Production Legal Services

The following is an outline of the types of services the firm provides in connection with the production of an independent motion picture, television show, podcast, or new media production. This should not be considered an exhaustive list of services. 

If you have not already secured financing for your project and are in the development phase, you may wish to review Amy’s film and television development services.

Making sure the production entity has the rights to produce a movie based on the screenplay is a key part of chain-of-title. Writer agreements and underlying rights agreements (e.g., option/purchase of life rights or book adaptation rights) will also need to be reviewed/finalized.

See Media Services' interactive map with information on production incentives for film and television in the United States.

If you are working with guild members, production will need to become a signatory to the relevant guild(s) and comply with their various rules and regulations.

The use of real names, locations, logos, phone numbers, products, etc. in your production can raise a number of potential legal issues. As a starting point, the firm recommends obtaining a script clearance report for this purpose, which Amy will review with client. For clarity, formal opinion letters are not included unless expressly agreed in writing.

  •  Director Agreement
  •  Casting Director Agreement
  •  Performer Agreements
  •  Director of Photography Agreement
  •  Line Producer Agreement
  •  Editor Agreement
  •  Production Manager Agreement
  •  Composer Agreement
  •  Music Supervisor Agreement
  •  Master Use License (template)
  •  Publishing/Synch License (template)
  •  Crew Deal Memos
  •  Location Agreements
  •  Releases-Extras, Vehicles, etc.
  •  Vendor Agreements

For efficiency, the firm requires a single designated production representative to discuss with/make decisions about final production contracts. We strongly recommend having a production representative on-set in charge of obtaining signatures/maintaining the production binder and highly recommend digital redundancies! The firm can assist with digital redundancy if you wish to email copies of signed contracts to the firm.

Let's face it. Production doesn't always go as planned. Amy will work with producers to try to resolve unexpected issues that arise so that production can move forward.

Above-the-line talent may negotiate additional forms of credit and/or restrict the use of their name, likeness, etc. in the marketing for the picture or in connection with certain ancillary rights. These memos are prepared and delivered to distributors to ensure that the talent's contractual rights are being met.

Onscreen credit is often very important to the people who work on your project. In addition to contractual credit provisions, the guilds may also require a particular form and placement of credit. The firm can review your proposed credit sequence to highlight potential legal issues. Click here for an overview of a typical film credits hierarchy

The firm does not handle film financing/securities work, entity formation, tax matters, immigration matters (e.g., foreign actor/director), court approval of minor performer agreements, or litigation/dispute resolution of any kind. We can provide referrals upon request.

Legal Fee Structures for Production Legal

Many indie producers assume that they cannot afford a production lawyer and find themselves unable to sell their completed film due to lack of proper written agreements and/or clearance issues. To give producers some budgetary certainty, the firm offers monthly retainers during the production period, which are determined by project parameters such as the length of shoot, size of the principal cast, number of unions, filming location(s), movie genre, and budget. 

On average, the following fees apply for production legal if you hire the firm to provide production legal services for a scripted production or a feature-length narrative project.

Because production work is time-consuming, our policy is to only work on two projects shooting at the same time. To “lock in” your dates for production legal services, a retainer of $2500 is required, which may be used for pre-production services. Any remaining monies at the beginning of the production period can be applied to the initial Monthly Production Retainer described below.

For ultra low budget projects (i.e., less than $250,000), the firm offers a "low frills" production counsel package for $5,000. This option places more responsibility on the producer (with Amy's guidance) to handle common situations that arise during production, with Amy stepping in primarily to handle the major agreements and atypical issues that arise such as clearance issues.

Short projects and student films are typically billed hourly, with discounted rates via bundled services and/or prepaid hours available in some circumstances.

The firm's typical production retainer at this budget level is $4,000 per month*, which includes up to 15 hours of defined legal services per month provided on a priority basis. 

Valued at up to $6,000 per month.

*Two month minimum applies. If your project requires more than the included hours in any given month, additional hours may be billed at the "expedited rate" (currently $400 per hour) unless otherwise agreed. The firm can provide weekly updates on time spent during the production period to minimize surprises.

The firm's typical production retainer at this budget level is $5,000 to $6,500 per month*, which includes up to 20-25 hours of defined legal services per month provided on a priority basis. 

Valued at up to $10,000 per month.

*Two month minimum applies. If your project requires more than the included hours in any given month, additional hours may be billed at the "expedited rate" (currently $400 per hour) unless otherwise agreed. The firm can provide weekly updates on time spent during the production period to minimize surprises.

The firm's typical production retainer at this budget level is $7,500 per month*, which includes up to 30 hours of defined legal services per month provided on a priority basis. 

Valued at up to $12,000 per month.

*Three month minimum applies. If your project requires more than the included hours in any given month, additional hours may be billed at the "expedited rate" (currently $400 per hour) unless otherwise agreed. The firm can provide weekly updates on time spent during the production period to minimize surprises.

The firm's typical production retainer at this budget level is a minimum $10,000 per month*, which includes up to 40+ hours of defined legal services per month provided on a priority basis.

Valued at up to $16,000+ per month.

*Three month minimum applies. If your project requires more than the included hours in any given month, additional hours may be billed at the "expedited rate" (currently $400 per hour) unless otherwise agreed. The firm can provide weekly updates on time spent during the production period to minimize surprises.

SECURITIES/TAX DISCLAIMER

The firm does not prepare financing or investor documentation such as a private placement memorandum because such documents involve securities and tax related issues better suited to corporate lawyers. You are strongly encouraged to consult corporate and/or tax counsel prior to beginning development and production.

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