I recently attended a seminar run by the by the New Producers Alliance (a film industry organisation) in London, on making sure your fees as a freelancer don't drop too much during the current economic meltdown.
Having read the frankly astonishing accounts of movie industry negotiation in books like William Goldman's Adventures In The Screen Trade and Julia Phillips' You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again, I figured that the film industry might have a different approach to print and Web-oriented writers like myself. Much of the material was pretty familiar, but presenter Rebecca Knapp made one surprising revelation about the haphazard nature of meetings in the movie business:
The most important thing in terms of negotiation is preparing — really thinking about your meeting before you get there and what your goals are. We all sometimes turn up at meetings and act like it's an initial meeting and then when they go "how much do you want?" we're surprised. Even if it is an initial meeting, you should know what you want out of it.
Sound advice even if you have no intention of seeking funding for a robotic vampire rom com in the near future. For more on negotiating, check out how to get a pay rise by not asking for cash and how to haggle.