Your Definitive Legal Guide to Distribution Deals: 2-Part Intensive Class

Taught by Sean Pope

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Class hosted by: Sean Pope

Senior Associate, Ramo Law PC

Sean Pope is a Senior Associate at Ramo Law PC, one of the largest and most respected entertainment law firms in Hollywood, where he works with producers and production companies focusing on all aspects of production legal services from development to distribution. Prior to joining Ramo Law, Sean worked at a boutique entertainment transactional and litigation firm providing legal services for producers, writers, actors and musicians. His past projects include the upcoming Liam Neeson thriller HONEST THIEF, Netflix documentary THE BLACK GODFATHER, and hit Netflix docu-series CHEER. Sean has helped countless filmmakers negotiate fair distribution deals and make the most out of their film, and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »

Summary

Learn from one of the top entertainment attorneys in Hollywood who has worked on hundreds of film & TV projects!

After pouring so much time, money, and passion into your feature film and putting together a finished product that you’re truly proud of, it’s an amazing feeling when a distributor wants to buy your film. What can be more vindicating? Not so fast, though. This is your film, and it’s absolutely critical you walk into any distribution agreement with both eyes open, an understanding of what you want, what you deserve, and how to make sure you’re protected and not being taken advantage of.

Distribution can often be confusing, complicated, and murky territory, and there are many common pitfalls filmmakers of all levels fall into when navigating. It can feel like you need a law degree and a special glossary just to understand the rights you’re giving away, along with the territories, fees, expenses, residuals, and everything else that comes along with a distribution deal. But you don’t need to pass the Bar to find success in seeking distribution. Gaining a keener understanding of the process and how agreements work can empower you as a filmmaker to negotiate a distribution deal that’s right for you and your film.

Sean Pope is a Senior Associate at Ramo Law PC, one of the largest and most respected entertainment law firms in Hollywood, where he works with producers and production companies focusing on all aspects of production legal services from development to distribution. Prior to joining Ramo Law, Sean worked at a boutique entertainment transactional and litigation firm providing legal services for producers, writers, actors and musicians. His past projects include the upcoming Liam Neeson thriller HONEST THIEF, Netflix documentary THE BLACK GODFATHER, and hit Netflix docu-series CHEER. Sean has helped countless filmmakers negotiate fair distribution deals and make the most out of their film, and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.

In this advanced level and intensive two-part class, Sean will walk you through the nuts and bolts of distribution deals and zero in on the provisions and clauses you need to understand when negotiating your own distribution and sales agreements. Sean’s exhaustive rundown will leave you with a much deeper understanding of what agreements look like, what you should be looking for, and how to avoid pitfalls along the way.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed class with significantly more than a standard 90-minute webinar.
  • This class will consist of two sessions, both roughly 90 minutes in duration and spaced one day apart from one another. In addition to the Sean's presentations, you will have the opportunity to ask Sean questions during each session.
  • To see the full distribution class schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".

What You'll Learn

SESSION 1: Introduction and Principal Distribution Contract Provisions to Understand

  • Distribution and Sales Agents: A Bird’s Eye View
    • What is the difference between a sales agent and distributor?
    • When should I be thinking of sales agents/distributors?
    • What information will I need on hand during my initial conversations with sales agents/distributors?
  • The Material Terms and Provisions You Must Discuss Before Entering Into an Agreement With a Distributor
    • Rights
    • How can you make sure you’re not giving away too much
    • A discussion of the typical rights including:
      • Theatrical
      • Non Theatrical
      • Home Video
      • Television
      • On Demand
    • Territories
      • Distributor (North America) vs. Sales Agent (World)
      • Caribbean Basin
    • Term
      • How long is the term of the Agreement?
      • Can distributors enter into deals with subscription platforms that are longer than the term?
    • Minimum Guarantees
    • Gross Corridor
    • Bonuses
    • Distribution Fee
      • What is the typical range of a distribution fee and how can you be sure what they are offering is fair?
      • Incorporating back-end splits
    • Distribution/Marketing Expenses
  • Q&A with Sean

 

SESSION 2: Other Aspects to Consider Before Entering Into a Deal

  • Assumption of Bonuses/Residuals
  • Audit and Accounting Rights
  • Termination Provisions
    • Failure to pay/account
    • Bankruptcy/acquisition
    • Uncured breach
    • Outside Release Date
  • Talent Contractual Obligations
    • Credit obligations
    • Likeness approvals
    • Music rights (in-context vs. out-of-context rights)
  • First Opportunity Right to Any Subsequent/Derivative Productions
  • Free Access To Distributor/Sales Agent Created Marketing Materials
  • Insurance
  • Indemnity
  • Editing Rights/Right to Change the Title
  • Consultation/Approval Rights
    • Marketing plan
    • Marketing and advertising materials
    • Theatrical release plan
    • Festival submissions plan
  • Security Interests and Liens
  • Delivery Schedule
    • Name/Likeness Requirement Chart / Paid Ads Statement
    • Copyright Registrations
    • UCC Search
    • Title Report
    • Copyright Report
    • P.A. Rating Certificate
    • E&O Insurance
  • Q&A with Sean

 

THIS PRESENTATION HAS BEEN PREPARED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE OR A LEGAL OPINION. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT QUESTIONS YOU RAISE DURING THE WORKSHOP ARE NOT CONFIDENTIAL. ONLY YOUR ATTORNEY CAN ADVISE YOU WHICH LAWS ARE APPLICABLE TO YOUR SPECIFIC CASE AND SITUATION.

About Your Instructor

Sean Pope is a Senior Associate at Ramo Law PC, one of the largest and most respected entertainment law firms in Hollywood, where he works with producers and production companies focusing on all aspects of production legal services from development to distribution. Prior to joining Ramo Law, Sean worked at a boutique entertainment transactional and litigation firm providing legal services for producers, writers, actors and musicians. His past projects include the upcoming Liam Neeson thriller HONEST THIEF, Netflix documentary THE BLACK GODFATHER, and hit Netflix docu-series CHEER. Sean has helped countless filmmakers negotiate fair distribution deals and make the most out of their film, and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.

Schedule

SESSION 1 - Introduction and Principal Distribution Contract Provisions to Understand- 12/10/20

SESSION 2 - Other Aspects to Consider Before Entering Into a Deal - 12/11/20

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a class?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live class?
A: If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand class, you will have on-demand access to the recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

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