Structuring Backend Deals: How Crews Can Become Invested In Your Project

Hosted by Maria Tanjala and Irina Albita

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Maria Tanjala and Irina Albita

Webinar hosted by: Maria Tanjala and Irina Albita

Co-Founders at Big Couch UK

Maria Tanjala developed her area of expertise as Production Manager and 1st AD, while writing scripts and directing shorts. Maria is the co-founder of Big Couch. She graduated from Filmmaking MA at East15 and was awarded the Most Promising Filmmaker for her short film “Goneril”. Maria has a degree in Sociology and is passionate about activism and actions that have a social impact. She feeds on good films, from global cinema. She is a member of the prestigious BAFTA Crew network since 2015.Irina Albita has vast experience in the technology startup space, growing several tech-startups with a focus on online-marketplaces. Irina has a mathematics and computer science background and a Masters in Management and Finance from the London School of Economics. At Big Couch, she advises independent filmmakers on finance plans and cost-optimisation methods. Full Bio »

‘The Full Monty’ is a great film, and there’s no doubt that audiences and critics equally love it. What made “The Full Monty” different besides winning awards at Oscar and Bafta? To compensate for the lower production fees, crews were invested in the film. With a budget of £3mil and a gross profit of £170mil, 17 years later, crews are still receiving cheques through the post. “Frances Ha”; “Star Wars” and “Scenes from a Marriage” are proofs of how back-end deals have been applied all over the world to optimise cash budgets and incentivise film participants. This model has also been known as crewfunding. 

Shared economy concepts have proved to be very successful with other industries. Just look at companies such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Uber and Airbnb and the real value they create for their users. During the webinar we will explain how crews can become invested in a project and how back-end deals can be structured in a safe and transparent manner, where everyone’s interests are aligned. We believe funding resources can be democratised and empower the people around us to contribute. Who can be a better finance partner than the hard-working crews attached to the project?

We will further discuss how crewfunding is a key financial model for independent films, how carefully crafted back-end deal contracts are enabling the crew in the safest and most transparent manner to become investors in the film and how to build a transparent communication and reporting system with the crew once the film is finalised.


What You'll Learn:

  • The purpose and benefits of having crews as profit participants in your film
  • What is crewfunding?
  • How crewfunding can be of help to get your film off the ground.
  • Kind of projects that typically do crewfunding
  • Back-end deal options available to producers
  • How to structure crewfunding into your finance structure.
  • Best practices for positioning crewfunding in your recoupment schedule/waterfall.
  • How you, your production partners and your investors benefit of having crewfunding in place for your project.
  • The simple process of aligning investors and financiers with crewfunding
  • How to successfully recruit crews on back-end deals.
  • How to negotiate and communicate the offers with agents.
  • How to distribute a pool of profit points among the crew? A simple calculation process to be discussed.
  • What are the risks of back-end deals without a clear legal set-up in place.
  • Legal aspects to keep in mind for a seamless engagement with the crew
  • Integrating crews as Beneficiaries in the Collection Account Management Agreement
  • Building a transparent communication and reporting system with the crew once the film is finalised.
  • How to leverage crews’ vested interest in the project to further endorse the project.
  • Q&A with Irina and Maria

About Your Instructor:

Maria Tanjala developed her area of expertise as Production Manager and 1st AD, while writing scripts and directing shorts. Maria is the co-founder of Big Couch. She graduated from Filmmaking MA at East15 and was awarded the Most Promising Filmmaker for her short film “Goneril”. Maria has a degree in Sociology and is passionate about activism and actions that have a social impact. She feeds on good films, from global cinema. She is a member of the prestigious BAFTA Crew network since 2015.

Irina Albita has vast experience in the technology startup space, growing several tech-startups with a focus on online-marketplaces. Irina has a mathematics and computer science background and a Masters in Management and Finance from the London School of Economics. At Big Couch, she advises independent filmmakers on finance plans and cost-optimisation methods.


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