Alternative dispute resolution between actors and directors

or how to avoid the crisis



By Gabriel Héaulme

SKEMA Business School

Lille, France




This paper aims at understanding the financial and time risks of a dispute on a film set and what are the best alternative resolution that could be implemented. Along this paper we will tried to analyse and compare the alternatives. We will first define how this theme is linked to project, practice and program portfolio, then we will try to understand all the issues linked to the movie production industry through the main causes of disputes thanks to a Root cause analysis. Then, we used specific tools such as a non-compensatory model, a multi-attribute decision-making grid, a matrix analysis and, an additive weighting technique model. We used them to assess each scoring attributes, each alternative, and finally the best alternative dispute resolution.

Finally, prevention seems to be the best alternative dispute resolution. We will make a Pareto analysis to highlight the impact of disputes with Prevention and without it.

Key words:      Conflict Resolution, Movies Failure, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediator, Contractual Disputes


“A long dispute means that both parties are wrong.” – Anonymous. This quote may mean that while two or more people are arguing in a conflict, they are wasting time, money, and energy that could have been used for something more useful. And at the end, everyone is losing. Movies or stages actors can play a lot of roles and emotions, they can pretend to be edgy, but that does not prevent them to face real dispute. Indeed, in this area, actors and directors might face many tensions and sources of conflict, last august, for instance, the well-known director Danny Boyle quitted the new Bond film few weeks before starting filming due to a dispute with the main actor. How much, this kind of problem, could cost for the company? Concretely, dispute could be the causes of project failure in the movie world, it is a key point of concern in this industry where the rise in budgets has new records every year (+ 13.4% of budgets between 2015 and 2016 in France).[1]

As in the example given above, stakeholders in the film world may be under constant emotional pressure that can lead to arguments that will not find any compromise. That is why, these stakeholders should try to find more original ways to solve problems such as the Alternative Dispute Resolution. Any process of allowing conflicting parties to amicably seek and accept a solution to cease the conflict or any intervention by a third party that avoids the use of a procedure will be considered as alternative. “ADR is usually less formal, less expensive, and less time-consuming than a trial. ADR can also give people more opportunity to determine when and how their dispute will be resolved.”[2]

These alternative solutions could be arbitration, conciliation, mediation, negotiation, collaborative law, … We think this kind of tool could reduce the risks and costs of disputes between actors and directors. Disputes are a main issue in this sector, and even if they are finally solved, the legal procedure, in front of a court could cause a project failure, high costs, an increase in the delays and a bad image for the production team regarding the public who could be affected.

As we know a project is a temporary process, moreover, project management can be defined as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities in order to meet or exceed stakeholder needs and expectations for the project”[3]. The realization of a movie is a deliverable of a unique product in a temporary project defined by contract. The relationship and the tasks that need to be done appear in this contract. It is a response to a need and deployed in a specific context in this industry.

To better understand how this topic of movie production is related to the definitions of project, portfolio, program and assets, the table below will go into more detail on each of these points.


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Héaulme, G. (2019). Alternative dispute resolution between actors and directors or how to avoid the crisis, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VIII, September.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/pmwj85-Sep2019-Heaulme-alternative-dispute-resolution-between-actors-and-directors.pdf



About the Author

Gabriel Héaulme

Lille, France




Gabriel Héaulme is a PGE Student at SKEMA Business School currently in Msc Project Management and Program Management and Business Development in Lille, France.

Passionate about cinema, he has had many professional experiences in this field, both in front of and behind the camera. Highly involved in acting, he is now an improvisation teacher in Lille and leads a group of 14 people. At the same time, he manages a group of young Scouts aged 14 to 17 years old where his project management skills are highly appreciated for a team that wants to go abroad in the summer of 2019. He also had the opportunity to manage an international solidarity project on August 2015 with the objective of building a classroom in a school near Dschang in Cameroon. He recently received the PRINCE2 and Agile certifications during his semester.

Gabriel Héaulme can be contacted at gabriel.heaulme@skema.edu Or gabrielheaulme@hotmail.fr

Also available via his LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gabriel-héaulme-46a207130/


[1] Editor’s note: Number of movies approved by the CNC. https://www.afcinema.com/La-production-cinematographique-en-2016.html

[2] Quote from California Courts, © 2018 Judicial Council of California http://www.courts.ca.gov/3074.htm

[3]William R. Duncan (1996) – A guide to the project management body of knowledge http://www2.fiit.stuba.sk/~bielik/courses/msi-slov/reporty/pmbok.pdf