When your film is complete and you sell it to a sales agent or distribution, you will need to deliver them a shit load of things—some of which are important and some of which are unnecessary. They call these things “Deliverables.” This is an article geared towards first-time filmmakers, but there are some tips here for veterans as well.
Years ago we filmmakers had to had to gather up and deliver twice the amount of crap we need to today, a lot of which cost thousands of dollars to produce. Sometimes this made our projects go over-budget, into debt, and we had to borrow money to pay for them. There wasn’t a way out of it, because if we wanted our films distributed, we needed to cough up all the deliverables they asked for. Well, that isn’t totally true. Sometimes a distributor will ask you for something that truly they do not need until they make a sale.
Let’s say your sound mixer didn’t do an M&E (separate tracks for music and effects, which makes it possible to dub dialogue in various languages overseas). If you’re a newbie (like we all were at one point), you might panic (like I did) and spend several thousand dollars on creating an M&E simply because they ask for it on the list of Deliverables. My advice is to save the money. Tell your sales agent or distributor that you’re happy to pay for an M&E when the time comes, so long as the sale will cover the cost of making it.
If a distributor in Europe wants to buy the rights to your film for release in Germany, say, and they want an M&E so they can dub the film in German, make sure the sale of those rights exceed the cost of making an M&E. Or, tell them they’ll have to release it with subtitles (which might make them reject the deal and not buy your movie). It’s a risk, but in my experience, I’ve never had a deal not go through under these circumstances.
Likewise, when a distributor asks me for “Textless” movie or trailer files, I say NO. That means they can change the title. And if they do want to change your title, chances are it’ll be changed to something pretty lame and embarrassing.
Other Deliverables are: photocopies or scans of actor’s agreements, contracts with crew, copies of music and score licenses, time code charts of music cues, dialogue transcripts (of spoken dialogue, not what was written in your script), proof of copyright, stills, behind the scenes footage, and lots of other stuff. I get why they want all this information, but gathering it takes time. My advice is to gather it along the way so that when it comes time to deliver your Deliverables, you’ll have everything ready.
Never be afraid of saying you don’t want to deliver something. If they ask for unmixed sound files, for instance, I never give it to them. Because then they’ll have the actual sound files to certain effects and sound design that was created specifically for your project. One of my favorite sound designers, Paul N. J. Ottosson, did the design and mix for several of my films. He won the Oscar for Sound Design he did for THE HURT LOCKER. When it was time to deliver Deliverables for my movies Paul worked on, there was no way I was going to share his secrets. It just felt totally wrong to me. So in my agreement with the distributor, I simply took a black marker and crossed out those items on the Deliverables list. You can do this too. Worst-case scenario is they come back and tell you it’s a “must” or else they won’t buy your movie. My hunch is they won’t care. I never had a problem with that.
Here is a list of Deliverables taken from one of my distribution deals.
BASIC DELIVERY MATERIALS:
A. VIDEO AND AUDIO ELEMENTS
If the Motion Picture is non-English language and an English subtitled version is delivered, a separate master with no subtitles must also be delivered in each of the following categories.
COMPANY shall perform one quality control check of each delivered master at Producer’s expense – if the QC report is not from the following labs: Visual Data, Fotokem, ElectroFilms
Digibetas should be direct down-convert of the approved HD master; otherwise, QC report is required for each tape master.
If the material does not pass the QC check, the Licensor must repair the submitted material so that it does pass QC, or Distributor has the option to terminate the foregoing Agreement or withhold payment for rectification.
1. Program Video Masters: Required delivery of original version (theatrical version if Motion Picture had a theatrical release):
(a) Firewire 800 or USB3 Hard Drive of final QC’d HD Feature Film, textless background and trailer. 1920×1080 23.98 ProRes HQ self-contained Quicktime file with correct audio configuration embedded (with M&E tracks and 5.1 sound). Textless background and M&E should apply to Trailer as well.
(b) Bonus Material and Electronic Press Kit (EPK): all bonus footage for DVD release, such as deleted scenes, outtakes, director’s commentary, interviews, “making of” footage, etc.
If EPK is available, it should be no longer than 5 minutes, must have separate M&E (for dubbing), for worldwide use in all media, with waivers from the persons interviewed in form satisfactory to Distributor’s legal requirement.
(c) Check Disks: One (1) for NTSC and for PAL: DVD with visual time code output directly from the masters.
(d) DVD master: Three (3) NTSC DVD master, MPEG-2, 720×480 main program only without test pattern, count, menu, encryption, or extra material. With one original language only (no multiple language tracks). If the program is in language other than English, it should have English subtitle, burned in with MPEG-2 video track (TS file). It should start playing once hit play. Audio code should be AC-3, Stereo 192 Kilobits/second CBR.
Textless Title Backgrounds: Textless material shall be provided 60 seconds after program for all masters for all parts of the program which contain electronically or photo-chemically generated written information. This material shall include (without limitation) any fades, dissolves, blow-ups, hold-frames, or multiple exposures found in the original texted version. Textless background from the body of the program must include 5 frame handles on both sides of the cut and scene to scene color correction must be applied.
Trailer: Trailer, 16X9, 1.78, Title Safe for 4×3 shall be provided :60 seconds after program and program texless title backgrounds on all masters. Scene-To-Scene Color Corrected Direct Video
Transfer Master of the Trailer for the Motion Picture. Trailer shall not contain any self-promotional language (i.e. release date, visit myspace page, Buy DVD at…, etc.). Textless Trailer Background materials shall be “attached” to the tail end of Trailer, appropriately slated, and shall be located one minute after the conclusion of the trailer. Audio shall be configured as follows:
Ch 1 Stereo Mix Left
Ch 2 Stereo Mix Right
Ch 3 Music & Effect Left
Ch 4 Music & Effect Right
B. 100% PASS CERTIFIED QC REPORT: QC Report of the master(s) delivered to should be completed by certified labs including VisualData, ElektroFilm or FOTOKEM.
C. PUBLICITY AND ADVERTISING MATERIALS (Deliver Electronically)
1. Color Stills and Photographs: At least Fifty (50) high-res (300 DPI) JPEG images on Disk. The images shall provide comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the production of the Motion Picture, including different scenes, single and combination shots of the director, principal actors and behind the scenes coverage. Producer shall deliver a statement by Producer that all such photographs and transparencies have been approved by all individuals with approval rights regarding such photographs and transparencies.
All photographs shall be suitable for reproduction for advertising and publicity purposes and shall be cleared for use in all markets, all media in perpetuity, or at least for the Term of the foregoing Agreement.
2. Key Art: Delivery of high-resolution (300 DPI), layered key art on Disk or FTP site.
3. DVD Packaging: If the Motion Picture has had a US DVD release, delivery of a minimum of 20 copies of the DVD packaging for the Motion Picture, plus layered artwork for the DVD cover.
4. Flyer Artwork: Delivery of any flyer artwork that has been created if different from #2 above, including textless transparency, DVD, photostat of title treatment and any additional text if different from #2 above, and access to additional images and backgrounds used on the flyer.
5. Presskit: Delivery of a complete presskit, both printed and electronically, including synopsis, biographies of key cast and crew, press releases and press clippings.
6. Final Continuity Script/Spotting List: Final, complete, verbatim continuity script of the Motion Picture in EXCEL or WORD format. The final continuity script should be an accurate transcription of the Motion Picture master with corresponding running time code referencing specific photographic action, characters and transcribed audio.
7. Screeners: (30) Region-free DVD-R [minus-R] screeners with “SCREENING PURPOSE ONLY” or Visible timecode burnt onto screeners. Please, no contact information. Provide in a spindle without label.
8. Digital Trailer: 60-90 seconds Uncompressed QuickTime or Pro ResM, 16×9, Title-safe 4×3, 720×480 resolution. Sound level should be at 0.db and not overmodulated. Also provide downsized Web resolution H264 Quicktime file 320X240.
D. PRODUCTION CREDIT AND CONTACTS (Deliver Electronically)
1. Final Main & End Screen Credits: One (1) complete typewritten copy of the final main and end credits of the Picture as they appear on the original negative together with original art work and photographic units used to manufacture the titles, and electronically as e-mail attachment. (Microsoft Word Format)
2. Credit Block: One (1) complete typewritten copy of the credit block that will appear on poster or on back of DVD cover, and electronically as e-mail attachment (Microsoft Word Format)
3. SAG and/or Any Union Releases
E. LEGAL DOCUMENTS (Deliver Electronically)
1. Certified Statement with Synopsis: One (1) complete typewritten copy on approved form ONLY including important information about the films (including Picture title, year of production, genre, original language, director, MPAA rating (if available), name of production , synopsis, etc.) and Restrictions on photo, dubbing, subtitling, distribution, and Paid Ad Credit and contractual requirement.
2. Music Cue Sheets: One (1) copy of the music cue sheet for the Motion Pictures and (1) copy of the Trailer(s) on COMPANY’s approved form ONLY showing the particulars of all music synchronized with the Motion Picture (and the Trailer(s)) as follows: title of each composition, composer(s) (i.e., words and music), publisher, copyright owner, percentage of residual, composer(s) performing rights society affiliations (ASCAP or BMI), how used (visual or background, instrumental and/or vocal), and film footage and running time of each music cue. If pre-existing master recordings are used in the soundtrack, include the name(s) of performer(s) (if applicable) and name(s) of record album(s) and cut(s) used. Music Cue Sheets should be delivered electronically.
3. Music Licenses: One (1) copy of each music synchronization, performance, and mechanical license covering each musical composition embodied in the Motion Picture/Trailer(s) and which musical composition is not in the public domain, and evidence of payment in full. Required for all songs in Music Cue Sheet.
4. Composer Agreement: Delivery of one (1) copy of the fully executed composer agreement. For the original music in the Motion Picture, the composer agreement must convey to the Licensor the right to use the music, lyrics or recordings, as applicable, in the Motion Picture, in whole or in part, in all media now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe in perpetuity without payment of any further compensation for the grant of such rights and shall include the right to use the music, lyrics or recordings, as applicable, in connection with the advertising, promotion and publicity of the Motion Picture, in all media now known or hereafter devised, in or out of context of the Motion Picture, subject only to payment of fees to applicable performing rights societies
5. Copies of Acquired Footage/Stills Licenses: Copies of all stock footage/stills licenses, if any, and evidence of payment.
(a) Rights Agreements: Clearly legible copies of all contracts, options, option payments, assignments, licenses, quitclaims, certificates of authorship, written permissions, powers of attorney and other written documents relating to the acquisition of all rights (and reflecting a complete chain of title) in connection with the Motion Picture indicating how Licensor came to own the rights in such Picture. IF the name of copyright owner of the picture is different from one that signs agreement with , an authorization letter or transfer letter is required.
(b) Copyright Registration: Copyright certificate of (1) Motion Picture and (2) Screenplay duly stamped by the applicable Copyright Office; provided, however, that if the stamped registration statement has not yet been received by Licensor, Licensor shall deliver a copy of the application for copyright registration of the Motion Picture together with copies of Licensor’s letters of transit, and proof of receipt by the Copyright Office, and proof of payment of all requisite fees.
7. Certificates of Origin: At least six (6) executed and notarized originals of the Motion Picture’s Certificate of Origin in the form attached hereto.
F. ADDITIONAL DELIVERY MATERIALS:
The following items may become requirements, but are not required in the initial “Basic Delivery Materials.” reserves the right to request from the Producer at a later date if needed.
Producer shall provide within reasonable timeframe, at Producer’s costs, to fulfill its delivery obligation.
1. One (1) 16×9 PAL, 1.33 Digital Betacam full frame videotape master down converted from the Hi Definition 16×9 1:78 master with English stereo mix on Channels 1 & 2 and stereo music and effects on Channels 3 & 4. The PAL master videotape must contain continuous EBU time code with VITC on lines 19 and 21. All blacks must be pulled up and scene to scene color correction must be applied. Textless material must be included in accordance with section C. 2. below.
2. One (1) 16×9, 1.33 NTSC Digital Betacam full frame videotape master down converted from the Hi Definition 16×9 1:78 with English stereo mix on Channels 1 & 2 and stereo music and effects on Channels 3 & 4. The NTSC master videotape must contain continuous SMPTE dropframe time code with VITC on lines 12 and 14. All blacks must be pulled up and scene to scene color correction must be applied. Textless material must be included in accordance with section
3. Close Caption Master(s) or .cap file. This item is required BY LAW for US distribution
4. Copyright and Title Reports:
a. A title report from Dennis Angel or Thomson & Thomson – accepted clearance confirming the availability of the title of the Motion Picture for exploitation in all media, dated no more than three (3) months prior to the date of the attached Agreement, or a copy of the title report submitted to the E&O insurance carrier.
b. A Copyright Research report from Dennis Angel or Thomson & Thomson consistent with Licensor’s representations, warranties and agreements contained in the Agreement and dated no more than three (3) months prior to the date of the distribution Agreement.
5. E&O Insurance Certificate: A Certificate of Insurance in form and substance acceptable to Distributor’s insurance carrier, naming COMPANY and their respective subsidiaries and affiliates, and each of their officers, directors, shareholders, employees, agents, attorneys and employees as additional insured and loss payees and evidencing Licensor’s policy of “Errors and Omissions Insurance” in respect of the Motion Picture, which insurance conforms in all respects to the following requirements:
Coverage not less than $3,000,000 for each claim and $5,000,000 aggregate for all claims (with no material exclusions and a policy deductible no greater than $25,000) and shall be maintained at all times during the License Term (but at a minimum of three (3) years). At Distributor’s request, the insurance carrier will at no additional cost include any other person(s) designated by Distributor as additional named insured and issue to such person(s) a separate Certificate of Insurance evidencing the foregoing Errors and Omissions Insurance coverage. Licensor’s Errors and Omissions Insurance policy may not be modified, revised, or canceled without twenty (20) business day’s prior written notice to Distributor.
6. MPAA Rating Certification: A paid rating certificate from the Motion Picture Code and Rating Administration of America (if US rights are included and if the Motion Picture is the type of picture that is customarily rated).