That Time The Mighty Mitten Went Hollywood
So. Did I ever tell you about the time my art was in a movie?
There I was, minding my own business, drawing my Michigan pictures, when out of the blue I received a not-so-mysterious message from a woman named Kendal.
“Hello!” the message began,“ I am a set decorator in New York City and I would love to use this print in a film I am currently working on. The film is called "Sleeping with Other People", a romantic comedy starring Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie.”
The print in question was the first Ann Arbor illustration I ever made; a dramatic upward-looking angle of the Student Union at The University of Michigan, which I actually made as a wedding gift for some good friends of mine. You can see below how it began its life as part of their save-the-dates.
So Kendal buys the print and sends over some paperwork to sign, the legal nature of which is a bit mysterious to me, but it basically gives Kendal and her crew permission to use the print in the movie. The contract also gave the them rights to reproduce and sell things in which my print might appear. For instance, it could appear in the background of a photo used as a DVD cover, or frankly in background of an image printed on a shirt, and so on.
Now, broadly speaking, if I were doing a commercial illustration, the more rights that are granted, the higher the fee for the work. In this case, I gave quite a lot of rights away for free. I mean, yes, the movie paid for the print, but if you, dear reader, were to buy a print, you own that print and nothing more. Could you sell that print to your neighbor? Of course. But that's basically the only way you could legally use your purchased print to make money for yourself.
All of this is just to say that there are not any royalties or other fancy financial bonuses from having your art appear on in movie. Just in case you were wondering. I mean, I guess the art (in whatever form... poster, t-shirt, whatever) could go viral as a result of being seen, and subsequently bring in a lot of sales, but it's a long shot. Turns out that using a Mighty Mitten print in your movie is (shockingly) a lot different than using a classic Led Zeppelin song in your movie. One can be had for seven figures, the other for $34.99 plus shipping. (if you don't have the latest Mighty Mitten free shipping code! - "SHIP21" ;-) You're welcome!)
Anyway, as I said before, the movie is called Sleeping with Other People (6.5/10 - IMDB, 63% - Rotten Tomatoes, 64% - Metacritic) and it stars Alison Brie, Jason Sudeikis, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet, and other cool actor folks. If you’re down with a $2.99 YouTube rental fee, well, there are certainly much, much worse movies out there. I dutifully watched the entire thing to see if my print actually made it into the film and was delighted to find out that it not only made the cut but was prominently featured directly behind Alison Brie in a climactic scene. Cue the emotion known as BIG EXCITE.
So there it is! The best thing from Michigan to make it to Hollywood since Tom Selleck? Maybe not. But it made for a nice spot on my personal little Walk of Fame.