Why Do Deals Take So Long To Sign?
Biz affairs, lawyers, reps: My solutions for a terrible process
This is third in our stories this week for paid subscribers about the representation business. Earlier we featured Tales from the Agency Mailroom. Still a Thing, the Big Managers of the Moment 2024.
When The Ankler asked me if I had any thoughts for its upcoming week of stories about agents and managers, at first, I was stumped.
But one thought lingered in my head.
I had written up a thought, but then cut it from my article on business affairs executives from last June at the height of the strike. In short, one of the most interesting gripes that talent had was that, often, writers and actors had to start working without finished deals. And why weren’t the deals finished?
Because the contracts take TOO DAMN LONG to sign.
Most managers and agents aren’t lawyers. But they are vital cogs in the negotiation process, as studios and talent come to terms on a deal. And that process takes wayyyyyy, wayyyyyy, wayyyyyy too long in Hollywood. I don’t have enough y’s on the keyboard to really make my point.
Today, I want to try to solve this problem. So let’s discuss why it takes so long to get contracts finished in Hollywood (and elsewhere, frankly) and what Hollywood can do to negotiate, review and sign them faster.
Here's what I’ll discuss:
Why it takes so long today and the problems of our own creation.
Six ways to start fixing it now (including standardized agreements).
The risk of having people start jobs without deals signed.
Why I don’t believe this has to do with understaffed Business Affairs teams.
The problem of the “hyperactive hive mind.”
The deal I witnessed in my previous executive life where a deal got done IN A DAY. Seriously. And what we can learn from it.