As stated in the article What's the difference between a sales agent and a distributor, one of the most common questions I get is What does a producer’s Rep Do? Since that post teaches the major distribution players are by type, [you should read it first.] I will now thoroughly answer what a producer’s rep does.
Simply put, a Producer’s rep is a mix between a PMD and an executive producer. A Producer’s Rep takes on a lot of the business development jobs for a film. We wear a lot of hats. Most often we'll connect filmmakers with completed projects to sales agents and negotiate the best possible deal. We're skilled negotiators with a deep knowledge of the film distribution scene, and entrenched connections there.
Would you Rather Watch than Read? Here's a video I did on the same general topic for my YouTube Channel.
If a producer's rep comes on in the beginning, we’ll do the job of an executive producer. We'll help you finance the film in the best way possible. not just through equity investment, but planning proper utilization of tax incentives, pre-sales, crowdfunding, occasional product placement, and sometimes help connecting you to some of our angel contacts. That said, if we’ve never met, you have no track record, and want us to start raising money for you, that probably won’t happen.
Not all producer’s reps will work with first-time directors and producers, I will, but generally only on completion or near the end of post-production. I will not help someone who I have not worked with before garner investment for their projects, except in very limited circumstances. I will help filmmakers get their financial mix in order. If a rep makes connections for investment, we need to know the filmmakers I'm working with can deliver a quality product and get our investment contacts their money back.
Related: What's the difference between a sales agent and a Distributor?
In a lot of ways, we’re agents for producers and films. Good reps, like good agents, won’t just think about this project, they’ll help you use your projects to move to the next step in your career.
So how do you pay a Producer’s Rep? Since the services we offer are so varied, our pay scale is as well. Some things are based primarily on commission. Sometimes that commission will come with a small[ish] non-refundable deposit that would be things like connecting to distribution. That commission is generally around 10%, but can range between 5-15%. Some things [like document and plan creation] are a flat fee, others are hourly plus commission on completion. That would apply primarily to packaging.
It is worth noting that not all producers reps are trustworthy. There are some that charge 5 figures up front with no guarantee of performance. Admittedly, no one can guarantee they can sell your film, or get it financed investment. If they guarantee it and ask for a large upfront payment, you should be very wary of them. However, there are some with a strong track record of doing so. Just as you would when talking with sales agents, talk to people who have worked with them in the past.
Most reps will give you a discount based on doing multiple services. Remember to check last week's post for an idea of what each major player in indiefilm distribution Does!
Want to talk to a practicing producer's rep with a track record of success after reading that article? Then sign up for a FREE Hour long strategy session with me! I'll help you figure out where you are, and how to get to where you're going. Act fast, this offer won't be around forever.
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6/10/2016 05:24:46 pm
To think that non-brokering tasks are based on just deceptive "success fees" is not only ridiculous but assumes borrower will be guaranteed of performing in meeting funding approval criteria. Because 95% can't nationwide is probably is why most film producers make no effort to actually contact investment bankers.
6/10/2016 06:05:14 pm
I agree, but many filmmakers do expect reps to work for free. Some of the people taking five figure paychecks largely for brokerage fees are part of the problem, as they muddy the waters for the rest of us who need to charge for certain services in order to continue doing business.
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My name is Ben, I'm an Entrepreneur, Producer's Rep, and Author. I'm the founder of Guerrilla Rep Media, Co-Founder/CMO of ProductionNext, and founder of Producer Foundry. Together, the organizations seek to help make filmmaking a more economically sustainable endeavor. I am dysic, I have capitalization issues, and the blogs are often unedited. opinions all my own.
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