1. Do Not Lie
Your word and reputation are priceless commodities in an industry riddled with hype and lying wannabes. Be truthful no matter the consequences and you will stand out as a person of integrity.
For example, do not tell sales agents you have an actor attached, when you do not. The truth eventually catches up with you and you may face: losing your credibility, being permanently shunned by the actor and/or her agent, and/or may have a legal claim filed against you for having made the misrepresentation.
2. Do Not Steal
If it is not yours, then do not take it be it an idea, an equity contact, a piece of equipment, or otherwise.
For example, someone shares an idea for a screenplay with you, which you usurp, rationalizing that it happens all the time or, in fact, has happened to you. If you are completely passionate about the idea and you cannot get it out of your system, then ask the disclosing party if he would mind partnering up with you. If the disclosing party declines, despite your passion for the project, move on knowing that the Universe is full of ideas ready for the picking. If you go on and steal the idea, you may not able to warrant and represent that the idea is wholly original to you, when called upon to do so. Furthermore, the disclosing party may file a legal claim against you for breach of an implied contract.
3. Be Fair/Do Not Be Greedy
People tend to assert their power in a deal when they are in the power position. Avoid the temptation to squeeze the last penny, or deal term, out of a negotiation if the aforementioned does not affect you negatively, and if it is going to result in someone being treated unfairly. Remember, everyone has to work together when the deal is done. Resentment is going to permeate your relationship with the unfairly treated party; it is virtually impossible to have a positive working relationship with someone who resents you.
4. Do Not Gossip
Gossip can ruin a person’s career, business relationships and personal life. Do not succumb to the temptation to gossip, even if the information is based in fact, because everyone (you included) has done, or will do, something regretful. If you decide to proceed, remember that the gossiper rarely makes a good impression: the person with whom you share the gossip will wonder if you will ever do the same to her, and you may be perceived as a liar, back stabber and petty person.
5. Treat People The Way You Want To Be Treated
You need as many people in your corner as possible when you are on the rise. Treat everyone from the assistant to the studio executive with respect, kindness and honesty. People may put up with arrogance and attitude from a director whose movies gross over $100 million dollars at the box office, but they do not have to tolerate the same from a nobody. In other words, be the kind of person people want to know and with whom they want to work.
Also, the assistants and the junior agents are the gatekeepers for the people to whom you need access. Make allies of the gatekeepers by being pleasant and sensitive to the stresses of their job. They will be more apt to assist you if you are friendly and respectful to them. It is also important for you to note that the assistant to whom you are speaking today may be the studio executive with the ability to green light your picture tomorrow.
7. Lend A Helping Hand
Function as if opportunity is abundant and it will be so. Share information and contacts when called to do so. It is perfectly acceptable to decline this request if this referral is going to be detrimental to you i.e., the referral will reflect badly on you.
8. Keep Your Commitments
People tend to make commitments they do not honor for a myriad of selfish reasons. You need to be able to depend on people just as much as they need to depend on you. Keep your word unless the object of your promise is illegal, immoral, or likely to harm someone other than yourself. If you decide that you cannot keep your commitment, then be mature and up front about it so that the other party can make other arrangements.
9. Give Back
The Universe is like a saving account --you have to make deposits if you want continue making withdrawals. Make time to share your accomplishments with others: be a mentor, make referrals, executive produce a film for an up-and-coming filmmaker, give to charity, be a speaker at your child’s school career day, etc.
Working in the film industry is full of complications and stress. Why complicate matters further by being dishonest, undignified and unfair? Approach your business dealings from a positive place and you are more likely to succeed, and enjoy your success.
This article is not a complete review of the subject matter and, as such, the reader should not make decisions on the basis of the above without consulting with an attorney. You may also contact the author for any query concerning this article : [email protected]
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