How to Negotiate – Every aspect of producing involves negotiating, in one form or another. You always need to go in with the attitude that people already want to work with you.
12 MAJOR POINTS TO REMEMBER IN NEGOTIATIONS
1. PLAN WITH YOUR LIMITATIONS IN MIND
Know you limitations. In poker they call it knowing your hand and understanding what you really have. Be ready to respond to the unexpected reaction.
2. ESTABLISH RAPPORT
Have a relationship with the person you’re negotiating with. Know what they like and dislike. Find that common bond. There’s always one. Relationships are established by conversations and talking about things outside the project.
3. PITCH THE ELEMENTS
Paint a visual picture – describe the elements.Who is directing? Who wrote the screenplay? What’s the story? What’s the story behind the story? Why is the film getting made? Where will it be shot? What will the project do for the person you are negotiating with? How can you help them out?
4. BE HONEST
You must maintain integrity. Select your words carefully. If you tell a lie, it will come back and haunt you. It always happens.
Make sure the person you’re talking to understands their importance to the project. Appeal to their ego.
6. OBSERVE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Body language tells so much. Take a look where you are, and if the person is really listening to you.
If done well, it works miracles. If not done well, it can ruin the negotiation. Pick your spots and trust that it will work.
Be up-front and take the initiative when negotiating.
9. EXPOSE YOUR WEAK POINTS
It can only make you stronger, and it gives you credibility.
10. AVOID BEING A JERK
Smugness and conceit are to be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS. Use words such as WE and US, and avoid using I and ME. People want to work with and help out people they respect.
11. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Your instincts are never wrong.
12. HAVE A GAME PLAN
Know what you want to achieve. If it’s not what you want, walk away.
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Writer Matthew Toffolo is currently the festival director for the WILDsound Film & Writing Festival.
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