On our next project I am going to implement this negotiation practice as I am also going to self distribute the film and this may actually help the film have legs on the web from a viral sense.
I'm going to use the equation AF-RF= E. This basically means I am going to get rate card quotes on the work from my crew and then subtract the rate I'm actually going to pay them to come to an equity ownership number that will be based on 1 dollar equaling 1 unit of equity. All of these equity units added up will equal up to a maximum of 30% of the films value. I am then going to keep 20% for myself and give 50% away to the funders of the project on a straight pari pasu agreement on every dollar coming in.
By having your crew truly involved in the upside I do think you will benefit in viral campaigns. My crew on this film will be around 50 people. That's not a lot but it is enough to begin a successful campaign on a low budget film.
This technique will be used for all expenditures, not just labour. If someone quotes me 200/night for a hotel room...i'll request 75/night and give them 125 shares of the project. If they say no...i'll take my business elsewhere until I can meet my budget and find the right partners in production.
This is not a new idea, but one has not been successful in the past due to restrictive distribution methods. With online and non exclusive deals being signed with hundreds of marketers per project this method may lead the way to increased interest and involvement in independent film making
So I'm looking for a VFX house....any takers?