In the ’90s, screenwriter Ron Bass was a screenwriting machine. He wrote many well known films including Rain Man and a number of Julia Roberts movies such as Sleeping with the Enemy, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and Stepmom.
He didn’t do it all alone. And he received a lot of criticism for this. But it’s a great example of how business works, and how going the extra mile can solidify your position in an industry and be very lucrative at the same time.
So who helped him write all these great scripts? Well, the Ronettes of course.
Ron Bass had a very lucrative deal with Sony Pictures. At one point, if I remember reading correctly, the deal called for him to write 7 scripts a year. He would get paid $1 million a script whether the movie was made or not. Not a bad deal.
Enter The Ronettes!
He always had a staff of writers and researchers working for him. Usually six or seven people. Usually women. Their job was to help polish up the writing. They would find the perfect joke for a scene. The perfect character name that had some symbolical meaning. Whatever was needed. They became known throughout the industry as “The Ronettes”.
In an interview once, Ron stated that he could probably write 6 screenplays a year all by himself. So why hire 6 or 7 people to help you write just one more? Have you done the math yet?
I don’t know what he was paying the Ronettes, but let’s say $50,000 a year each. Times 7 adds up to $350k. And that still leaves $650K for Ron because he was able to write that one extra script a year.
Not bad. And on top of that, the scripts were better than they would have been without all that research and input that the Ronettes contributed to the process. Even if they cost him that whole extra million, his reputation and position in the industry was solidified by the quality of the work being produced by his team.
If you can bring in new people and leverage their work to gain additional business that pays for their efforts, you’re ahead of the game. And chances are, you have existing people or assets that aren’t being leveraged to their fullest potential. Find those opportunities and you’ll knock it out of the park.
Just thinking to myself … ‘Shanettes … Hmm … doesn’t quite have the same ring to it’