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advice on animation deal

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advice on animation deal

Hello, I am from Mexico. I created a cartoon character and friends and I`ve been aproached by a company interested on entering a deal for development for an animation series. I have created almost a complete pitch bible, I have story lines, all the character personalities, web site and art. They offer a partnership in which we split earnigns BUT they say they want all the rigths and not to pay anything at first because I am not famous. I figure that they at least should pay something because I have spent money developing the concept as it is and from there, they can go direcly into developing a pilot for the series, and also I think this should prove that they are serious and intend to develop it and not leaving it behind other projects and is also kind of an insurance policy for me in case they do nothing with it.What should I ask at least?

This is not really an animation matter, just common sense. The very concept of business is that you give something and get something in return. That company doesn't really sound serious. I mean, They want you to trust them, then why not the other way around? At least you have something to show, and they don't.

It smells like a rip-off to me.
You haven't consulted a lawyer on this, have you?

If they want a "partnership" and to "split earnings" but want ALL the rights because you are not someone famous--then there's something very wrong with that offer.
Your fame, lack of it or whatever, is not an issue here. If they want all the rights to your creation, then they should be prepared to offer up something for those rights before anything else proceeds.
Splitting "earnings" could mean splitting ONE DOLLAR after creative accounting practises take in to account expenses, loses and other factors.
They are offering you a partnership, but they want control of all the cards--that doesn't make sense.
Do you have creative control? Do you have any say in the process--and veto?
What do you do? What do you get out of what is essentially YOUR property at the start of this--unless you sign it over to them.
If they were truly serious, they'd offer money up front--because they'd have money up front.
As it stands, they want your idea, but they are not willing to put up the risk to accquire it intially--not a good sign.
If they can only offer nebulous "partnerships" and split the earnings AFTER THE FACT--then, in my opinion, this is not a sensible deal to pursue.

I would insist upon money up front--not a whole amount, but a percentage, and if the insistence is on them holding all the rights, then insist upon receiving a royalty, 2-3% of the GROSS profits from the project before all other factors are accounted in addition to a signing amount. I'd estimate the initial value of the property then go 30% of that value on signing the deal, 30% within one month after start of production, and the last 30% on broadcast or publication. The agreed royalties would kick in after six months of broadcast and be handled by a mutually agreed independant accounting firm. You need to be very careful how you manage this thing because its very easy to be ignorant of the situation and be taken or conned out of what you are due.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

negotiate hard


try to negotiate hard these kinds of things happen,try to get some cash up front or later gross profit is good but its like a mirage in the ask for cash and if the the ratings are good then u will make money other wise u won't so keep that in mind.

i have sent u a private message also

good luck


Blanca this sounds extremely dodgy. you def need to talk to a lawyer and get some help. i dont know how things work in your neck of the woods but they def should give you some kind of money now or an explicit clause stating when you recieve payments.
do not sign for any kind of a net profit sharing agreement. thats a SCREW position. you will never see more than a few cents. make sure it is a gross sharing agreement and that you clearly differentiate different kinds of rights i.e. merchandise, licensing, home video, new media etc.
also do some research find out what kind of an operator they are? if they are a big enough company that can produce then they are trying to take away control of your product for peanuts. if they dont have money or track record then its a 50:50. they might want to begin a series but have enough only to pay for production.
in any case make sure you guard your interests all times. do not get misled by short term cash or the DEAL sign and sign away your control
in the end control is everything.

Thank You All For Your Advice

Thanks a lot for taking the time to respond me. Thanks Ken for the long explanation. When I received that offer from this big company I did not like it. It felt wrong but then I started to doubt, because what if this is my chance!!!. But yes, I will insist on getting some cash upfront because I think that is the only fare thing to do and a gross profit contrat or royalty.
Thank you all again.

Blanca :) :)