Producing : Taking a Meeting by Michael W. Orick

Michael W. Orick

Taking a Meeting

My kids TV series has attracted the interest of a high level producer.  He's read the treatment and pilot script, and now wants to meet with me via Zoom to discuss how to make the project more attractive to production companies!

Very exciting, but these are uncharted waters for me.  Any advice on what questions to ask, or anticipate being asked during the meeting?   Greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Patrick McCullough

I'm more in features, but I would assume, he would ask how much more of the concept you've developed, towards a "bible". He may want to know where else you've shown it. Do you have a pitch deck or sizzle reel? Basically, what elements can you supply him with so he can better help you. Even picking out images and video clips that give a sense of what the show will be about can help him. Are there any attachments (actors, director, etc)? This last thought might come up: He also might want to know if you are willing to let a more experienced Showrunner/Writer take over. Either way, I suggest making sure you are a writer on the show. Good luck!

Richard "RB" Botto

I would ask about his contacts. Where he sees the show being a fit. What attracted him to the show? What the market is for the material.

Nick Waters

Congrats Michael W. Orick! I second what RB said. Also, assuming this meeting goes well and you want to move forward with this producer, I'd start to familiarize yourself with how option agreements work and what to look out for in a deal. I highly recommend this webinar that goes over the ins and outs of deals: https://www.stage32.com/webinars/Understanding-Option-Agreements-for-Film-and-Television

Keep us posted!

Dan MaxXx

Dont give idea for free.

Maurice Vaughan

Congratulations on your series attracting the interest of a high-level producer, Michael W. Orick! Hope you crush the meeting! :D

Sam Sokolow

Hi Michael - some great advice here already. I would advise that the meeting is a two way street. I would ask as many questions as you answer. RB’s questions below for sure - who are their best contacts and how do they see the show progressing, etc. Also ask what a win looks like for him - what is his perfect business model and how can your show fit in to it for the best chance of success if you partner with him.

Richard "RB" Botto

Great advice, Sam

Michael W. Orick

Patrick McCullough - Great advice! Thank you! I'm working on a pitch deck now - no time for getting a sizzle reel done by next week.

@Richard "RB" Botto - Copied and pasted your great questions. Thanks!

@Nick Waters - Thanks, Nick! I'll check out the webinar.

@Maurice Vaughan - Thanks Maurice!

@Sam Sokolow - I like the idea of making the meeting a dialogue, with questions coming from both directions. I especially like the questions, "How does he see the show progressing?, What does a win looks like?, and... What is the best chance of success if we partner.?" Much thanks!

Maurice Vaughan

You're welcome, Michael W. Orick.

Patrick McCullough

Good luck, Michael W. Orick!

Richard "RB" Botto

Most welcome, Michael. Let us know how you make out!

Shadow Dragu-Mihai, Esq

Michael W. Orick As RB said early on, ask about his contacts. You characterize him as a "high level producer" but have you done your background research on him? This meet is an opportunity for you to interview him and find out what he can actually do with the project, what his real interest is and what he would want to get out of it. Also Dan Maxx mentioned don't give away ideas for free. Let me say without qualification that is good advice and that in 30+ years in the industry, the ONLY people who have stolen or openly plagiarized work I have been associated with are "high level" and major industry producers. So, the order of the day is Non Disclosure Agreement and if you didn't have one signed before sending him your materials already, you should have one before this meeting - so that HE can be open about HIS information with you without fear you will end-run him, as well as you being assured that he will not use your material without you being involved. No legitimate producer will ever, ever, ever balk at signing an NDA and if they do it's more than a red flag.

Michael W. Orick

@Shadow Dragu-Mihai, Esq - Thank you for the thoughtful and helpful advice. I understand there's always a concern about writers having their work stolen or plagiarized, but I see no upside for this person to do that. He simply doesn't need the risk or headache. That said, after the meeting's opening niceties, I will suggest that we sign an NDA. I have looked into this producer's background and body of work. Let's just say that he has lots of production cred with a major HW director.

Michael W. Orick

Okay, the heat is still on! I've met twice (Zoom) with the producer, and we've exchanged notes via email for getting a pitch deck done for the project. From my POV, he seems genuinely interested in shepherding the project and getting it ready to present to potential buyers. Pinch me, please!

Maurice Vaughan

Sounds great, Michael W. Orick! Hope it leads to a sell! Keep us posted!

Stefano Pavone

Try to predict what questions the powers that be may ask - put yourself in their shoes. What are their FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)? Try to come up with answers based on those predictions. :)

Maurice Vaughan

Great advice, Stefano! I can use it too. Thanks!

Richard "RB" Botto

Great news, Michael! Hope it moves forward in the manner you'd prefer. Of course, if any questions come up along the way, you obviously have a tremendous support system here.

Michael W. Orick

Richard "RB" Botto Thank you! Indeed, the expert advice and support here is amazing!

Richard "RB" Botto

Love hearing that, Michael. My team works tirelessly and with boundless passion. Appreciate your recognizing all the efforts.

Michael W. Orick

Does anyone have experience and/or advice on creating an agreement with a graphic designer to help me with developing graphics for the pitch deck on this project? I've spoken with one designer who's interested. I made it clear to him that I cannot fully compensate him for his work on the front end, but am open to doing so if/when the producer who's interested in the project options or buys the rights to it. We both agree that we should have some sort of contract outlining the agreement.

Amanda Toney

Hey Michael, since it's so preliminary in the process I imagine creating a pdf something like:

Agreement

This is a work for hire agreement for John Doe (Graphic Designer) to create a pitch deck for Michael W. Orick at a negotiated rate and payment.

John Doe is responsible for delivering:

-10 page pitch deck in pdf format by xyz date

- all graphics included in the deck

- design work

- Invoice for work

Michael W. Orick is responsible for delivering:

- copy for pitch deck by xyz date

- $x reduced negotiated rate to be paid upfront by xyz date via Venmo

- If project is optioned by NAME OF PRODUCER, Michael agrees to pay Graphic Designer full rate of $xyz within 5 days of receipt of funds from the producer.

Put both your names & addresses on it & signature lines and send it through something like Dropboxsign or Docusign so it's legally binding. Obviously clean it up and make it much more comprehensive than what I did here, but I hope you get my point.

Again, this seems like it is in a very preliminary stage so you want to make sure that you guys are protected in terms of upfront deliverables for each other and clearly map out what the expectations are. You want to make sure that he doesn't claim any ownership of the project itself, but more for his graphic design services.

Keep us posted on how it goes!

Dane Johnson

A pitch deck is obviously important for a motion picture project’s success. But it’s not part of the picture for purposes of qualifying as a “work for hire” under the Copyright Act. That’s why an agreement like this should also include an assignment of all rights to the producer. A free resource that may be helpful is the AIGA’s Standard Form of Agreement for Design Services.

Michael W. Orick

Dane, thank you for sharing your thoughts and expertise! I'm not entirely clear what the phrase, "... assignment of all rights to the producer" means, but I'll take a look at the link you provided.

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