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Top Sheet Budget

International Distribution
What is "international distribution with financials"? I'm unfamiliar with these terms and I'm try to do some research into distribution deals. I would appreciate an answer you can give me.

Preselling Distribution
I was thinking of including it [Australian Distribution rights] as part of the compensation package to a potential DP, who is too expensive for me to hire at full rate but (since he is Australian) he might see the Australian rights as something of real value. My concern is that I don't know how the foreign sales world works and, if I end up with a good but marginal product, will I have shot myself in the foot by having given away a valuable English-speaking market and make my film an unwanted commodity. (I realize that if I manage to produce Pulp Fiction it won't matter -- and if my movie is awful it won't matter -- but I'm betting on a more mixed outcome).

Handshake Legally Binding
I'm getting ready to edit an independent feature and I have just found an editor that is willing to do the work for next to nothing. The problem is that I'm getting some interest from some independent distributors and I'm not so sure I want to go with this editor anymore. If I shook hands on the deal am I obligated to honor it?

Product Fee
Could you give me an idea of what to charge sponsors for product placement? How is the cost determined? Should filmmakers guage it by how many seconds the product is in view; how close the shot is; whether the lead character uses the product throughout the film, ie. brand-name clothing, and cheaper rates for minor characters being connected to product?

Is there some sort of advertising industry standard or guideline for product placement in films, or is it all negotiated between the producer and each individual sponsor? Thank you.

What to Pay for Short Story Rights
I'm interested in getting rights to make a short film based on a short story. I have no distribution in mind, only that it would make a good short drama. The author is deceased and the story is published in several anthologies.

I'm interested in an approach that will cost the least, but I have no idea what the norm is for this kind of thing.

I once approached a publisher about another story. They would not set an amount and I didn't know what was the norm or the best way to structure the deal and I dropped it. This time I want it.

Contributed by Glen Berry

Do you know the difference between a top sheet budget and a full budget?

A complete budget is often over 25-30 pages. Even includes food service and rental of bathrooms, everything down to the last detail. A top sheet is a summary: cost of script to writer, stars, director (above the line), all the costs below the line: extras, production costs, etc. and the bottom line is the same as the complete budget.

Berry started his career as an editor and post production supervisor, having worked on documentaries for PBS and The Discovery Channel. Berry’s award-winning short fiction, documentary and experimental films have screened at festivals around the world. His first feature film secured a rare worldwide distribution deal and received a limited theatrical release.

The publisher of Film Underground and founder of Northwest Film School, Berry has taught production at Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College. Berry was awarded a Master of Arts in Production and Direction from the National University of Ireland and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Theatre Arts from Montana State University.

Berry’s academic work has been published in scholarly journals as well as trade publications such as MovieMaker Magazine, and as well as The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Filmmaking. He is the publisher of Film Underground and has served as an expert source for international newspaper and radio media outlets. Berry twice served as the Director of the Northwest Projections Film Festival and as a panel judge on numerous festivals and competitions.

Glen Berry is the Director of the Northwest Film School where he teaches directing, producing and editing. He has specialized in creative editing and post production techniques with independent film. His interests include the cognitive functions of the mind as it applies to motion picture editing as well as new forms of communications in the visual arts.

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