making partnershipsA friend of mine commented the other day that they had read a blog I’d written saying “do not share a percentage of your show with anyone under any circumstances”. Yet they also know that I just entered into a partnership with another show creator.

“So which is it?” they asked. Good question.

In the blog entitled ‘Sharing Points on Your Show’, what I meant was:

– if someone designs artwork for your website, don’t offer them a percentage of your show.

– if someone shoots and edits a Teaser for you, don’t offer them a percentage of your show.

– if someone offers you advice, or does any kind of service work (like the two examples above) do not offer them a percentage of your show!

Offering a percentage on a show is different than forming a partnership.

Todd and I have a partnership for this website because he knows the business of websites and I know the business of TV. We complement each other and without each other’s continued expertise and work (note the word “continued”) we would both have100% of nothing.

I recently went into a partnership on a show with a person because he had a great idea for a show and is an expert on the subject. What he didn’t know was how to turn it into something he could pitch, and even if he did he couldn’t find anyone that would take his calls.

So, he has the idea and expertise, and I know how to build the show so it’s ready to pitch AND I know the right people to pitch it to – so I pick up work where he leaves off and we take it to the finish line.

In both those examples the long-range plan is if we join forces the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I could not make the website without Todd, nor he without me. I could not make this other show without my new partner, nor him without me.

Forming a partnership is not the same as getting artwork or editing done. Once that work is done, that guy’s job is finished. That’s not a partner, that’s a service provider.

So I think that’s straight now.

So regarding the partnership, if you need someone to get you to the finish line, that is someone to partner with. And that partnership needs to be fair to both parties. Don’t be greedy.

Depending on how far along the project is it won’t always warrant being split 50/50 but it should generally be something close to that. Nobody wants to enter into a partnership where the other guy gets 80%. And if you demand an 80/20 split and the guy says no? Well then you own 100% of nothing. Big whoop.

If you are going to enter into a partnership you must draw up a deal stating what the project is and who owns how much.  You should never go into negotiations with a production company or broadcaster and not know who owns what in your partnership.

This needs to be written down in contract form, and signed and dated by both of you. This is a professional business and you and your prospective partner need to treat it as such. Money conversations with prospective business partners are necessary and you shouldn’t be shy about talking it.

Be professional, thorough, and fair. Remember, if things go according to plan, you’ll be working with this partner for a long time.

So, bottom line. Partnerships can be good. Giving percentages of your show for service work is still bad.

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