When Making Films You Need to Know How to Negotiate


It's important in life to know how to negotiate if you ever want to get anywhere. People (including myself) are stupid. It's best to pick up on some of these useful tips, even if you're not using them for film, just so you don’t end up being physically threatened by your camera operator... A story for another day.

  • Deliberately speak slowly because it shows confidence and the diminishes the appearance of over-eagerness
  • When you get to the very edge of what you're willing to give or give up in negotiations, stop, don't say anything, leave an awkward silence. This will make the other party very uncomfortable and will often get them to concede some key point to get the conversation going again. One of the most important things in a negotiation is to not negotiate against yourself. And, chances are, if you are talking a lot, you are probably doing yourself a disservice. People who talk a lot in a negotiation often end up unwittingly negotiating against themselves. Get comfortable with silence. You will probably find that if you are in a conversation and you do not respond, the person who last spoke will probably end up speaking again. And in a negotiation, anyone who speaks to fill the void often times ends up giving ground.
  • Eye-contact is huge. Not like creepily staring at someone, but not hesitating to look someone in the eyes when you speak to them makes a big impression. Also smelling good really helps people first impression of you, whether they recognize it or not. While viewing faces, human adults often demonstrate a natural gaze bias towards the left visual field, that is, the right side of the viewee’s face is often inspected first and for longer periods.
  • Never rush into a deal. If you are in no hurry to get what you're looking for, eventually you will get what you want for around the price that you want it. Don't be afraid to stand firm and walk away.
  • Watch the movie "Thank You for Smoking." Great tips on debating, negotiating, and manipulating.
  • If you're saying or suggesting something, slightly nod your head as you speak. It makes the other person more inclined to agree with you. It seems to work for me, but anecdotal evidence is far from proof.
  • Firm but flexible handshake.
  • Be wary of flattery. People will try to butter you up, for instance by complimenting your taste and intelligence. What they are really saying is "I think you are foolish and easily manipulated."
  • During any negotiation or deal your introduction is the only thing you should say first. After saying hi, your name and asking an open ended question you speak after the other group. The purpose of this is to show confidence and to give you the flexibility to counter any unsatisfactory replies. For example, group A and Group B is discussing a deal or sale. Group B goes for the introduction and asks "how are we going to get this deal done?" Group B doesn't say anything until group A replies from there group B can dictate the negotiation and control the majority of group A's issues. Simple idea, hard to employ if you're not prepared.
  • When working with someone in a negotiation it is important to say their name back to them during the conversation without emphasizing it. It displays that you are genuinely interested in speaking with them and that you are working "with" them as a person.
  • "There are 2 rules for success.
    1: Never tell everything you know"

  • Try to eliminate any "um" or "like" in your sentences when they don't belong.
  • In tense or uncomfortable situations where you find yourself in the role of a representative, it's good to slow down a bit in general. Choose words deliberately, think about your body language and eye contact. This way you won't be as likely to fidget and show other unconscious signs of uncertainty.
  • When playing Rock paper scissors - always go paper - most people start with rock.
  • Lower the volume of your voice slightly when describing product points. This will force them to lean toward you and listen more closely, as if you were telling them a secret. People like to hear secrets and find them more believable than a "pitch".