Deal making: An essential skill for creatives

By February 22, 2016September 20th, 2018Business Planning & Strategy, Creative Business


This week, we’re very excited to be hosting a session at Screen Australia’s Brilliant Careers Symposium.

Client Director Lauren Hillier will be leading an expert panel from within and outside the film industry in a discussion on deal making: its importance, how to do it well, and in particular how it relates to women working in the screen industry. We’re lucky to have a brilliant panel ready to weigh in on this topic, consisting of Joanna Werner (Werner Film Productions), Megan Brownlow (PwC), Peter Jenetsky (Context Media) and Rebecca Blurton (Indigenous Women in Business), Julian Morrow (Giant Dwarf).

DOWNLOAD our top tips for deal making.

What made us choose this topic for an event aimed at women filmmakers?

Our starting point was one of the barriers to gender equity highlighted in the Gender Matters report, which was:

Lack of self-belief. Anecdotal evidence indicates that women are far more likely than their male counterparts to underestimate and undersell their skills and abilities. The effect of this is that women can be perceived to lack confidence, and are less likely to push themselves forward.

This led to a discussion within Generate of our experience in working with women (and men) who are running creative industry businesses. We think this lack of self-belief is real, and frequently evident at crucial times in a business’ life cycle. And this lack of confidence can hamper a business owner’s performance in the ‘hard skills’ required for commercial success. We see those skills as:

  • negotiation,
  • deal brokering,
  • self-promotion and
  • recognising one’s own expertise.

One of the things we’re often called on to do, is to be that person sitting along side creatives while a deal is in progress, either as their trusted adviser, or as the person undertaking that negotiation on behalf of a creative. So we’ve seen a lot of these negotiations up front.

There are lots of things which can go right and wrong when negotiating a deal. The key point though is preparation: being sure about what you want, what the other party wants and being prepared for how the negotiations may pan out. Putting the work into that preparation will help the deal making go as smoothly as possible and improve your chances of a positive outcome.

After that, it’s important to apply those lessons to the next deal. And the one after that. And the one after that. Because it’s that repetition that builds confidence. Ultimately, it’s an exercise in skills development. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

But we’re very aware that creatives need help those first couple of times. That’s where having an adviser to walk you through the process initially can be an excellent investment in the future. It can help build that self-belief that the Gender Matters report says is such a formidable barrier.

If you’ve got issues in your business you don’t seem to be able to get on top of, why not get in touch? Not only do we provide a full suite of bookkeeping and tax services here at Generate, but we’re also able to help with business coaching, strategy workshops, business plans and much more. You name the problem and I’m sure we can help.