IFH 060: Should You Work for Deferred Payment or Back End Points?

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An Indie Film Hustle Tribe member recently asked me

“Should You Work for Deferred Payment or Back End Points?”

Believe it or not, I get this question A LOT! So I decided to dedicate a podcast episode to the question. There are times I would say yes definitely work for deferred payment or back endpoints.

I heard a story of a screenwriter that was asked to do a rush job, write an entire screenplay in two weeks over Christmas vacation. He really didn’t want to do it but the agent said he could get him paid and get him back endpoints. The screenwriter took the gig, the producer loved the script and the movie went on to gross $500,000,000 worldwide. He took home over $20 million. Not bad.

So yes there is a time to make that deal but alas there are times you should never work for deferred. Take a listen to when to and when not to work for deferred payments or back endpoints.

Alex Ferrari 0:00
So occasionally, guys, you guys send me emails, asking me certain questions. And sometimes like, hey, this would be a really great topic for a podcast. So I had an email sent to me the other day about deferred payment. And he was asking me Should I take this job on deferred payments, back end points and things like that, and what my opinion was, so first and foremost, if you are working with a big time director, let's say you're going to take work with James Cameron, you're going to work with a big, established director, established producer that has big big, I'm talking big credits, 20 $30 million $40 million box office, if not bigger, kind of movies, and they're more legit, then back endpoints might not only be wise, but might be very strategic, and fruitful for you. As far as getting paid is concerned. I was told a story the other day, about a writer who wrote a movie that he was asked to write a movie in two weeks over Christmas break. And that movie went on. And he's like, Look, I just give me you know, X dollars and give me some back end points. And the agent said, like, I'm against the back end points on it, the movie went on to gross $500 million worldwide, and he took home, probably about 23 million, I think was the number of sold. So it can be very lucrative. Now with that said, in the indie world, in the world of, you know, $5 million, or below or even less more than that, it all depends on the people involved. But I'm gonna tell you that I have never, ever heard of anybody being paid back endpoints on any project ever. In all of my years working in the industry, 20 plus years now, from all of my friends in the business, from all of my contacts from all of the companies I've worked with, this is a conversation that comes up quite often. Never has anyone ever been paid. From my perspective, again, just from mine. There might be films out there that do, but I've never heard, I've never heard of a filmmaker, or excuse me, a, a grip crew member post guy, anybody getting paid on the back end or deferred? It doesn't happen. It's very, very rare. If it does. So if someone approaches you and asks you, Hey, can you work deferred, I would run I would run the opposite way. It's again, but then we go back to the whole if you listen to my podcast, Episode Number 40, on how to know when to work for free. That is a little different. Again, if you're going to work for deferred and it's not going to bring a lot of value to you then just run the other way. Bottom line guys is if you're going to work for free in any capacity, whether with for deferred for points on the back end for whatever, just make sure it's bringing value to you or experience to you that makes you grow as an artist makes you grow that as a technician gets credits on your, on your IMDb or on your resume, that's fine. But if you actually think you're going to get paid off something like that, don't it's kind of delusional cuz I again, it does happen. I've never heard of it happening. But I'm sure it does happen. I'm sure somebody out there has been paid off the back end participations on a low budget film. I'm sure it has happened, but I've never heard of it. And I've definitely never been. I've worked on probably one to two projects in my entire life early early on in my career, and of course I never got paid for those and I've been asked multiple times probably I don't even know how many times a year I get asked to work on deferred or back end points. But generally, I have never done again and never will again again. Handing on who's involved and what kind of project it is. But generally speaking, you're never going to get paid. So run the opposite direction guys. Hope that was helpful for you guys hope that saved you a little bit of time and energy. If you guys have any questions specific, or have a topic that you want me to cover on the podcast, please send it over. And if I feel that it's something that that the tribe will get a lot of value out of that I will do a podcast about it. If not, I'll just directly email you back on. On your question answered directly for you guys. I do the best I can. Anytime someone does ask me a question to answer them as best I can. I am only one guy so I do the best I can to get back to you in a timely fashion. So thank you guys so much. As always for listening. Don't forget to head over to filmmaking podcast.com and leave us a review for the show. It helps the show out dramatically and helps us get the word out on indie film, hustle, and helping more and more independent filmmakers out there. So as always, keep that dream alive. Keep that hustle going and I'll talk to you soon.

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