Reaping the Harvest

Sometimes I wake up at night and ask, “Where have I gone wrong?” Then a voice says to me, “This is going to take more than one night.”

—Charlie Brown

When the prospect says, “Yes, let’s do the deal!” that can mean different things, depending on what you’re selling. If a TV production company says, “Yes, let’s do the deal!” after hearing your idea for a new reality show, that’s not the same thing as a kitchen gadget company saying it after seeing your idea for a new potato peeler. It’s like comparing the pig’s contribution to your breakfast to the hen’s. Nevertheless, a deal is still a deal, and a contract is still a contract, so much of it is the same. But there are some important differences that are worth noting.


If you’re licensing your potato peeler, then the deal really is the deal. Once the kitchen gadget company says “yes,” you both sign the contract, you receive your advance money, and you go about your business. From then on it’s up to the kitchen gadget company to make the molds, produce, and sell the peeler. All you have to do is cash the checks that come every month. However, when the TV production company says, “Yes!” what they‘re saying is “Yes—maybe.” The only deal that they’re making with you at the moment is buying your permission to show the idea to a couple of appropriate networks. If the networks say “No deal,” then that’s what it is—no deal. Most TV networks won’t deal with you directly ...

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