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"Let's Do Lunch!"

The art of negotiating, tinseltown style

This story appears in the November 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

With all the glamour surrounding Hollywood, it's easy to forget that the entertainment industry is, arguably, the most entrepreneurial of all. Whether it's negotiating for a song, a TV show or a multinational media conglomerate, players in "the industry" are always making deals. Here are some great insights from a few seasoned and accomplished practitioners of the art:

Ask the experts. "Get yourself an advisor who knows something about the business, its economics and the players-be it an agent, an attorney, a banker or a CPA. Otherwise, you may get taken for a ride." This advice, from David Davis, senior vice president in Los Angeles of the entertainment division of investment bank Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin, applies across the board, whatever the deal, whatever the industry. No deal-maker needs to go it alone. Negotiation is a team sport, and the complementary skills of a well-chosen set of professionals are among the best predictors of success at the bargaining table.

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