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Taking Care of Business
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Old July 21st, 2004, 07:13 AM   #1
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Name Game - what are the rules?

I am working on a film. The working title is absolutely appropriate. Only one problem, Martin Scorsese. Id like my movie to be called "Afterhours" as one word. His 85 film was called "After Hours." Is there hope?

A second question...

After aligning investors for this film, im suddenly stuck with the task of working out contracts. While i AM seeking professional help with these things, i've got no idea on protocal return percentages, if there is such a concept. To scale things a bit lets say that between my own personal time and capital investments, all expenses realized and cast and crew monies; the film is gonna cost me 100 dollars. now seeing as i have come up with about 50 dollars, or half of the total cost on my own, received about 29 dollars or 30% from an investor, and account the remaining expense as time invested by me. Where does this leave the return percentage for my investor? Do entertainment attorneys have access to resources to help figure out the numbers for these things? Perhaps i sound like a complete fool, but ive got no idea what im to do at this juncture. help!
Heath Hays
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Old July 21st, 2004, 11:52 AM   #2
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Don't know anything about your second question, but as to your first one, while I'm not a lawyer, I have always heard that titles are not something you can copyright, even if you're Martin Scorsese. You should be able to find out, one way or another, pretty easily on the net, though. But that said, whether or not you would be violating anyone's legal rights by using a title that matched another work, in terms of marketing, insurance matters, studio interest down the line, etc. title issues can get sticky. I know when I looked into an E and O policy ("Errors and Omissions") a few months back, it required a title search within "X" number of months of them issuing the policy. It probably comes down to the fact that they want to reduce the risk/odds of a law suit, being that anybody can sue for just about anything these days, whether or not the law appears to be on their side. To be safe I'd contact an attorney, though even that provides no guarrantee.

Sorry I can't be of more help. Post what you find out.
Best of luck,

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Old July 21st, 2004, 12:23 PM   #3
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True, you can not copyright a title. There are several examples of different movies that have the same title. Same with books.

There was a book written a few years ago, "Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices," I think, is the title. It would be dated today because it was written in the early days of shooting video instead of film, but as I recall it had a chapter on points and things like that. You might see if you can find a copy.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 01:29 PM   #4
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All of my books are on a moving van, headed for California right now. But I seem to recall John Russo had a good one on indy film making that had sample deals included. Also look up "Contracts for Motion Picture Industry" as a search, and see what books turn up. These books will have sample boiler plate contracts, that you can use as a starting point. They outline investment structures, payoff points, distribution deals...etc.

Bottom line, get an attorney to draft your LLC of LtdPartnership for you. It's worth it.
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