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Division of labor: managing an artist as a buisness partner?

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Should I be offended if he refuses to sign a contributor agreement, with my name as "the company"?


Unless you are starting a company with your name as the company, no.


You absolutely should talk to him.  


You absolute should get a legal structure in place


You absolutely should assign all work everyone does to the legal structure.



If you don't have a proper assignment of rights then each person independently owns their own contributions, and the group does not own any of the contributions.  That means you can only use the product as long as every individual agrees to use the product that way.


Without those agreements in place, if any person EVER leaves the group the project is tainted. If any person EVER wants their stuff removed, the project is tainted.  If any person EVER dies or becomes incapacitated then their estate, spouse, parents, or someone must also agree to all future use.  There is no good way to remove their content since it is likely fully integrated.   

Without those agreements in place you will not be able to get a proper publisher. You will not be able to get a proper distributor.  You will not be able to sell the product to a company. 


In short, without those agreements in place your product is legally tainted, it is a piece of poison no sane company will want to touch.


You, or someone else in your collaborative group, needs to ensure the legal side of the project is taken care of.


In order to do that without offending people too badly, you need to actually talk to people and get their agreement.

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No, my name is as  "the company", until we form the LLC as a place hold and as the team administrator.


Ya, that's what I been regards to the rights management.

We are technically classed as a "mod", but we're adding entirely new assets across th4e board.

Guess I just need to keep trying to get a time to sit down, and hammer things out.


If during incorporation processing, for the fees, we each pay half up front tight? Not I pay full, and he pays me back on an agreed upon later date?


I'm in a better financial situation he is at the moment, so I get the bad feeling I'd have to put up the money 1st. I've already done so a bit, to pay for the layer, contract, and a few contractors.


I was told I could write those off as long as I had receipts of transactions? digital or otherwise?

Edited by GeneralJist

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Who pays for it is up to you. The fees need to be paid to the appropriate agencies when forms are filed. Costs vary by state and city. Some cost in the twenties or thirties, others several hundred. I think California's is one of the worst at nearly $900 once you've paid off all the levels of government.

Yes, you should keep your receipts and filing information, plus copies of what you filed and copies of whatever they give you back.

Tax liability is a separate matter. Some business expenses can be written off, which basically means you get a fraction of the cost reduced from your taxes. You'll need to check with your local laws or someone who knows tax rules for that to be certain in your specific case.

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First, big disclaimer: this post is to be read as my personal experience, and though it makes broad generalizations, I hope I don't offend anyone as I pretty much know there are exceptions here.


The problem you're having here is twofold:


1 - You want a business partner, and your partner isn't a BUSINESS partner. He's just a skilled artist, and luckily enough, he seems like he's got enough love for the project to actually invest time (free) into this because he believes. From the looks of it, he also delivers. I agree the guy likely needs his share of the revenues on this, but naturally extending that to calling the shots and being responsible for the business would be stretching it, and likely bring him in a direction he doesn't want to go. Sadly, most artists I've known fit that mold rather well: commitment issues, don't want to do the paperwork, they just want to create things. Has he actually ever mentioned he wanted to be a business owner? or has he only expressed that he'd like equity in the project?


2 - You want a business partner, because you can't take all of the business matters in your own hands. Naturally, you've turned to him as he's already invested in the project, but his interests do not necessary align with your needs. 


My advice would be as follows:


- Consider giving him shares if you trust his judgment and can't make it without him, but you more than likely need to reduce his shares as he's not actually interested in the upstairs management role.


- Consider actually hiring a producer / project manager or coordinator. In my experience, coordinators are the lowest echelon of management and they're really fetchers: they insure that the things that need to happen do at the project level, so sending out e-mails, walking over to the guy, making spreadsheet lists and crossing off items, this is what they're in for, and this is generally good for a junior too, so you can cut on expanses there as well. This would free you some time to either focus on the business aspect or the project itself. Chances are you've already got your hands full with incorporation, PR, finances, etc.


- If necessary, consider outsourcing some of the work to business experts. Accountants don't come cheaply, but up to now, every penny invested in an accountant for my business has saved at least 2, so if you put it that way, they're the most valuable resource you have as a business owner.


- Consider your relationship with the artist on a project-basis. He wants equity for his work? perhaps you can arrange for him to get some rev-share on the project itself, through contracts, without actually have him invested in the organization as a founder. These are two radically different things and they're worth delving into. If you promise rev-share, all you have is a contract between your business and him which stipulates he gets a % of sales based off certain criteria (I would suggest a share of profits as it helps your business cover expanses first and only split what remains). Ownership of the company, on the other end, comes with a number of aggravations such as income tax regulations (at least here it does), responsibilities, etc. Doesn't seem like he's into 'that' so maybe you're best off as a sole proprietor, or might be looking for a different partner.


Don't hesitate to let me know if I missed any point though.

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1. Yes, he’s not there yet. I'm trying to get him to their tho.

He's said it's always been his dream to start a games company.

He's the most dedicated, and best artist we have.


2. I turn to him, since he's the natural choice, since we been doing it for 5+ years together.

Well, his interests align, but his actual management skills are not where I'd expect or need them to be, if he really wanted to do this, with me or with anyone.


Sure I have high high standards, and finding the creatively skilled person who's also a manager is the golden situation

Most those people start their own projects, cuz they can.


I've also decided, from the research so far, there is no way I'd go into it as a sole.


I'm more business HR

than business sales


straight business business 


Ever since we’ve started seriously talking about the LLC, I’ve naturally began adding additional standards and expectations to our interactions, which he has somewhat fallen short of, at least so far. Maybe I got this all wrong, and all will fall into place after some time and some deep conversations.


Time will tell.


Thanks yall.


If we make it, yall will know, and if we don't, I'll come here and do an analysis once the dust settles.




It never ends....IDK if I want it to either....

Edited by GeneralJist

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