Have more control, multimedia entrepreneurs told

The logo of iCentre at its building. Picture: BT File

Thursday, May 24, 2012

ALWAYS structure a partnership contract in such a way that if you don't make money then they won't make money either.

This was said by the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sparky Animation, Wong Kong Cheong to the participants of his "Art, Technology and Business of Animation Venture" workshop at the iCentre on Tuesday.

"Don't give too much control to your partner and creator (in the management of an animation production)," he said, explaining that having less control noted in the contract would not benefit them as it would constrain production works and ultimately, jeopardise cost.

Because of this, he advised the participants, who aspire to be multimedia entrepreneurs, to develop their power of negotiation and to know what it is they want to negotiate.

He highlighted that they must not only negotiate work allocation and profit-sharing, but also to get more control on the right of approval as much they can.

"Be extremely careful about this," he said. "They (your partners) always say about this thing: 'Let me have the final approval'. Why? 'Because my broadcaster's bought the show. I collect the money because I'm selling it to my broadcaster, so you give me the right to decide whether I approve the animation or not. If my broadcaster is not pleased then I will tell you I'm not pleased.' They can do that. Whether you buy the idea or not it's up to them."

He added that it is also better to work with one partner for each animation project.

"Don't try to come up with four or five partners," he said. "I can assure you it's very tough. Three is already problematic sometimes, so my advice is to keep it to two."

"This will save a lot of time and hassle," he said, adding that it would be even better, if you can work on any one project on your own "unless you want to learn something from your partner or to share cost".

"I'm not sure about Brunei, but Singapore has co-production treaties with Canada and Australia," he continued.

"This co-production treaty means that if the government knows you actually pursue co-production with Canada, then your partner from Canada can report to the government and say, 'Oh, I work with Singapore and fulfil this co-production treaty on the rule'... from dividing the percentage of work being done, to budget allocation or having a Creative Director from Canada involved," he said.

This he said, is termed as "official co-production", which he highlighted from his experience would benefit the co-production client but not Singapore in terms of higher pay from broadcaster and tax rebates.

He added that because the co-production treaties are defined at the government level, "he was not sure of them and has to keep monitor them at times" to carefully decide whether it would ultimately benefit his company.

He said that if Brunei is looking to venture into co-production treaties, the deal would only be "good in the beginning", saying that these treaties usually do not benefit small countries.The Brunei Times