And the winner of this negotiation is . . .

NEGOTIATION_HANDSHAKE_LOGO A lot of folks out there on both sides of the bargaining table think that negotiating an actor deal or an artist deal is the same as buying a house or a car or a fake rolex on Canal Street.  You try to "win" the negotiation by getting the best deal you can, and then you're done.

But negotiating contracts in the entertainment industry, especially in theater, is different.  Remember, the people (and yes they are people, not "parties") involved in these deals have to work together day in and day out for a long time.  Everyone on both sides of the table has to do their best work in a difficult industry in order to achieve success.  You think that's easy when one side of a negotiation thinks they got screwed?  

Producers, agents, managers, actors, authors—all of us—need to remember that the only way a negotiation is won is when both sides are equally satisfied.  And the job of everyone at the table is not to just "get the best deal" . . . their job is to make the deal.  

Because that's the only way you make sure there are more deals in the future. 



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  • I bless you for this post, Ken. I graduated from the Industrial & Labor Relations School at Cornell and my family were labor relations attorneys. Their firm represented management. I’m glad to say our firm always taught the industries they dealt with that management and labor needed each other. I think the industries they represented knew that for the most part. The purpose of talks was so that each could hear the needs of the other and see how many of them could be satisfied so that everyone would do well. I remember only very few strikes occurring during their practice. My Grampa was practicing law in 1914 when the Amalgamated Clothing Workers was founded and my dad practiced until he passed in 1978. The firm continued for several years after. There was a big hotel strike at one point, but that was settled. When I produced theater, I found I got a lot of help from the unions. The union members wanted work and we needed the actors and designers, etc. The “Bargaining” table was the place to find the best possible solutions for all.

  • Douglas Hicton says:

    In contrast, the only way a negotiation is won in the political world is if both sides are equally DISsatisfied. Aren’t you glad you’re in a relatively sane business, rather than politics?

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