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Taking Care of Business
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 10:48 PM   #16
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John J,

I have an S-Corp, MPS Digital Entertainment, Inc., can I use this to produce my film, or should I form an LLC to produce it seperate from MPS Digital? I would want MPS Digital to hold the copyright.

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heath
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Old September 6th, 2004, 02:20 AM   #17
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Check out "The Producers Business Handbook" by John J. Lee.
It's about big time filmmaking in LA, but he operates on the basis of some very interesting principles, that apply to the entire business, big or small.
Well written too.
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Old September 7th, 2004, 10:41 PM   #18
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Heath,

Think through how you would sell off chunks of ownership in the movie. If you sell off chunks of your s-corp, it's forever and generally constitutes participation (without additional investment) in any future projects' profit.

This is why in most cases, projects are kept discrete (an LLC for each project) unless your biz plan and funding is for a multiple-picture company. That's also a feasible concept, but usually raises much more cash (2-3 films worth) with the design that the company will become self-perpetuating and investors will take ongoing profits from all subsequent projects.

In most states, you can set up a manager-managed LLC where you are the manager and your S-corp owns the majority of the stock. You then sell off pieces of the single-project LLC but you retain full ownership of the S-corp.

Lotsa paperwork, have cash on hand for the lawyer! But this is the approach that is being used most commonly now. The names for the LLCs get pretty amusing. David Gordon Green ("George Washington") named his company "You and What Army, LLC"
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Old September 8th, 2004, 08:11 AM   #19
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I really DON'T want investors in my company. Guess I'll start an LLC for my next film.

Thanks for the tip!

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Old January 1st, 2005, 12:43 PM   #20
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Did the Coen brothers set up any sort of business entity to raise funds from private investors for their first film "Blood Simple"? From the "shoot from the hip" way they got into the filmmaking business, I'm guessing they didn't.
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Old January 1st, 2005, 06:34 PM   #21
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According to Barry Sonnenfeld, they shot a trailer and raised the funds that way. I don't think I'd do that (maybe a short film with the characters), but hey, if it works, it works.

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Old January 20th, 2005, 04:24 PM   #22
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Re: Unsolicited advice for filmmakers looking for financing

<<<-- Originally posted by Heath McKnight : DON'T ask for donations, don't even ask for "gifts," because I'm almost 100% positive none of you are making your movies as a "non-profit" ventures. -->>>

Actually, I am. I'm releasing my productions under a Creative Commons licence. How does this affect my begging?
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Old January 20th, 2005, 05:55 PM   #23
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I'm not clear on what that is, but if you have to ask, direct it to a business lawyer.

heath
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Old January 20th, 2005, 06:10 PM   #24
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<<<-- Originally posted by Heath McKnight : I'm not clear on what that is, but if you have to ask, direct it to a business lawyer.

heath -->>>

http://www.creativecommons.org
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Old January 20th, 2005, 07:13 PM   #25
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Probably don't need to worry, since it's non-profit. Ask a lawyer for advice, regardless.

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Old January 23rd, 2005, 10:40 PM   #26
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How much of this thread applies to a Canadian film maker?

I have a single investor, willing to invest $40,000.00 CDN for my first project.

All the books and articles I've read so far pertained to US film makers...not much info for the canadian first time producer.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 07:51 AM   #27
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As I've advised to American filmmakers, I will say the same to Canadian, of which I'm unfamiliar with business, investment and tax laws: talk to a Canadian lawyer who knows this stuff.

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Old January 24th, 2005, 09:53 PM   #28
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So just to clarify...I might sound like an idiot here, but what's the difference between a sole propietorship, a corporation, or an LLC? I know I have the info in one of my books, I just can't remember which one.

I mean what's the difference in terms of registering a project specific LLC for a film.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 10:12 PM   #29
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In America, it's more expensive, so I went with an S Corporation vs. LLC.

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Old January 24th, 2005, 10:54 PM   #30
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Brad,
I strongly advise you to consult a Canadian attorney before establishing a business entity. Don't take legal advice from strangers on some darn Internet chat board (even this one). Most of us are as dumb as you about this subject. This is a decision that's larger than your small film project and can have significant implications on your legal liabilities as well as your prospective tax liabilities. Many young people just register LLC businesses because it's cheap and easy to do on the Web...this is a huge mistake.

Professional advice: Just get it.
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