Your series has been sold to the network and you get to guide it creatively and nurture it. It’s like having a baby and putting it up for an open adoption. You will take care of it everyday, but will not own it. You can love it, take care of it, but at the end of the day the adopted parents will make all of the life’s decisions.
How can you reap more? If you are Dan Povenmoire, of “Phinneas and Ferb” fame, he quadruple, quintuple dips into the production to get this fair share because he is not getting any points (percentage of the gross profits) from Disney. A year ago he spoke to my USC grad class about his adventures in having a successful series.
Dan told the students at the beginning of the class that they need to have multiple talents, then he told the story of how he got the show sold – finally sold I should say after so many years of pitching it.
Dan was working storyboards at Disney and the exec in charge wanted to get an insider’s view of the “Family Guy,” which Dan had worked on. “Family Guy” is a board written show. At the end of the meeting the exec asked if Dan had any series ideas. Just so happened he had “Phinneas and Ferb” to pitch. What a break. The exec loved it and put it into the Disney system almost immediately. Ultimately it got green lit during a time when nothing had been green lit at the Disney Channel in a couple of years. What a coupe.
But Dan and his partner, Swampy Marsh, had to sell the idea to Disney and have no more attachment other than being part of the production.
He advised my class that you need to have several talents to make the bucks in this situation. He produces the show, storyboards and writes the show, writes the featured song for each episode, he is involved in the production of the songs, he is one of the voices and seems to be prepared to do anything that will give him another paycheck from the production. This seems exhausting to listening, but Dan seemed energized by the whole process.
He should be. He is one of the animation heroes.