A New Model: Hooray or Nay?

I got an email recently from The Radar Festival about a new initiative they’ve launched. Here’s the gist of it straight from the horse’s mouth:

Pitch to make a promo for one of Coke Music’s top four bands and you could win a £1,000 production budget to make it, plus worldwide promotion and revenue sharing distribution!!!

Coke Music have selected tracks from their 4 top bands for the Radar music promo competition. The bands have also been selected to showcase at In The City later this month; links to their tracks are on our Radar site.

If you’re selected, you’ll get a £1,000 ($2k/1440euro/239k yen)production budget and your promo will be promoted worldwide by Coke Music, Radar, you and and the band. Your promo will get an evaluation from a music industry journalist and your promo will also be distributed to key revenue sharing sites, earning you more income.

The Radar Festival describes this as a new model, although it’s basically the same idea that onedotzero and MTV used for their Bloom competition. Radar plans on extending this idea to other brands; Coke Music is just their first partner.

The Good

The positives of this approach are pretty obvious: Clients get pitches from a wide range of international talent that they wouldn’t have access to using more traditional pitch practices. Filmmakers potentially get exposure and experience with little initial investment. They need only write a treatment.

Sounds like a win-win deal, right?

The Bad

If your treatment is selected, you only get a $2000 USD for production. Granted, music video budgets are often abysmally small and/or non-existent. But competitions like this aren’t exactly helping things, are they?

Having said that, the revenue split that Radar proposes seems fair. From the terms and conditions:

Most sites will account to Radar on a quarterly basis as long as minimum income levels have been reached. Radar will account to you a month after receiving statements from distributors and will pay any revenues due via paypal. Your revenue % split is 42.5% of received revenues, after any costs of reproduction or third part copyrights. Radar receives 15% and the Artists 42.5% of received revenues after the same costs.

Who knows what kind of real dollars that means, but at least winners get 42.5% of the revenue. There’s some vagueness about the accounting methods, but I’m sure if you pressed them Radar would produce a satisfactory paper trail of some sort.

If this model extends beyond the reach of music videos to include advertising, like Current’s VCAM project, then the issue of authorship jumps to the foreground. By submitting a treatment, the client is essentially receiving a deluge of ideas free of charge. What’s to stop the client from letting one of these ideas simmer for use in a later, separate campaign without proper credit and/or payment being given to the original pitch author? (Sound familiar?)

The Bottom Line

Radar’s done a good job setting up this initial Coke Music partnership with terms that appear to be pretty fair. Because of the small production budget and the fact that winners will be creating music videos, I think this first foray will mainly appeal to students. Studios and established filmmakers have bigger fish to fry, and up-and-coming entities probably can’t sacrifice the time and money it would take to pull off a full-length music video.

I’m curious what you all think about this model? Is it a good thing? A bad thing? Could this model scale to larger projects with more dollars behind them? If so, what would that mean?

About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

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22 Comments

monovich

There has been a lot of this type of freebie work out there lately, and I can’t think any of the winning projects that stuck out as excellent or made a new rock star. Who wins in this equation?

2k plus ambiguous change from a corporate giant is a non-starter.

Nay.

jan

3″30′ = 1000£ ? Don’t fall for this BS, Just say no.

justin

What about for students? Is this is a good opportunity for them?

plasticchicken

Any student wanting to make a video for a fairly new/unknown band would go and see a load of bands check out the network pages and get in touch with said bands / labels directly. You may or may not get more than 1K, but you’ll not get some creative at Coke or Radar saying it was their idea all along and “what a great opportunity it was for you”, only for your video to get buried the next day. I’d forget about those revenues too. BS indeed. DIY.

zkong78

uhm

I give it thumbs down

daphex2

Plastic chicken is right. Budgets are so low nowadays, and bands desperately need work done – that if you’ve even got half a showreel of work, you can approach ANY label and ANY artist you wish. Realistically. You may not snag the U2 gig right out of the slot, but you’ll hit something, I can gaurantee it.

Don’t fall for another of these Tom Sawyer contests. Oh look how fun it is to paint the fence. So go paint it as I eat my apple. No.

Furthermore, Radar is notorious with actually CHARGING YOU A FEE to enter these type of things. I don’t know if it applies here, but with their last 2 music video contests, not only did u have to pay for the track, you also had to send in your submission with a fee. F minus all around.

rothermel

Students beware! As someone that works in the industry at a reputable company, I can say that we dont care if coke is on your reel. 2K is not worth the trouble. You will be exploited to create pretty much free content for a multi million dollar company. You’re giving them free advertising.

NO NO NO NO NO!

Simon Robson

> one of Coke Music’s top four bands…

What the Hell have Coke got to do with music anyway? I used to be in an aspiring (and rather dire) band, and if some exec from Coke had come up to me after a gig and said, ‘Son, I want to put you in our list of top four bands’ I’d have beat a hasty retreat out of the window in the gents, dragging my amp behind me….Rubbish…

And as for 1K… My advice to the students who this comp is apparently for: Go work in a factory for a few weeks, earn 2k, then go make a vid for a band so subversive that ‘Coke music’ wouldn’t them have in their ‘top 4’ for love nor money.

It’s the great ‘pop’ & Roll swindle!!!

xpez2000

Well if nobody bids on this becasue of the fear of exploitation, then that clears out a lot of people…I say “hey if there is no fee to enter…then why not…just dont slave over your idea for weeks and weeks. Just give’em a quick one-liner idea…So it’s no sweat off your back and its a sucker for them if they pick yours…HAHAHA…

anyway most videos are expensive one-liner gimmicks anyway..so whats the difference.

I mean thats seems like the compromise for these kinds of things.

CHEAP IDEAS FOR CHEAP GHETTO CLIENTS….

nbody

peeps need to keep in mind that these contests are not held for the purpose of ending up with the best, most original final work/video. they are held solely for a shitload of free promo and untraditional advertising– meaning blogs like this post blurbs about it without coke having to pay a single penny and then people mention it to other people and coke creates the illusion that it helps support impoverished filmmakers and artists.

2k is an insult, especially coming from a giant like coke. also, these contests are often rigged for safety– the agancy will pay someone a healthy fee to commission them to “enter” the contest in order to ensure that there’ll be at least one option that the client (coke) will approve for having put out all over with their name attached.

and about the radar wording of “42.5% of received revenues” in their “official” language is laughable. because the term “recieved revenue” in a financial contract is like saying “obscene” in a town statute– it’s open to a wide range of interpretation. it’s 99% likely that in the actual real contract it specifies “net profit” which is determined my taking the income for said product/venture, then subtracting all expenses and costs involved, like the staff’s 4-star hotel rooms at Cannes and Sundance because they like mentioned something about the coke project while they were there.

in the words of P.T. Barnum “there’s a sucker born every minute… and two to take him.”

mate

Souls seem to get cheaper every day.

mate

The Devil’s having a great time. Souls seem to get cheaper every day.

rothermel

agreed mate

sc

this new model has potential, but not in this form. in the progression to the future of this stuff, i think it will make more and more sense, perhaps.

kurt

Its clear that this type of thing is bad for artists, and good for people who care about profit.

Advertising agencies have always been savvy about the merging of art and commerce. This is just their latest weapon agains small, more creative, more authentic production / design shops – who care more about making good work than turning a fast buck.

I think you knew what your answer was going to be… before you asked the question, but I admire you for posting it as a survey.

Beacher

Now … if it were $20K instead of $2K …?

casmal

That’s bollocks.

radarpromos

Hi
I run Radar. The intention of Radar is to provide opportunities for emerging filmmakers worldwide. It’s to provide a link between the huge and growing number of new filmmakers and the fairly tiny professional world. It’s to give people a foot in the door. I guess a lot of people in Motionographer already have an in of some kind, if so much of Radar is not pitched at you.

There’s no evil plot, it’s not about damning souls or creating weapons. I’ve got no intention of stealing anyone’s ideas, I don’t suppose anyone at Coke has.

A few people pointed out there’s a lot of competitions around. Well the internet’s a new channel, it makes new forms and competitions are a good way to reach lots of people – arguably fairer than involving newbies who know the right people or went to the right art schools. No-one is twisting any arms to get people to enter. Maybe this competition will work well for participants, I hope it does, I’m expecting it will. Maybe the filmmakers commissioned will get a lot of distribution earnings, but maybe they won’t. Maybe it’ll help those filmmakers onto the next step of their career – chances are that making a promo for an unsigned band who have promotional push behind them and being selected as a winner in a competition will at least make their name stand out. Being successful always makes your name stand out.

People can also make commercials on spec for Current TV. If it gets aired, filmmakers get $2k. if it doesn’t get aired, they don’t. If it gets used elsewhere there’s more money filmmakers get. In this instance, Radar filmmakers only have to pitch, not make on spec, but sometimes we do on spec competitions too. It’s a similar model to Radar.

I think £10 in our previous competition was a great fee to pay to get an evaluation of your promo from music industry professionals and to get your promo seen by those people, never mind the possibility to get picked up by a label/a production company/get distribution. As it happens, it nowhere near pays for the time involved in viewing and administrating the festival. Plus it was free if you were a student.

Whether Radar will be of value for entry-level filmmakers in the long term remains to be seen, but there’s every reason to expect it will. The commissioning landscape is changing radically. If you’re already in the industry and think Radar is aimed at you then you’ll be pissed off. But people who want to get started seem to think it’s a better place than most to make their first films.

Caroline

Filtereen

I live in Africa, and even here a thousand pounds won’t do that much. Maybe it will do abit more than in developed countries because labour is cheaper here but when it comes to equipment and post production…it’s not enough.
On the other hand its a great opportunity for recognition.

beta_test

It is outrageous to see how some people are brainwashed, hello Radar?…have a mega-billion company asking youngsters to spend weeks creating some cool stuffs for almost nothing?

By the way, it’s just Coke, you know… that same soda that makes half Americans overweight?

A word to the students: the usual saying ‘it’s good for your reel, you’ll get famous…’, please stop believing that BS. Really. Just make some smart work that shows your animation skills and send it around. Motion companies are waiting to see new cheaper talents… and your rates will go up the ladder as you’re getting more experienced.

As for the advertising companies who want to get into the “almost-free-customers-content-created” Hey wanna pitch for me for free while signing that contract to give up all your rights?

Anyway. I found this site a while back, worth reading it, even if like me you pitch from time to time…
http://www.no-spec.com/

brtkiggen

wow,

thats a very low budget,
i made some low budget clips in my day for indie bands
that scrape to money together themselves and still that budget was around 4000 euros.

Even is it studentwork (or emerging directors) this undervalueing our market and this happening already to much. Don’t get me wrong
i like the iniative…

big poppa

Ok, I’ve read all comments, incluuding Caroline’s who run’s Radar. I have to say that I find this competition insulting to the entire idea of artistic integrity. First of all, by giving your ideas away for free, they are about as valuble as toilet paper. And I’d really like to see the result of something that costs $2000.00! I’d be very surprised if a product whose budget of $2000 USD would make someone’s career.

I also find this idea very negative to the Coke Brand as well.

This competition completely devalues the talent and creativity of anyone in our industry. It is a trend that is growing like a virus and should be avoided at all costs! It’s also a way to stockpile great ideas and see them made elsewhere. Believe me, this happens a lot.

Caroline says that being successful always makes a person’s name stand out. I say that being talented makes a person’s name stand out and true talent will always win out in the end. The most succesful people I know in this industry would never sell out for something like this. If students want to take part in something like this, then perhaps it’s a stepping stone, but if you believe you have talent, true talent, then never give it away or sell it for any less than the price and value you set for it.

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