Producing : Legal Counsel by Dave McGuire

Dave McGuire

Legal Counsel

I'm looking to get some information. I'm very much looking at starting my own film company (I know, a dime a dozen). I'm still researching and figuring out how to get my start, but I'm also very curious about obtain legal counsel. Any advice out there for someone in my position. Thanks in advance.

Regina Lee

Hi Dave, when you're ready to hire an attorney, I really believe that you'll have no trouble retaining a qualified attorney. In LA, the lower end of rates are around a couple hundred dollars per hour. Obviously, your options and your choices will be dependent upon your overhead and what areas of expertise you're in need of. The attorney's expectations will also depend on the nature of your production company and the revenue you're bringing in. "Production company" is a term with several definitions. If you're hiring an attorney for your production company (e.g. production services, commercial production, etc.), you'll almost certainly have to pay a retainer. If you're an individual piece of talent, e.g. an actor or an individual producer, you may or may not find an attorney to represent you commission-only.

Royce Allen Dudley

I am not a lawyer, for sure... but AS Regina alluded, there are many types of companies or entitites you may likely be setting up depending on what your actual game plan is... its important to know which is which and fits each need. Among these are: A production company may be an ongoing sole proprietorship, partnership, or incorporated in some manner ( depends on the state you are in or do business in ). This ProdCo is likely there to do ongoing work, ( creative and or production/ post production technical services) for- hire for an evolving roster of outside clients. If you are an individual who merely wants to work freelance for others and pull more than $80-100K annually, regularly, you may benefit from forming a Loan Out Company ... in this way, the company is hired and paid, not you. You may,or may not take a salary. Loan Outs have advantages in tax and civil liability limits. Many cameramen, jib owner operators, sound mixers, and working actors have loan outs. It may be mostly a California/Hollywood thing, but the first question you'll be asked when hired as key crew on most professional shows is "employee or loan out?" But be clear, you will have a clear employee relationship with "client", as you are " on loan out" to them by your company for the duration of their contract with you, often exclusive of other work. But if you and your TechnoCrane are on loan out to a top dance competition series, you may have seasons of work, 2 days a week, and room to book other work too. Then there is the production itself... a production company can be and often is created solely to make one specific show, so that the film or series itself is a contained entity that gets funded, shot, cut, and sold.... and after deals are made its merely there for income and tax purposes for years in perpetuity as the film makes money. It also takes the sole brunt of legal claims and lawsuits agsinst it. It is easy to see a scenario where only one type of company fits you, then a year from now your McQuire Films LLC doing mostly web commercials and some music videos is contracted (by you, now that you found investors) to produce the McQuire 2017 Movie LLC , and somewhwere in there Dave McGuire loan out company gets paid for your personal work as an (pick favorite film craft) on loanout to McGuire 2017 Movie LLC in addition to your work as producer for McGuire Films LLC. This is all why $100K development money is gone in months.. attorneys. Without them, you are naked to the wolves. Better to be Naked To The Wolves LLC

Jason Kanjiro Howard

YOU MUST GET A LEGAL SHIELD SUBSCRIPTION......For 30 bucks month you can have access to a number of attorneys to review contracts up to 15 pages in length but unlimited. You can also talk to a lawyer about any legal issue at no extra charge. Get this ASAP, it's a no brainer. If you would like to talk to me about it, Id be happy to. 310 922 4029 Jason

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