A Personal Co-Production Dialogue
M: Oh dear. I am coming back from the cottage on Monday – trying to avoid the rush hour traffic. The 400 is “red” on Sunday’s – isn’t that what you call highways that have really bad traffic - so everyone takes Monday off too. But I’d love to hear what’s going on... let’s do it the week after.
E: Mary the expression is actually a “red day” not just the one highway - it affects the whole country...
M: OK. I will talk to you then about the project. I really love it.
E: HI Mary, ca va?
M: Actually I have a sore throat. Air conditioning too high.
E: Mary, Cartoon Forum asked me to do a key note about ‘co-productions’ in Ottawa – will you help me?
M: You mean tell them all the boring details of how co-production treaty’s work and why no one uses twinning anymore?
E: No no we have to make it somewhat entertaining, I was thinking more about a conversation about our experience.
M: So more like a ‘case study’ - how our experiences worked and the struggles of trans-Atlantic cross-cultural communication? French-Anglo relations. We Canadians understand that really well.
E: Sure, stories of us trying to work together over the past 15 years – all those times we had arguments. That’s gotta be real information for people.
M: Do we really want to go into our dirty laundry for the sake of a speech? Do you have that expression in French? Dirty laundry? Lavage sale? My French is so bad. It could be funny - what with you being French and all.
E: And you being Canadian and all.
M: It’s the layering thing. Culture. And then personality on top of it. And your personality.
E: I will take that as a complement. Should I tell everyone what year I started at Nelvana and that this is actually our 20th anniversary and that the 15 year thing is an illusion.
M: Emmanuèle, I thought you were my friend.
M: This is just going to depress everybody.
E: By the way Mary, I’d like to discuss the deal. We need to discuss the main terms just so we’re clear and see that this co-pro can work.
M: Sure; let’s Skype.
E: Oh please no. Well, we’ve tried that. As you know. And well. The sound goes. And well the picture goes and I’d say let’s just do it on the telephone. As usual. Or if you really want to - we can Skype for the picture and use the phone for the voice.
M: Let’s just use the phone then.
E: And to be honest it’s a bad hair day:
M: OK. Let’s talk about the budget first – what were your thoughts?
E: I had a look at it and I just don’t understand how the executive producer fees are so high?
M: (starting to get upset) do you think I am paying myself too much money? Is that what this is about? I thought you were my friend? Next you are going to tell me you want to work with a Quebec producer. You know you speak the same language. You laugh at the same jokes. Do they love Jerry Lewis in Quebec too????
E: (backing off) It’s OK. It’s OK. I am sure they are standard fees. Let’s discuss that later. And Mary, can I ask you a question: how come we have the smaller piece of the budget and the larger amount of work? Remember there’s something called the “social charges” in France; that’s an extra 55% in addition to the base salaries??!! AND don’t forget we’re losing the French super bonus because of you!
M: What’s the super bonus? Sounds like a lottery? Why because of me??!!
E: Well, the CNC, French government isn’t supporting Canadian co-pros anymore. So they give extra money to productions made 100% in France.
M: OK. The French government isn’t helping us. Any other thoughts on the budget?