i have had a great opportunity to make an animation for a music video but the guy i am in talks with mentioned payment would be done through royalties.
my question is, has anyone done any work that is basically free but involves royalties? does anyone have any suggestions as to what i need to agree with him?
Mike knows what he's talking about. Getting paid on the back end is usually a sign you're about to get screwed over. Not all people are scumbags, but red flags should pop up when they say you'll get paid "when the deal is made." Favor for a friend or a passion project is another story entirely. Love the skill for skill route. Never even thought of that option.
My rusty experience in TV (in the 90's!) was never not getting paid - I worked for the big studios mainly. But I found that it often took ages for my invoice to be settled - long after I had sweated over this or that effect and it was in the can. I got angry because it was so disrespectful of my professional work.
I came across a very useful tip, which was to add 10% to the bill, and then add a note at the bottom to the effect that if it was paid within 14 days a 10% discount was applicable.
This worked a treat, because it was an offer not a threat. I could have said "Bills not settled within 14 days will attract a 10% surcharge", but somehow offering a 'discount' seemed more attractive.
Never paid late again after that!
When working with friends, I tend to trade skill for skill. Or knowledge for skill. That's when there's no budget, though. When there is a budget, we work something out beforehand, I render them a 320x240 pixel preview of the work, and send the full resolution version after they pay me. If they don't pay me, they're stuck with what they've got. It's a way of proving that the work is done, and letting them see what they're paying for.