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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old January 24th, 2005, 11:38 PM   #31
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I was generalizing, of course, but my lawyer friend helped me through everything and that's what led me to the decision to become an S-Corp. I know very little of this stuff, and having a lawyer on my side really helped out a lot!

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Old January 25th, 2005, 09:01 AM   #32
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Free services are worth screen credit

Just a suggestion, but some new lawyers might work for cheap..maybe free, if you tell them it's about a film. I'm always running into people willing to help filmmakers. It's kind of like musicians - people dig music and film. There are a lot of frustrated people that live vicariously through artists.

The main thing to do (which is what I've done and gotten free legal services) is to give them SCREEN CREDIT. That goes a long way...it's been used since the early days of Hollywood. People really like seeing their names in the credits. Use it sparingly, but of course free legal services are worth it.

Remember, nowadays 90% of the top credits (Executive Producer, Co-Producer etc.) usually belong to investors only. Their involvement is cash (in our cases free services are like cash) and don't usually have creative involvement. The acting "Producer(s)", meaning the ones that actually are involved with the filmmaking aspect of the film are paid.

Just remember, if you take something...anything at all, free services or cash or food, free equipement rentals - get it ALL in writing. You must give something back if you can't (or won't) give money. So, if a lawyer will offer free services and someone in your family will cook for your crew....make sure EVERYONE gets a contract outlining everything. Make sure they sign it and it's completely understood what they get in return.

Otherwise, do you want to be sued by the lawyer who gave you "free" services later when your film outgrosses "Indiana Jones VI"?? Definately, get things in writing....dated and signed. That lawyer will do everything he can to get a piece....and so will that family member who cooked for your crew!

#1 legal advice rule that all lawyers will give you....keep a detailed paper trail of everything (*everything must have dates) and what others do in your name. Something interesting - almost always if you show up in court and you have a HUGE stack of papers backing you up.....it sometimes gets you off JUST for that fact alone. This is true! (has happened to me) If you show up mumbling about what you did and can't back anything up...you're screwed. But, if you are organized and have all the important documents they treat you differently. Case closed! :)

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Old January 25th, 2005, 10:51 AM   #33
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Thanks for the advice guys. I was hoping I could avoid the route of trying to find free legal councill, but I guess it's inevitable =P Hopefully somone will be interested in helping me out.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 03:53 PM   #34
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Some businesses are willing to help out in my area, but some aren't, even with screen credit and a passion for film and getting involved. There are a lot of indie/no-budget filmmakers doing that, and it's starting to where thin in my area...

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Old January 26th, 2005, 07:45 AM   #35
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<<<-- Originally posted by Heath McKnight : Some businesses are willing to help out in my area, but some aren't, even with screen credit and a passion for film and getting involved. There are a lot of indie/no-budget filmmakers doing that, and it's starting to where thin in my area...

heath -->>>

Exactly how do you approach a business and ask for free goods/services in return for a screen credit? That's something I've never done before. Any advice?
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Old January 26th, 2005, 08:16 AM   #36
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Rob,

I wish I could say there's one way, and like you, I was asking for just that kind of advice. You have to go in and be very nice. They would be doing YOU a favor. If you were paying for it, then I'd say you can negotiate, but play up the indie local filmmaker angle.

Where in Florida do you live?

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Old January 26th, 2005, 08:25 AM   #37
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<<<-- Originally posted by Heath McKnight : Where in Florida do you live? -->>>

St. Petersburg
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Old January 26th, 2005, 09:00 AM   #38
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Rob, it's a numbers game...open the phone book and call 25 lawyers. I'd be willing to bet that a small percentage are frustrated pencil pushers that always wanted to do something creative....pull that out of them. You may have to call pleading your "case" to them. (yes, pun intended) But, over the course of the conversation try and pull that "artist" out of them.

It works.......and has worked for me many times.
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Old January 26th, 2005, 05:44 PM   #39
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Murph is right.

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Old January 27th, 2005, 08:50 AM   #40
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Free legal services for artists

Thank Heath ;)

Also, I forgot...there are tons of online resources for finding "low cost" or "free" legal services. This should probably be it's own thread.

Here is what I have done before, and I've also just found a couple new things too.

*** #1 Use the internet...the greatest free resourse ever created!

So, check this out...a good place to start:

<url>http://www.starvingartistslaw.com/</url>

After that, use this link below to find lawyers in your area. Pull down the choices until you get to the "Entertainment, Sports and Leisure Law":

<url>http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/lawyer_dir/search/jsp/adv_search.jsp</url>

Ok, now check this out - here are two local (to me) service that provides "free" legal services. Seriously, consider bringing some "seniors" on-board as producers or "advisors" to your project. I've never done this, but maybe they'll be able to land some free services? Usually, most people help seniors out...heck, wouldn't you??? :)

So, here is my local "free" site...you'll have to find yours. But, take a look at this one so you know what you're looking for:
<url>http://www.nhla.org/</url>

This one is really awesome, so definately look for one in your area too. But, maybe one of these Boston lawyers will help you out? Send them a script via email and maybe they'll catch your excitement and commit to some free legal services? It's worth an email! New England people are unique...quite and almost mean, until you get to know them. After that..they'll do anything for you. Don't take it personally..we're all dealing with sub-zero temps, digging ourselves out of blizzards and being shut inside for 4 months a year. It makes you cranky.

FREE legal services for artists:
<url>http://www.bostonbar.org/vla/dl/legalservices.html</url>
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Old January 27th, 2005, 12:38 PM   #41
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Murph,

Use [ and ] not < and > for web links.

And thanks for the web links!

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