I’ve been thinking about payment structures for motion pictures recently – trying to come up with a structure that works well for (relatively) cheap-ass productions, brings certainty to direct investors, doesn’t screw over your cast and crew.
The thing I ended up like is partial deferments – this basically shakes down to your direct investors kicking in money for the project, you shoot the thing while paying your cast and crew a reasonable fixed sum per day but with a deferment of an additional fixed amount (rather than points).
So after the movie is made and sold (or if you don’t sell it, but do a deal with a distributor yourself) the payment schedule would be: First and foremost, the investors get back 100% of their investment. Then deferments get paid. Then any profits from then on get split between the producers and investors according to whatever profit-sharing deal has been worked out.
I like this because I don’t think that one should be asking professional cast and crew to work for free. This gives those people payment straight up, and you’re also saying “Though deferred, I believe that your work brings value to the project, and I’m willing to pay accordingly.”
I was quite keen on the idea of giving points of the profits, until I realised that this would cause basically infinite paperwork – every time ANY money was made from the movie, it’d have to be split up and shared. You’d be chasing cast and crew for EVER. So I’ve gone off that idea.