On a previously aired episode of Shark Tank, magician Rick Smith Jr. sought $1.5 million dollars for a 20% stake in a proposed Las Vegas magic show. That means he claims to be worth over $7 million; however, when grilled by the sharks, he admitted to having earned $200 thousand in the previous year – quite a discrepancy!
As you can imagine, the sharks proceeded to give Mr. Smith a big fat piece of humble pie.
“You haven’t proven yourself,” Barbara Corcoran simply put it. “It takes 10-15 years to be an ‘overnight’ success,” said Robert Herjavec. And billionaire Mark Cuban added, “You set your sights high, but you set them too high.”
And as soon as Mr. Smith began to argue, the most ruthless of all sharks, Kevin O’Leary bluntly shouted, “The guy who has the money makes the rules. That’s how it works!”
Independent filmmakers have a lot to learn from these sharks.
We need to prove ourselves before claiming to be worth millions and it takes many years to do that. And it’s great to set your sights high, but be reasonable and honest, access your gifts, talents, resources and connections. Don’t set them so high that you look like a fool while reaching, destined to fail.
And how true is Mr. O’Leary’s comment to us indie filmmakers? If you want folks to give you big bucks to make your film, be prepared to play by their rules!