Does the film producer really need a film lawyer or entertainment attorney as a matter of professional practice? An amusement lawyer’s own bias and my stacking of the question notwithstanding, which could naturally indicate a “yes” answer 100% of the time – the forthright answer is, “it depends” ;.A number of producers nowadays are themselves film lawyers, entertainment attorneys, and other forms of lawyers, and so, often can look after themselves. But the film producers to be worried about, are the people who behave as if they’re entertainment lawyers – but with no license or entertainment attorney legal experience to back it up. Filmmaking and motion picture practice comprise an industry wherein nowadays, unfortunately, “bluff” and “bluster” sometimes serve as substitutes for actual knowledge and experience. But “bluffed” documents and inadequate production procedures won’t ever escape the trained eye of entertainment attorneys doing work for the studios, the distributors, the banks, or the errors-and-omissions (E&O) insurance carriers. For this reason alone, I guess, the task function of film production counsel and entertainment lawyer remains secure.
I also guess that there can be a couple of lucky filmmakers who, through the entire production process, fly beneath the proverbial radar without entertainment attorney accompaniment. They will seemingly avoid pitfalls and liabilities like flying bats are reputed to prevent people’s hair. By way of analogy, among my close friends hasn’t had any health insurance for years, and he is still in good shape and economically afloat – this week, anyway. Taken in the aggregate, many people can be luckier than others, and many people can be more inclined than others to roll the dice.
But it’s all too simplistic and pedestrian to tell oneself that “I’ll steer clear of the dependence on film lawyers if I merely stay out of trouble and be careful” ;.An amusement lawyer, especially in the realm of film (or other) production, can be a real constructive asset to a film producer, in addition to the film producer’s personally-selected inoculation against potential liabilities. If the producer’s entertainment attorney has experienced the process of film production previously, then that entertainment lawyer has already learned lots of the harsh lessons regularly dished out by the commercial world and the film business.
The film and entertainment lawyer can therefore spare the producer a lot of those pitfalls. How? By clear thinking, careful planning, and – this is the absolute key – skilled, thoughtful and complete documentation of all film production and related activity. The film lawyer shouldn’t be considered as simply the individual seeking to ascertain compliance. Sure, the entertainment lawyer may sometimes be the main one who says “no” ;.But the entertainment attorney can be a positive force in the production as well.
The film lawyer can, in the course of legal representation, assist the producer as an effective business consultant, too. If that entertainment lawyer has been involved with scores of film productions, then your motion picture producer who hires that film lawyer entertainment attorney benefits from that very cache of experience. Yes, it sometimes might be difficult to stretch the film budget allowing for counsel, but professional filmmakers tend to view the legal cost expenditure to be a fixed, predictable, and necessary one – akin to the fixed obligation of rent for the production office, or the cost of film for the cameras. Though some film and entertainment lawyers may price themselves from the budget range of the common independent film producer, other entertainment attorneys do not.
Like it or not, the film lawyer entertainment attorney continues, “Film is a speculative business, and the statistical most of motion pictures can fail economically – even at the San Fernando Valley film studio level. It is irrational to perform a movie business or some other type of business out of one’s own personal bank account” ;.Besides, it looks unprofessional, an actual concern if the producer wants to attract talent, bankers, and distributors at any point in the future.
The choices of where and just how to file an entity are often prompted by entertainment lawyers but driven by situation-specific variables, including tax concerns law associated with the film or motion picture company sometimes. The film producer should let an amusement attorney do it and do it correctly. Entity-creation is affordable. Good lawyers don’t look at incorporating a customer as a profit-center anyway, because of the obvious possibility of new business that the entity-creation brings. Whilst the film producer should know that under U.S. law a customer can fire his/her lawyer at any time at all, many entertainment lawyers who do the entity-creation work get asked to complete further benefit that same client – particularly when the entertainment attorney bills the very first job reasonably.
I wouldn’t recommend self-incorporation with a non-lawyer – any longer than I would tell a movie producer-client what actors to hire in a film – or any longer than I would tell a D.P.-client what lens to make use of on a particular film shot. As is going to be true on a movie production set, everybody has their very own job to do. And I think that when the producer lets a reliable entertainment lawyer do their job, things will start to gel for the film production in techniques couldn’t even be originally foreseen by the motion picture producer.
2. SOLICITING INVESTMENT: This matter also often is really a wake-up call of sorts. Let’s say that the film producer wants to make a film with other people’s money. (No, not a silly scenario). The film producer will probably start soliciting funds for the movie from so-called “passive” investors in a variety of possible ways, and could possibly start collecting some monies as a result. Sometimes this occurs ahead of the entertainment lawyer hearing about this post facto from their client.
If the film producer is not just a lawyer, then your producer should not really consider “trying this at home” ;.Like it or not, the entertainment lawyer opines, the film producer will thereby be selling securities to people. If the producer promises investors some pie-in-the-sky results in the context of this inherently speculative business called film, and then collects money on the foundation of the representation, believe me, the film producer will have even more grave problems than conscience to deal with. Securities compliance work is among the absolute most difficult of matters faced by an amusement attorney