The need for a lawyer in entertainment in film production

Does the film producer really need a lawyer or a lawyer specialized in the field of entertainment? Notwithstanding the prejudices of the lawyer and my stacking of the question, which could naturally indicate a “yes” 100% of the time – the direct answer is “it depends”. They are movie lawyers, entertainment lawyers or other types of lawyers, and they often do their own thing. But film producers who need to worry are those who act as entertainment lawyers, but without legal experience of licensing or entertainment advocate to back it up. The production of films and films in the industry, including “bluffing” and “bragging”, sometimes replace real knowledge and experience. But “bluffed” documents and inadequate production procedures will never escape the trained eye of entertainment and insurance companies. For this reason alone, I suppose, the film production and production consultant and the entertainment lawyer are always safe.

I also suppose that there are always lucky filmmakers who, throughout the entire production process without the entertainment lawyer’s accompaniment. They apparently avoid the pitfalls and responsibilities, as flying bats are known to avoid people’s hair. By analogy, one of my best friends has not had health insurance for years and he is still healthy and economically afloat – this week anyway. Global tasks, some people will always be better than others, and some people will always be inclined to roll the dice.

But it is too simplistic and pedestrian to say that “I will avoid the need for cinema lawyers if I simply stay out of trouble and be careful.” A lawyer specializing in entertainment, especially in the field of film production (or other), can be a constructive asset for a film producer, as well as the personal inoculation chosen by the producer of the film. If the entertainment lawyer of the producer has already followed the film production process, this lawyer specializing in entertainment has already learned a lot of difficult lessons and the film attorney can also be found.

the producer a lot of these traps. How? Through clear thinking, careful planning and – it’s the absolute key – competent, thoughtful and comprehensive documentation of all film production and related activities. The film attorney should not be considered as a simple request for compliance. Of course, the entertainment lawyer can sometimes be the one who says “no”. The film’s lawyer can also be used in production.

The film attorney may, as a legal representative, also be an effective business consultant. If this entertainment lawyer is involved in scores or film productions, then the film producer who hires an entertainment lawyer takes advantage of this experience. Yes, it can be difficult to stretch the film budget to allow lawyers, but professional filmmakers are a fixed, predictable and necessary interlocutor. or the cost of the film for the cameras. Although some lawyers specializing in film and entertainment may be outside the mainstream film producer, other lawyers specialize in entertainment.

Enough of generalities. For which specific tasks should a producer retain the services of a film attorney and an entertainment lawyer ?:

1. INCORPORATION, OR TRAINING FROM AN “LLC”: To paraphrase Gordon Gecko’s character in Michael Douglas’s “Wall Street” movie when he talks to Bud While on the phone, this number-of-entity “awakening” training from the lawyer to the film’s producer, telling the producer that it’s time. If the producer does not create, do not file and do not properly maintain the business, then the entertainment lawyer, then the film producer may be injured. In the worst case, the attorney agrees that the personal property of the film producer (house, car, bank account, etc.) is in danger and, in the worst case, the debts and liabilities of the film producer. the company of the film producer. In other words:

Patient: “Doctor, it hurts my head when I do that”.

Doctor: “So do not do that”

continues, “the film is a speculative affair, and there is no saving – even at the San Fernando Valley film studios.” In addition, this seems unprofessional, a real concern if the producer wants to attract talent, bankers and distributors at any time.

The choice of place and time by situation-specific variables, including tax problems related to the film or film society. The film producer must have a lawyer specializing in entertainment and do it properly. The creation of entity is affordable. Good lawyers do not seek to integrate a client as a profit center, because of the obvious potential of creating a new entity. While the film producer should be aware that under the United States a lawyer is a lawyer at any time, many lawyers who do not know what to do in the future.

I would not recommend self-incorporation by a non-lawyer – nor would I tell a film producer-client what lens to use a specific film shot. As will be the case on a film production platform, everyone has their own job to do. And I do not know what he does, but I do not know what he does for film production in a way that could not be imagined by the movie producer.

2. SOLIDARITY INVESTMENT: This problem is often a call or a kind of awakening. Let’s say that the producer wants to make a movie with the money of others. (No, not an unusual scenario). The film producer will likely start soliciting funds for the film from so-called “passive” investors in a number of ways, and may even start raising money. Sometimes the lawyer hears about it from his client.

If the film producer is not a lawyer, the producer should not think of “trying this at home”. Like it or not, the entertainment lawyer opines, the movie producer will sell titles to people. If the producer promises unexpected results to investors in the context of this inherently speculative venture called film, and then collects money on the basis of this representation, believe me, the producer will have more serious problems than consciousness. Dealing with securities compliance activities are subject to a lawyer specializing in leisure.

As a lawyer, securities lawyers and securities lawyers isolate, retain or solicit film or other investments. Whatever the quality of the screenplay, the money is never worth it, not to mention the real break-up of the unfinished film if the producer is nailed. Meanwhile, it’s shocking to see how many ersatz movie producers in the real world are trying to introduce their own “investment flyer”, with anticipated multipliers of the famous film’s figures. ” AND” and “Jurassic Park” combined. They write these monstrosities with their own creativity and imagination, but also without a lawyer, lawyer or other legal advisor. I’m sure some of these producers see themselves as “visionaries” when writing the flyer. Lawyers in the entertainment industry and the rest of the bar, as well as by theme, as potential “defendants”.


3. FACE GUILDS: Suppose the movie producer has decided, even without the advice of an entertainment lawyer, that the production entity will have to act as a bargaining agreement or unions such as Screen Actors Guild ( SAG), the Directors Guild (DGA) and / or the Writers Guild (WGA). This is a subject that some film producers can handle themselves, especially experienced producers. But if the film producer can afford it, the producer should consult a lawyer or an entertainment lawyer to contact the guilds. The producer should certainly consult a lawyer or lawyer before publishing any writings or signing a document. Not planning these guild issues in advance with a movie or entertainment lawyer could lead to problems and expenses that may make it prohibitive to continue production.

4. CONTRACTUAL BUSINESS GENERALLY: A film production contract must be written and must not be saved at the last minute, as any entertainment lawyer will observe. It will be more expensive to call a film advisor at the end of the day. A film producer must remember that a plaintiff for breach of contract could not ask for money to obtain damages, but could also seek an injunction relief (“Judge , stop this production … stop this movie … stop this movie … Cut! “.

A film producer does not want to claim a talent claim, nor a disgruntled place owner, nor authorities of child labor – threatening to refuse or close film production for reasons that could be avoided through careful planning, writing, research and communication with a lawyer or entertainment lawyer The film production agreements should be concluded with the Entertainment Lawyer, […]

As a specialized entertainment lawyer, I have seen non-film producers lawyers try to write their own legal texts. for their own images. As mentioned above, a few are lucky and stay under the proverbial radar. But consider this: if you want to see, the “chain of titles” and the “development” and the “project” are the project, one of the first things that the distributor or the buyer of film and production file, with all agreements signed. The production insurer may also want to see the same documents. Guilds too. And their entertainment lawyers. Documents must be written in such a way as to survive the audience.

Therefore, for a film producer to improvise the law, just put a lot of problems up to date and create an air of amateurism without a lawyer. the production file. It will be expensive for the film producer to tackle all of these issues rather than using them later, with the help of a lawyer or an entertainment lawyer. And it is likely that any self-respecting entertainment lawyer or lawyer will have to rephrase substantial parts (if not all) of the producer’s self-produced production record once he has seen what the Film producer has done it all alone – and this translates into unfortunate and unnecessary spending. I would not like anyone else because my chiropractor should move and negotiate his own film contracts. Plus, I would not do half of the chiropractic adjustment myself, and then call the chiropractor in the exam room to finish what I started. (I’m using the chiropractic pattern only to spare you the cliché or “perform surgery on oneself”)

There are many other reasons for keeping a movie. But the most cited are the big ones.

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