“You’re not done when you do a deal,
You do a deal when you’re done.”
Over the last few years, there has been an exciting gold rush of activity and interest in “franchise” development and expansion. Many studios, networks, toy companies, publishers and more, are all looking at their libraries and asking themselves how they can make their library do more and make more. In many cases, the answer has been a dramatic increase in entertainment transacting and licensing as a way to jump into getting your story and brand/future franchise into other forms of expression.
In the successes I’ve helped to build, my approach has always been to start with the story first and then inform that story development with the needs and opportunities of all the places that it might see expression after the Meta-story is complete.
Though it is possible and even popular to first transact with entertainment partners for development and distribution in other media formats, without strong narrative guidance and a clear understanding of what you want each media to deliver for your story, there is significant risk in not focusing on understanding or making your Meta-story first.
Some of those significant risks can be:
- Non-aligned different stories being told by different media
- The big media redefining your story/brand/franchise in ways you may not have intended
- A loss of control of your central story
- Hit or miss success in the different formats through “ancillary” licensing
- A diluting of your chain of title or equities due to undeveloped story
- Confusion of your existing audience
- Dilution of your story or brand equities