Big week(end) for LiToM! Things are really heating up, especially in the funding department. In lieu of this, the Tri-Beard Council (or TBC-our new name for ourselves) got together to talk turkey. The big question: "Once this movie gets funded and made, makes a pile of money (of course!), how do we deal with the profits?" A lot of people think they can wait to talk about this; they figure (especially when dealing with friends) that everything will be split up "fairly" at some undisclosed point in the future. Makes sense, right? I mean everyone is excited just to be making a movie in the first place, why should they have to worry about dividing up money before they even get into pre-production? Isn't that really just counting your chickens before they hatch?
Basically, it is. Unfortunately what happens if you don't figure it out ahead of time is that later down the road, when real money is involved, everyone's idea of "fair" turns out to be different. And at that point feelings get hurt, people feel ripped off and lawyers get involved. Those friendships you valued to get you through the process very well might get blown up for good. I have heard horror stories from entertainment lawyers who have been in the room with lifelong friends suing the pants off each other, trying to get a few extra scraps of money. Trust me, when money gets involved, the results ain't always pretty.
So it's a VERY good idea to take anyone who might involved with profits down the road and make sure everybody is on the same page. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it's a vital step to a healthy business relationship. Think about it, if you were hiring someone for the crew, you would discuss terms, come to an agreement, then sign paperwork. The same process should apply to "Above the line" people as well. Once you come to terms with your fellow profit-sharers, you get some contracts written up, and sign those puppies. Then you don't have to worry about it, and you can get to the most important and fun part of the process, ACTUALLY MAKING THE MOVIE!
Personally, I'm glad the TBC got this stuff figured out early, because who wants to see a bro-mance like this ruined over money?