Hollywood Dreams: Don’t Trust Them

Building a Cartoon Entertainment Website for Fun and Profit

Part Four — Transforming Success Into Dollars (cont.)

Hollywood Dreams: Don’t Trust Them

Now to discuss a way to NOT make money. Some people hope that once they have a proven success on the internet, that Hollywood will come calling, offering millions of dollars for the rights to the property. I’ve heard rumors of certain success stories, but I’ve also heard the opposite. First of all, Hollywood is probably not going to pay millions of dollars up front — that will just be the lure, to be paid much later and depending on a lot of conditions that you will have no control over. So I would caution that if Hollywood comes calling, consider these seven points:

(1) Remember the reasons you chose to go independent in the first place. Dealing with Hollywood will violate all those reasons.

(2) A friend of mine advises, “If Hollywood calls, do not sell your character. Lease the rights for a limited time only, so that someday you can get it back, or renegotiate a far better deal.” But even with that, you will lose all control over your character, and Hollywood will change it beyond recognition. If that means anything to you, don’t let Hollywood touch it.

(3) Don’t trust the people you negotiate with because they will soon be gone and your contract will bind you to people you haven’t met yet.

(4) If your attitude is “Hey, just take the money and run!” then remember: The first check you receive will probably also be the last, no matter what your contract promises. Cash it immediately.

(5) You can never afford to sue Hollywood. You can never prevail against their army of attorneys no matter what your contract says.

(6) If your attitude is, “I can always create another character,” read your contract very carefully before you sign. Make sure it does not have a “non-competition” clause, which states that you agree to never draw another cartoon again — or that anything you ever create again Hollywood will automatically own.

(7) The above warnings are based on actual experiences of people I personally know, plus countless reports over the years in Daily Variety, the official Hollywood showbiz trade journal. If you think I’m exaggerating, just read the release forms that Disneys or Warners will demand that you sign before you can submit a portfolio of your own work to seek employment as a common work-forhire artist.


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