We left off talking about don’t rush into a deal with a sales agent for EFM, and touched briefly on the power of waiting for the right deal to come along.
Well in the wake of that I was working with a client this week on negotiating a deal with a sales agent who she met at AFM. With this particular film, there were offers from a half dozen sales companies – so it was a pretty competitive situation.
And one sales agent wanted to rush it to EFM… (ahem, you know how I feel about that!)
But we were able to use that to our advantage in the end and negotiate better deal terms, including a domestic ‘window’….
What’s a domestic window?
In many of the sales agent agreements they will ask for Worldwide rights. The problem is, unless there’s serious US cable broadcast potential for a film, then that sales agent isn’t really doing anything on the domestic front that you couldn’t do yourself. For instance, why should you pay them a commission and expenses for domestic VOD revenue that you could essentially do yourself. US domestic VOD distribution is readily available to anyone either by working with a US distributor (who are readily approachable!) or via the DIY platform services.
Beware the Worldwide deals!
What we were able to do in this situation is carve out a short exclusive window when the Sales Agent can shop the film to major US cable broadcasters since the film actually does have US broadcast potential (due to the name value of hte actors). If they are unable to place the film after a certain period of time, domestic rights revert back to the filmmaker and she can pursue VOD distribution.
So we got the best of both worlds and everyone is happy.
All this to say – pay attention to the details, the terms, windows, exclusivity, and be ready to carve things up so you’re not left high and dry with no performance from your sales agent and no recourse to recover your rights.
What do you think? What’s been your experience with Worldwide rights and domestic windowing? Let’s continue the conversation below…