Staying connected isn’t always fun like in warm and fuzzy commercials when it comes to movie, film points, deferred pay deals aka back end pay and distribution money. All filmmakers, actors and crew have creative passion, but they also have to earn from their craft to pay their bills.
Indie filmmakers depend on earning movie distribution money whether they are self-distributing or have signed a film distribution agreement with a company. The financial clock for indie filmmakers is always ticking LOUD.
They have to pay back film investors with interest or if it’s their own money they usually can’t afford not to at very least break even. There is even more pressure if your main film investors are family and close friends. You don’t want to let people down who are major parts of your life.
You never want to let down film investors either, but they know investing money to make a movie is a risk just like stocks. The upside is you don’t have to see them if you lose their money. The downside is they will never invest in another one of your films.
Money to make movies is hard to come by in the world of indie cinema. When you get money to make a movie go all out to finish your film and get it distributed ASAP. Get your share of movie distribution money in this entertainment gold rush.
Indie filmmakers are constantly under the gun to perform and generate movie distribution money. At least that goes for most of the indie filmmakers I know. They love making movies like I do, but we all have to earn a living.
The money pressure of producing an indie film is where film points and deferred pay deals look attractive to indie filmmakers. Typically indie producers take all the financial risk upfront. This means they pay actors and crew for their efforts.
Sometimes it’s deliciously tempting for an indie movie producer to think about offering film points or deferred pay deals in hopes of taking that saved movie budget money upfront and using it to make the production bigger in many different ways.
By giving out film points (a certain size slice of the financial film pie) you are connected to actors and crew who received film points for the entire selling run of a movie. That could be twenty years or even longer depending if connects with new generations or becomes a bona fide cult classic.
A film points deal takes a lot extra work and precious time to keep track of how to split the movie money earned from domestic and international distribution sales. You’ll have to play accountant, keep track of who gets how much and how to get to them. That’s a lot of work taking away from you working on your next movie project.
A deferred pay deal at least has a definite ending point. You’re only financially linked to actors and crew for as long as it takes you to pay them the money parties agreed on in the deferred pay deal agreement for working on the movie.
In either the case of offering film points or deferred pay deals some people who work in indie cinema are rolling stones. This means you will have to keep in touch on any new mailing addresses, phone numbers and emails.
If an actor or crew member ends up going off the grid or living overseas it’s still your job to make sure they get paid. If you can’t find them you have to hold onto to that money in case they pop up and say, “Hey, where is my money?” It’s seems like a pain in the ass job for an indie filmmaker to take on.
On a deferred pay deal when actors and crew are paid in full you’re done being an accountant and worrying about staying connected The way a film points deal is framed this financial dance goes on until the film stops making movie distribution money. Offering film points, deferred pay deals and movie distribution money are things that indie filmmakers really need to think long and hard on.