Wildseed Studios invests directly into piloting ideas from creators, with further investment available for ideas that connect. We look for ideas in comedy, genre fiction and kids 6-11 years. Once we have piloted an idea, we either grow the franchise ourselves or seek premium platform partners with who we can grow the project. To date Wildseed have published about 20 new IP’s and have achieved a 50% third party pickup rate.
Wildseed Studios is a new kind of content and talent incubation company.
Targeting new creators and new ideas, Wildseed Studios makes £10k investments into piloting new projects to develop a new generation of creators and content. The projects that connect with an audience have access to further investment.
Wildseed Studios’s mission is to enable new creators (and established creators interested in working in a new way) to do great work, take risks and be creatively brave. Wildseed Studios does not seek to creatively control the projects it invests in but we will advise, mentor, support, market, sell and monetise the content, and share in its success with the creators.
We will move fast, and be ready to invest time, money and energy into projects that we and our audience like. Equally when a project does not work we will move on – because we want everyone to focus their energies where there the possibilities are most numerous.
Wildseed Studios has its own YouTube Channel where all its pilots, tests, experiments, episodes and finished films are showcased. New projects don’t just have to be films though; they can be apps, games, books, live events – we aim to enable great content and we want it to be free to roam onto the platform to which it is best suited.
One of the common denominators of our output is that great characters are at the centre of every idea. The areas we are focusing on are adult live action and animated comedy (i.e. not stand-up or comedy quizzes), kids 6 to 11 and sci-fi/fantasy/horror. The core audience for our content divides into two – 13 to 35 year olds everywhere, and kids 6-12.
Wildseed Studios was founded by Miles Bullough (ex Aardman & Absolutely) and Jesse Cleverly (ex BBC and Royal Court Theatre) and launched in April 2013.
We are looking for scripted entertainment projects that are original, exciting, fresh and with attitude, energy and attack. We don’t mind what form ideas take – they can be videos, prose, scripts, game prototypes, drawings, recordings and can be destined for any platform – YouTube, TV, the Cinema, ebook stores, the stage, app stores – any.
The ideas that are likely to get our attention quickly are the ones that introduce us to great characters right from the start, characters that an audience wants to ‘be or be with’.
There are some common themes that we are using to help us narrow down our search; we are looking for passionate and talented creators that we can partner with and help realise their ideas with financial, creative and strategic support from us. We are actively encouraging new creators to pursue their creative ambitions with us, as well as more established creators who are interested in working in a new way.
We want to support a new wave of creative talent that is self-motivated, prepared to work fast and cheap and wants to learn, develop and be successful.
Sending us an idea commits you to nothing – apart from a conversation with us: if we like your idea we will get in touch with you and start that conversation, we will try and arrange to meet or to talk online to see if we can move the project forward together.
One person may submit as many separate ideas as they like, but please be aware that we only look at an idea once – so resubmitting a slightly tweaked idea won’t be accepted!
We have developed a series of standard deal terms which, if we want to talk to you about taking your project forward, we will share with you straight away. To give you an idea of our approach though the main points of our terms are set out below. These are for guidance only (as are all the FAQ answers) and do not form part of any agreement that we might enter into with you.
We agree what the next step should be with the project; a pilot or test, a series of shorts, a game prototype an iBook – whatever.
We agree a budget with you for that next step which can be £1,000 or up to £10,000. This budget should go towards developing the project and not towards fees or salaries. People need to live, we get that, but this stage is about investing in the future of an idea, not about making money.
We may all agree that you should get paid a fee or a minimum wage type of salary, but at this early stage we want to keep those fees and salaries as low as possible, preferably zero.
We license the underlying rights (e.g. the characters and format of an idea) from you on an exclusive basis for a short period of time. If we make new intent during this initial period and the content earns money, we pay you a percentage of the profits
If we are good partners and keep on commissioning new material from you based on your ideas, our exclusive license is automatically renewable on an annual basis. If we stop either commissioning new material or there are no royalties coming through to you then the underlying rights in your ideas(s) revert to you and we have no further right to produce new material using your idea(s), i.e. we can’t squat on your idea and do nothing with it.
If we finance new material based on your underlying rights then we need to own that material and exploit it commercially throughout the world, in all media in perpetuity and pay you a share of all the profits for ever from the commercial exploitation of that material.
After 5 years, if we have been continuously good partners, we want the right to buy the underlying rights to the idea(s) from you outright, though your right to receive your share of the profits from your idea(s) continues for ever.
If the above doesn’t make much sense to you don’t worry, we will make sure it does before we start working together in earnest. We want everyone to understand and be happy with the way we work together so we have created a discretionary fund to support those who don’t have the resources to consult a lawyer or commercial advisor.
Our initial investment can be anything up to £10,000 and we will use this to create material with which to test the idea. If the idea shows real promise, we have further funding available to take it to the next stage – which means we can always move quickly to capitalise on success.
You will never owe us anything. Our investment is our risk – which we take because we believe you and your idea(s) have potential. If the project does not work out (i.e. it doesn’t catch the audience’s imagination and doesn’t make any money) you will owe us nothing: we earn our share of the profits by risking the money in and developing it for free, you earn your share of the profit by coming up with the idea in the first place and developing it for free (or as little as possible) in the early stages.
If there are a lot of materials that you have created that form the basis of the idea then we might option the underlying rights in the materials for a low fee, say £250.
In terms of getting paid for the development work you do after the deal is made, as we have said above, if we need to pay you so that you can focus on the job in hand and not have to pull pints or stack shelves then that’s fine and in these cases we may agree an hourly, daily or weekly rate for your work on creating new materials for us. We will arrive at an agreement on this by discussion, but our starting point is always ‘we aren’t charging any fees out of this money, do you really need to?’.
If we are fortunate enough to get someone else (like a tv network for example) to invest in the idea alongside us then we can all start to get paid reasonable fees and salaries, depending on the level of investment from the third party.
If the idea works and makes money we will share the profits with you in a meaningful way. By keeping the up-front costs low we can reach profitability sooner and share those profits with you more generously than if we were paying you big fees up front.
Our share of profits goes towards paying us and towards continued investment in new content and new talent – we are constantly looking for ways to top up our investment fund so we can keep investing in you, your ideas and all the creators who will follow in your footsteps.
You own the copyright in your ideas and materials right up until the moment that you sign a contract with anyone that assigns copyright to them.
It’s very hard to protect copyright in a general idea. If you sent us an idea which was ‘a heist movie with dogs’ that is unlikely to be protectable by copyright, it’s too generic. It is much easier to protect copyright if the idea has an element of originality and has been incarnated as a design or written down. So, for example, if you sent us character descriptions and/or designs of an idea which is unique and original you would definitely be protected by copyright.
Our contract means that copyright in the characters and format of your ideas stays with you (unless we buy it from you after 5 years) but copyright in the actual materials we develop with you,finance and produce based on those characters or format will belong to us.
For example – if you invented James Bond you would still own the underlying rights to the idea of a spy called James Bond, you would exclusively license those rights to us to make films with the character and if we paid to produce Skyfall, we would own the rights in the movie itself but share with you in the profits we made from it. We can but dream, eh?
People get very worried about this but it doesn’t happen very often (and never with Wildseed Studios!). Firstly, companies such as ours would much rather buy the rights to an idea and know that they weren’t going to get into trouble later than take the risk of not buying them and getting involved in costly law suits further down the line. Besides, all investors want to see that the underlying rights are cleared before they risk investment money.
Secondly, what we usually find is that an idea that comes to us usually needs work and modification. What we are usually doing is saying, ‘hello, this idea has promise, we have faith in you as a creator and would you like to collaborate with us to try and develop your idea into something great’.
So, it wouldn’t just be your idea we are interested in – it would be you, your creative talent and your idea.
Thirdly, if you have an original take or an original voice or an original way of doing things, then we won’t be able to or want to make anything based on your idea without you. It’s your talent we want, the ideas we can work on together.
If you have an idea like our now infamous ‘it’s a heist movie with dogs’ then you can be sure that dozens of other people will have had exactly that or a very similar idea and are trying to sell it, possibly to us and certainly to many others, at the same time. It’s not just your unique idea that we want, it is your originality that we want too and nobody can steal that.
We have to protect ourselves against people sending us generic ideas that are similar to ones that we have already received or that we are working on ourselves, hence the disclaimer notice on our send us an idea page. This gives us very basic protection against people ‘trying it on’ (much more common by the way than people actually stealing ideas) but this in no way allows us to steal copyrightable ideas which is illegal.
Here’s that disclaimer notice that you will find on the send us an idea page:
‘Please note that we cannot accept liability for loss of any unsolicited material which you send us. If you do send us any materials (including programme ideas, formats, taster tapes, showreels), please be aware that your submitted material may contain ideas which are the same or similar to ideas which have already been independently developed by us or other third parties and so you expressly understand and accept when sending unsolicited material to us that we may have already independently developed or acquired ideas without use of your submitted material or may do so in the future. In such event, there will be no breach of your copyright or confidentiality’.
Generally speaking we don’t sign NDA’s. They serve little useful purpose, they take ages to negotiate, they slow everything down and can create an atmosphere of mistrust.
They can be useful in special circumstances, where you have particularly well-known talent attached to your idea for example and you want us to promise to keep that quiet. In cases such as that we would consider signing an NDA. Just to look at new ideas we rarely would.
Every now and again we come across people who have gone to great lengths and expense to trademark their ideas at a very early stage. We rarely recommend this. Your work is protected by copyright to the fullest extent that it can be without you having to do anything.
It is advisable to create a record of when you came up with something in case of future disputes, the easiest way to do that is to commit it to paper or disc and post it to yourself registered delivery and don’t open the envelope.
Trademarking should be undertaken when there is likely to be trade in your idea and usually comes into its own when you have created a successful piece of Intellectual Property that others then feel they might want to copy or make something similar to in a way that creates confusion in the mind of a consumer.
Trademarking should, in our opinion, wait until you know if you have a successful project or property on your hands at which point it becomes vital. No point in trademarking something, at a potential cost of tens of thousands of pounds, which then doesn’t go anywhere. If in doubt take sensible legal advice.
What you might want to do is check that your idea doesn’t infringe an already existing trademark. It’s a complex issue that requires professional advice but you can look online, especially at the Intellectual Property Office website in the UK or the United States Patent and Trademark Office Website in the US to get more information and do an initial search.
It’s very important to us that you understand the deal you would do with us from the very beginning. For this reason we have a small discretionary fund to pay the legal fees of creators who can’t afford a lawyer to look at our contract. The amount we offer is usually enough to cover a couple of hours of work from a mid price range media lawyer.
We can recommend people that you can talk to (who are independent of Wildseed Studios) or we can pay your own lawyer, provided they are genuine media lawyers and not general solicitors for example who aren’t used to dealing with Intellectual Property contracts. Whether we offer this support is entirely at our discretion and needs to be agreed up front.
If you are a creator with an idea you think we should hear then we have a formal submissions process. Check on the current status of submissions to Wildseed Studios below or check out the shows we have already commissioned.
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© Wildseed Studios 2016