As Google hands out millions of dollars to YouTube creators, creative networks are rapidly becoming a necessity. At this point, anyone looking to become a professional content creator needs to understand that the way of the independent YouTube star is quickly becoming a thing of the past. As this industry grows, more and more studios will begin to form–some with less honorable intentions than others. As we can see from modeling agencies, film companies and management, oftentimes talent can be easily taken advantage of if they are uninformed. In the event that you are a YouTube creator looking to be represented, here are some things you should know.
1.Make Sure You Know Everything About The Network
Friend of NMR and guest blogger Will Keenan gave us this advice about transparency from networks. When we posed this question to the Maker Studios executive, he told us simply, “Make sure the network is fully transparent (estimated earnings, data, etc.).” Though it may seem simple enough, many people–in the excitement of getting signed–tend to ignore this fundamental information. If a studio cannot give you every scrap of information you request, than maybe it isn’t the studio for you. A studio needs to be professional and open about their plans for you and offer you something other than “We are going to make you huge!” Ask for data about past clients, plans for the future and growth; if they stare at you blankly, run for the nearest exit.
2.Research The Contracts
Although we recommend you hire an attorney, typically, if you are an aspiring YouTube creator, you won’t have the boatloads of money needed to hire a lawyer. In that case, there a few things you can do to understand what you are signing.
First, you must understand how large the contract really is. Know the difference between a 1-year contract and a 20-year contract. If you discover that this is something that will control your life for the next few decades, make sure it is something you absolutely want.
Second, spend as much time as you want with a contract. If a studio is demanding you sign on the spot, they are probably trying to slip something past you. Ask for a copy to take somewhere to review on your own time. This is your professional life; you should have complete control of it.
Finally, do not be afraid to have the terms of the contract rewritten. If there is something you don’t like or think is fair, ask the studio to write something new. If they can’t agree to do that–move on, this isn’t the studio for you.
3.See If The Network Matches Your Style
Many networks work in broad strokes, but many also have specific types of talent they represent. Someone looking to do action films wouldn’t go to an agency that specializes in comedy. The same applies for YouTube creator networks. If you are a gaming personality, think about studios like Machinima and Maker who have designated teams specifically for gaming. Research the talent that each individual studio represents, and see if your content fits among them.
4.Never Rush Things
This is probably the hardest part of signing to a network. As a YouTube creator, you want to be validated for your years of hard work. Even though jumping at the first offer you get may seem right, it rarely is. If networks want you for your work, it means it has value to people. If you aren’t crazy about a specific network or contract, don’t be afraid to turn them down. If your content is good enough, more networks will come knocking at your door. When it comes to your art and talent, do not settle.
5.Don’t Think That The Network Will Handle Everything
Once you get signed to a network, it doesn’t mean that all the hard work is over. In fact, it probably means the complete opposite. You will have an opportunity to use a network’s resources and connections to reach a maximum number of viewers, so make sure you are putting out great content. Again, a word from Maker Studio’s Will Keenan: “Joining a good network can take a channel or creator to the next level, but the channel’s job is not over. Only when both parties (the network and the creator) each do their part do results seem to match the combined effort.”