What can your lawyer do for you?
As you assemble your representation team, you may overlook the importance of having a lawyer by your side. Entertainment lawyers take 5% of your income, but what can they do for you besides reading contracts?
Well the answer is more detailed, but in a word, tons!
Lawyers have your back and you don't switch them as often as you might switch agents or managers.
In a recent interview with attorney Mark Litwak, Backstage asked him all of his questions Areas of expertise. As an entertainment attorney and founder of the Mark Litwak and Associates law firms, he gave some incredible answers.
From article "Litwak works with filmmakers in roles ranging from producer rep to executive producer to production consultant. The author of 6 books, including" Dealmaking in the Film and Television Industry ", aimed at lawyers as well as filmmakers Litwak is an associate professor at USC Gould School of Law and has provided legal counsel to over 200 feature films. "
This guy knows his stuff, so lWe'll go over some of his answers together.
The video above was an interview with Litwak, and although it's old, it felt really relevant for today, so I wanted to record it for you. However, let's examine his current answers.
When asked who he works closely with every day, Litwak said: "We mainly work with producers and production companies, but some of our producers are also writers, directors and actors. This company is primarily a production consultancy company. Other entertainment lawyers represent only talent, meaning they represent writers, directors, and actors, and negotiate their deals with production companies, networks, etc.""
When it comes to choosing an attorney, ask them who they specialize in and why– –It can be important when it comes to your contracts.
But how do lawyers actually help in production? Litwak says "As production consultants, we are often asked to review the finished film and submit an opinion letter stating that we believe all necessary rights have been secured.""
These rights can be important– –You don't want to make a movie or web series that you can't publish. Or one who'll have you sued later.
One of the most interesting things to our readers will be how a lawyer thinks you should fund your film. See, there are a lot of options and you want to choose what is best but also what sounds most legal.
Here is Litwak's longer answer: "There are many different ways to fund films. For first-time filmmakers, it is often family members or friends who fund the project … In order to qualify for equity crowdfunding, certain requirements must be met, including the following: The amount raised cannot exceed within a 12 month period Investments in all crowdfunding issuers within a 12 month period are limited to more than $ 2,000 or 5% of annual income or net assets if the investor's annual income or net assets are less than $ 100,000 and 10% of the Annual income or net assets (not exceeding an amount sold of $ 100,000) if the investor's annual income or net worth is $ 100,000 or more and the funding portal must be registered and comply with applicable rules. And of course there are companies like Kickstarter that are looking for donations for film projects.""
These are things I never think of, but then again, I'm not a lawyer.
Finally, I wanted to show you what Litwak said when asked if he wanted to remove a lawyer from your film's budget, even an indie film. It could save you money upfront, but it could backfire significantly. He explained, "Many low-budget independent filmmakers try to save their money by not hiring a production attorney to handle their contracts and releases. They often rely on forms from previous productions and believe these agreements are sufficient to handle their contracts and releases. to secure all the rights they need. " Sometimes you are lucky and the forms are sufficient. Most of the time, however, the forms are unsuitable for the circumstances and inadequate. "
So there you have it, when it comes to entertainment lawyers, they can help you with a ton of things. That’s not to mention the most important things like negotiating contracts, bringing legal action against people who owe you money, and protecting the copyright of your scripts.
Do you have any questions about entertainment lawyers?
Let us know and we will try to include them in future posts.
Just put them in the comments!