Are you bringing any talent to the table? No, I’m not being mean. I mean do you have any talent attached to your show.
If your show revolves around a specific person, it could be in your best interest to enter into a legal partnership agreement with them before you begin pitching your show.
But, like most things in life, there can be an upside and a downside to this type of deal and you need to be prepared.
The upside is it gives more control in the selling process. You are coming to the Production Companies and Broadcasters with more than just an idea; you are coming in with full access to this person’s life, business, and story.
Not only does this make it easier for the Production Company and Broadcaster to envision the show being made, it helps in all aspects of building the pitch. You have full access to any topical information you need and gains access for shooting any promotional materials. Basically, this person’s business is now at your disposal and as you build your pitch materials you will find there is huge value in that.
On the downside, if the Broadcaster likes the show idea but doesn’t like the talent attached to the show they could cast someone else. And if you don’t prepare for this, any fees rendered from the sale and/or production of the show would still need to be split with the partner, who is now doing nothing. So, your deal needs to include that if the Broadcaster wants to cast someone else, the partnership is dissolved.
You must ensure that if your partner does not end up being the talent that the show can still be made. Remember this is YOUR show, and you need to be able to sell it even if the Broadcaster wants someone else in front of the camera.
You also want to prepare for them being the talent and you losing control of your show. It is not uncommon for first time show creators to give up creative control to make the sale, and in this case, it would be a shame for the talent you brought in to be making all the money off your show years down the road while you are getting nothing.
Note: the talent will be paid appearance or hosting fees for being in front of the camera. As the creator you will generally not be entitled to any of these fees. However, any other fees (backend) he or she may make needs to be split; typically 50/50, depending on your agreement. So be sure to ask your lawyer about that.
If you decide to enter into a deal like this it is important that you get it all in writing. This is the time when you might want to spend some money to get an entertainment lawyer to draw up the paperwork.
Entering into an agreement like this can be good, especially if this is your first show, but you always need to be sure that you are prepared, in control, and calling the shots.
This is YOUR show, not the other way around. You are bringing that talent in to help sell YOUR idea, and that means you need to make sure at all times that you know more about the show and more about the business than they do.
At the end of the day, if you are attaching talent to your show, you want to make sure that you have covered your ass and have prepared for different scenarios to protect you and your show. Preparing for all these scenarios and making sure they work for you is the one of the many talents that you need to bring to the table.