Does the film producer really require 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” ;.Several producers these days are themselves film lawyers, entertainment attorneys, and other types of lawyers, and so, often can look after themselves. Nevertheless the film producers to be concerned about, are the ones who act as if they are entertainment lawyers – but with out a license or entertainment attorney legal experience to back it up. Filmmaking and film practice comprise an industry wherein these days, unfortunately, “bluff” and “bluster” sometimes serve as substitutes for actual knowledge and experience. But “bluffed” documents and inadequate production procedures will never escape the trained eye of entertainment attorneys working for the studios, the distributors, the banks, or the errors-and-omissions (E&O) insurance carriers. Because of this alone, Perhaps, the task function of film production counsel and entertainment lawyer is still secure.
I also suppose that there can be a few lucky filmmakers who, through the entire entire production process, fly underneath the proverbial radar without entertainment attorney accompaniment. They’ll seemingly avoid pitfalls and liabilities like flying bats are reputed to prevent people’s hair. Through analogy, among my best friends hasn’t had any health insurance for decades, and he is still in good shape and economically afloat – this week, anyway. Taken in the aggregate, some people can be luckier than others, and some people can be more inclined than others to roll the dice.
But it is all too simplistic and pedestrian to inform oneself that “I’ll steer clear of the need for film lawyers if I just 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 method of film production previously, then that entertainment lawyer has already learned most 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 pitfalls. How? By clear thinking, careful planning, and – this is actually the absolute key – skilled, thoughtful and complete documentation of film production and related activity. The film lawyer should not be looked at as simply the person seeking to establish compliance. Sure, the entertainment lawyer may sometimes be usually the one who says “no” ;.Nevertheless the entertainment attorney can be a positive force in the production as well.
The film lawyer can, in the span of legal representation, assist the producer as a fruitful business consultant, too. If that entertainment lawyer has been a part of scores of film productions, then the film 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 to permit for counsel, but professional filmmakers tend to view the legal cost expenditure to be always a fixed, predictable, and necessary one – similar to the fixed obligation of rent for the production office, or the price of film for the cameras. While some film and entertainment lawyers may price themselves out of the price range of the average independent film producer, other entertainment attorneys do not.
Like it or not, the film lawyer entertainment attorney continues, “Film is just a speculative business, and the statistical most of motion pictures can fail economically – even at the San Fernando Valley film studio level. It’s irrational to run a movie business or some other type of business out of one’s own personal bank account” ;.Besides, it looks unprofessional, a real concern if the producer wants to attract talent, bankers, and distributors at any point in the future.
The options of where and just how to file an entity in many cases are prompted by entertainment lawyers but then driven by situation-specific variables, including tax concerns concerning the film or film company sometimes. The film producer should let an activity attorney law get it done and get it done correctly. Entity-creation is affordable. Good lawyers don’t look at incorporating a customer as a profit-center anyway, due to the obvious prospect of new business that the entity-creation brings. As the film producer should remember that under U.S. law a customer can fire his/her lawyer anytime at all, many entertainment lawyers who do the entity-creation work get asked to complete further work for that same client – particularly when the entertainment attorney bills the very first job reasonably.
I wouldn’t recommend self-incorporation by 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 utilize on a certain film shot. As is going to be true on a movie production set, everybody has their own job to do. And I genuinely believe that the moment the producer lets a reliable entertainment lawyer do his or her job, things will quickly gel for the film production in ways that couldn’t even be originally foreseen by the film producer.
2. SOLICITING INVESTMENT: This issue also often takes its 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 unique scenario). The film producer will likely start soliciting funds for the movie from so-called “passive” investors in numerous possible ways, and may actually start collecting some monies as a result. Sometimes this occurs prior to the entertainment lawyer hearing about it post facto from his or her client.
If the film producer is not really a lawyer, then the producer should not even 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 cornerstone of the representation, trust me, the film producer can have a lot more grave problems than conscience to deal with. Securities compliance work is among the most difficult of matters faced by an activity attorney