SIX RULES OF DEAL MAKING

After three decades of media music negotiations, I would like to offer a few of my key rules on deal making.

1. UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ACHIEVE IN TAKING ON A PROJECT. 

Way before worrying about the particulars of a deal, the most important thing to evaluate is what YOU hope to get out of scoring something.

Make a list of your key considerations.

Based on who you are, where you are in your career, demand for your services, and long term career objectives, every composer would have their own different lists of objectives.

Items could include:

• Experience
• Building relationships
• Expanding credits
• Broadening genres
• Switching mediums
• Financial compensation
• Building publishing and Master assets
• Teaching filmmakers a lesson
• Exercising absolutes regardless of situation

(FYI, I’m not a big fan of the last two)

2. DECIDE IF THIS PARTICULAR SITUATION POTENTIALLY MEETS THE STUFF THAT MATTERS TO YOU THE MOST. 

Every project comes with its own unique set of circumstances and potential outcomes.

To the best of your ability, examine how much this particular project addresses your wants.

If you feel it is enough, start trying to make a deal.

3. USE DEAL NEGOTIATIONS TO MAKE SURE YOU GET THE KEY THINGS YOU CARE ABOUT IN THAT SPECIFIC SITUATION. 

Find out if a deal can be made to give you the primary things you care about in this particular situation.

You won’t get everything, but know what matters the most to you and focus primarily of that.

4. THE RULE OF DEAL: THERE ARE NO RULES. 

Every project is different. Every deal is different.

Embrace that.

Don’t limit your thinking getting caught up in absolutes. That can be a path pushing you away from the things you might really want/need.

5. IT’S JUST BUSINESS. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. 

A deal is just a deal.

It isn’t the right place to be working out your personal issues.

It’s just a potential business transaction. Stop trying to make it about more.

You can do this without feeling insulted, disrespected, outraged and hurt.

Mixing emotions with deal making is typically a fairly lethal combination that can blind you from staying focused on potentially getting what you really want.

6. GETTING ADVICE: CONSIDER THE SOURCE. 

Pay attention to who is offering you deal making advice and guidance. Find sources that have already achieved success with their approaches on the things that matter most to you.