers.  I recently got a lot of great negotiating tips from an entertainment lawyer Edward Elkins who practices in the state of Florida.  Here is some information about him from his site:
Mr. Elkins has been interviewed for articles regarding the entertainment business and entertainment law by MSN, Smallerbox.net, and StartupGrowthExpert.com.  Mr. Elkins has published more than 100 legal articles online including the Entertainment Law Articles “The Day the Mouse Got Away: The Walt Disney Company’s Character Copyright Challenges and the Law that Mickey Built” and “In The Money: The Pirating of Music on Websites, Its Prevention, and How the Industry is Able to Make Money from it”.
For more information about Mr. Elkins, a link to his site and blog are provided at the bottom of this article. 
Some of the best things to remember when going into a negotiation is what exactly do you want from the deal, and also what does the other party want?  Then you need to weigh certain factors like role, possible leverage, and affiliation.  A persons role plays a big part in negotiations, especially in terms of negotiating with actors because getting a deal done with an up and coming actor is a lot easier than someone like Brad Pitt.  When you stick with the same scenario in terms of affiliation Brad Pitt is more likely to negotiate a movie deal with an established production studio as opposed to one with less affiliation. 
Some ways to help you when negotiating deals with these scenarios is possible leverage and a BATNA.  Leverage can be hard to obtain in these situations unless your Brad Pitts 2nd cousin, but anything is better than nothing.  Another way of helping you in negotiations is having a BATNA, which is basically your back up plan.  If you have another actor picked out for the part that wants to be in your movie, then this may help you get Brad Pitt because you will go into the negotiation more confident knowing even if you can’t come to an agreement you have another option.
Mr. Elkins also has a lot of great tips in his blog, and this article is especially helpful for first time negotiators. 
Sources
http://edwardelkins.com/
http://thefilmstage.com/2011/06/15/hugh-jackman-negotiating-for-lead-role-in-les-miserables/

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