Do film producers really need film lawyers or entertainment lawyers as a matter of professional practice? Bias an entertainment lawyer yourself and my buildup of that question, which might naturally show a “yes” answer 100% of the time – the frank answer is, “it depends”. A number of manufacturers today are film lawyers, entertainment lawyers, or other types of lawyers, etc., often able to take care of themselves. But film producers worry, people are acting as if they are entertainment lawyers – but without lawyers’ legal or entertainment experience to support it. Filmmaking and motion picture practice consists of an industry where today, unfortunately, “bluff” and “bluster” sometimes serve as a substitute for actual knowledge and experience. But “bullying” documents and inadequate production procedures will never be separated from the eyes of trained entertainment lawyers who work for studios, distributors, banks, or error-and-negligence (E & O) insurance operators. For this reason alone, I think, the work function of film production lawyers and entertainment lawyers is still safe.
I also think that there will always be some lucky filmmakers who, throughout the production process, fly under the proverbial radar without accompanying entertainment entertainment. They seem to be avoiding traps and obligations like famous flying bats to avoid people’s hair. By analogy, one of my best friends hasn’t had health insurance for years, and he’s still in good shape and economically floating – this week, however. Taken in aggregation groups, some people will always be luckier than others, and some people will always be more inclined than others to roll dice.
But it is too simple and pedestrians to tell themselves that, “I will avoid the need for film lawyers if I remain unmindful and careful”. Entertainment lawyers, especially in the field of film production (or other), can become tangible constructive assets for film producers, as well as privately selected films from inoculation of potential liabilities. If the producer entertainment attorney had gone through the previous film production process, then the entertainment lawyer had learned a lot from the rough lessons that were regularly presented by the commercial world and the film business.
The film and entertainment lawyer can avoid many producers from that trap. How? With clear thinking, careful planning, and – this is the absolute key – skilled, thoughtful and complete documentation of all film production and related activities. Film lawyers should not be considered as people who seek compliance. Of course, entertainment lawyers can sometimes be people who say “no”. But entertainment lawyers can be a positive force in production too.
Film lawyers can, in the process of legal representation, help producers as effective business consultants as well. If the entertainment lawyer has been involved with a number of film productions, then the film producer who hired the film lawyer, entertainment lawyer, benefited from the overwhelming experience. Yes, sometimes it may be difficult to stretch the film budget to allow advice, but professional filmmakers tend to see legal costs being fixed, predictable, and need one – similar to fixed rental obligations for production offices, or film costs for cameras. While some film and entertainment lawyers may determine their own prices from the price range of the average independent film producer, other entertainment lawyers don’t.
Sufficient generality. For what specific tasks should a producer usually maintain a film lawyer and entertainment lawyer?
- INCORPORATION, OR FORMATION OF “LLC”: Citing Gordon Gekko Michael Douglas in “Wall Street” when talking to Bud Fox on the morning beach on a big cellphone, the problem of forming this entity is usually an entertainment lawyer “wake up call” to the producer film, telling film producers that it’s time. If the producer does not properly create, file, and retain the company or other appropriate entity to do business, and if the film producer does not make an effort to protect a protected entity, said entertainment lawyer, the film producer has the potential to hurt himself. Without protection from the responsibilities that can be given by an entity, entertainment lawyers argue that film producers’ personal assets (such as houses, cars, bank accounts) are at risk and, in the worst case scenario, can be seized to satisfy the debt and obligations of the film producer business. In other words:
Patient: “Doctor, my headache when I do that”.
Doctor: “So? Don’t do it”.
Like it or not, film entertainment lawyers
- FACING USE: Let’s assume that film producers have decided, even without the guidance of entertainment lawyers, that production entities must sign a collective labor agreement such as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Directors Guild (DGA), and / or Writers Guild (WGA). This is a subject area that some film producers can handle themselves, especially producers with experience. But if the film producer can afford it, the producer must consult a film lawyer or entertainment lawyer before making even initial contact with the guild. Producers certainly need to consult an entertainment lawyer or film lawyer before issuing any writing to the guild, or signing their documents. Failure to plan this union problem with previous film or entertainment legal counsel, can cause problems and expenses that sometimes make expensive costs to then proceed with further production drawings.
- GENERAL CONTRACTION FIELDS: All film production agreements must be written, and not stored until the last minute, as any entertainment lawyer will observe. It would be more expensive to bring a film advisor, at the end of the day – a kind of flight flight booking a few days before the planned trip. A film producer must remember that the plaintiff who sued because of a careless contract violation may not only seek money for damage, but also be able to seek fair help from an order (translation: “Judge, stop this production … stop this film … stop this film … Cut! “).
A film producer does not want to suffer a back claim for talent compensation, or an unsatisfied location landlord, or state child labor authority – threatens to order or close down film production for reasons that can be easily avoided by careful planning, design, research, and communication with a film lawyer or someone’s entertainment lawyer. Film production agreements must be carefully arranged by entertainment lawyers, and must be adjusted to cover specific characteristics of production.
As an entertainment lawyer, I have seen non-lawyer film producers try to draft themselves for their own photos. As mentioned above, some people are lucky, and remain under the saying radar. But consider this: if a film producer sells or chooses a project, one of the first things film distributors or film buyers (or film lawyers and their own entertainment lawyers) will want to see, is the “title chain” and production and file development, complete with all agreements signed. Production insurance operators may also want to see this same document. So maybe the guild too. And their entertainment lawyer. The documents must be written in such a way as to be able to survive from the audience.
Therefore, for film producers to try to improvise the law, it is enough to put a lot of problems for one more day, and create an air of non-lawyer amateurism into the production file. It would be cheaper for film producers to attack all these problems earlier than later, through the use of film lawyers or entertainment lawyers. And the likelihood is that film lawyers and self-respecting entertainment lawyers will have to rearrange substantial parts (if not all) of the producers’ self-designed production files, once he sees what a non-lawyer film producer has done for himself – and that translated into unfortunate costs and wasted. I will not long want my chiropractor to arrange and negotiate his own film contract, than I will put myself on the table and try to overcome my own adjustments. Next, I will not make half my chiropractic adjustments myself, and then call the chiropractor to the examination room to complete what I have started. (I use chiropractic motives just to give you the cliche “do surgery on yourself”).