Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over nine years of legal experience assisting clients with transactional and intellectual property matters. She regularly counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing. Ms. Thomas is an adjunct instructor at UCLA, where she teaches a course titled, “Copyright Law in the Entertainment Industries.” The course provides students with an overview of copyright protection and how it affects the television, film, fashion and new media industries. Prior to her appointment at UCLA, Ms. Thomas was an adjunct instructor at American University, where she taught graduate producing students about production company formation. She provided students with the tools necessary to launch and sustain their own television and film production companies. Ms. Thomas is a regular legal contributor for Entrepreneur Magazine, where she regularly writes about the intersection of entrepreneurship, entertainment and intellectual property law. Jaia Thomas is a graduate of Colgate University (BA) and The George Washington University Law School (JD). She also holds a Certificate in Television, Film and New Media Production from University of California, Los Angeles Full Bio »
Learn how to protect your content online directly from Jaia Thomas, an Entertainment Attorney who specializes in federal copyright registration and licensing as well as film financing, production and distribution!
Content creators are increasingly relying on digital and social media platforms to build their brand. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jaia Thomas will equip attendees with the tools necessary to protect their work in an increasingly online world. In the first part of this webinar, Jaia will outline the copyright registration process. Are YouTube videos protected under U.S. Copyright Act? Are Vimeo videos protected under the U.S. Copyright Act? Jaia will answer these questions and more. She will also provide attendees with a step-by-step guide for registering digital works with the U.S. Copyright Office.
In the second part of this webinar, Jaia will discuss best practices for sharing your ideas and videos on social media platforms. Who owns your tweet or snap? Jaia will discuss legal issues surrounding the ownership of social media posts. She will also highlight recent infringement lawsuits in the entertainment industry surrounding content being shared on social media platforms. Lastly, Jaia will discuss the requisite steps necessary to remove infringing material from the web.
Plus, get any burning questions answered in Jaia's Q&A session!
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars 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 webinar.
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 webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A in about 48 hours after the live session. Your purchases are located in your My Education folder on the left-hand panel.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
In an industry built on storytelling there’s nothing more valuable than ideas. A good idea or good story can take you far in Hollywood, but it also makes you vulnerable. From Avatar to Empire, hundreds of films and television shows have been faced with infringement and idea theft lawsuits over the years. While the film and television industry can be an exciting and supportive place, this is not always the case and it’s more common than it should be for writers’ ideas or stories to be stolen. Without the proper protection and forethought, this can leave creatives at risk. As the saying goes, it’s a jungle out there, and the risk of having your ideas stolen is unfortunately always a possibility, as is the possibility of being accused of doing this yourself. It’s important to always be vigilant and aware of these dangers. Yet this does not mean it’s open season on creators. Whether you’re concerned about having your idea stolen or facing lawsuits of your own, there are important steps you must take to ensure you and your intellectual property remain protected. There will always be a risk of being taken advantage of, but better understanding the dangers as well as how to protect and copyright your work will put you in a much safer and more secure position. Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their projects safe, and is ready to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Drawing from her many years of legal experience successfully assisting filmmakers with transactional and intellectual property matters Jaia will provide you with all the legal tools necessary to protect any and every type of script and screenplay. She will begin by discussing copyright registration. She’ll explain how to register a script with the US copyright office and explain the legal advantages of doing this. She’ll also debunk common misconceptions such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright”. Next she will explain what goes into Writers Guild registration. She’ll outline how to register a script, idea or outline with the Guild and explain the legal advantages and disadvantages of doing so. She’ll also delve into the key distinctions between registering with the US Copyright Office and Writers Guild. Jaia will then go over idea protection and theft. She’ll teach you how to protect a television show or reality show in its idea form and will outline the legal requirements for filing an idea theft claim in New York and California. She’ll even go through a case study of the seminal idea theft court case Desny V. Wilder from 1956. Finally Jaia will provide you with additional precautionary measures you can take in protecting yourself, including mobile apps, digital watermarks, confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements. Expect to leave knowing exactly how to protect your current and future ideas, scripts and projects. Praise for Jaia's Stage 32 Webinar "Highly informative. Thank you Jaia Thomas!" -Patrick D. "Great webinar with invaluable tips and advice. Great presentation and presenter. Very pleased and satisfied." -Robert F
With the gap between independent films and studio films constantly growing, it has become quite a challenge for independent producers to finance their films. As a result, more and more producers are looking outside of their home territories for additional sources of finance. Europe, in particular, is very attractive for international producers: not only does it have diverse landscapes and excellent crews, but the different European countries offer fantastic funding and tax incentive schemes that can be accessed by foreign producers to finance their films. More and more filmmakers, producers, and even screenwriters are expanding their worldview by tailoring their projects and stories to make them more attractive for a potential European production and co-production. The fact of the matter is there is gold to be mined in this approach. Over the last few years, co-productions with European countries have not only become more common and successful, but the financial incentives have grown tremendously. Finding the right partners and understanding the landscape is not as difficult as one might thing. In fact, the information is readily available for those willing to put in a little legwork. Anouk van Ghemen is a freelance financial consultant with an emphasis on film funding and tax incentive schemes in Germany and the rest of Europe. With her company ONE FOUR FILMS she works for both national as well as international clients, such as Sony Pictures Releasing, Radical Media and Wild Bunch Germany. Overall, Anouk has been involved in more than 40 film and media projects. Anouk holds a B.Sc. in International Economics and Management from Bocconi University in Milan. She began her career in the film industry working as Assistant to Producer in Berlin and Paris and later became responsible for the funding and financing of a Berlin-based company‘s international films. Notable projects include the Indian-German co-production Don 2, the French-Canadian TV series Transporter, and the Korean thriller The Berlin File. Anouk will take you into the world of European co-productions with great detail and flair. She will start by explaining European vs. international co-productions, bilateral vs. multilateral co-productions, co-production treaties and cultural tests. She will discuss the pros and cons of co-productions and how to identify whether your project fits with the upside potential for a European co-production. She will dive into the important aspects of your script and overall budgetary needs including story, locations, crew, overall costs and more. Then she will get into the most important questions: How do you get the money, how much money can you get, and what will make your application for funding and incentives get approved above all others. Anouk will also teach you how to find, approach and close the right partners to assure your European co-production is a winning one! "A complete eye opener. I had no idea these options were available to me. It's like moving from a room where the walls are closing in to an open field. The possibilities are endless." - Steven C. "Invaluable information." - Valerie L. "I have 3 projects in various stages of development that have all but stalled. All 3 could certainly be rewritten or tweaked to fit a European co-production model. We'll be starting on doing just that tomorrow." - Ricardo C. "My job as a producer just got easier." - Patricia M.
Throughout every phase of making a film or series, it’s vital to have a vision, but it’s paramount to make sure your books are in order make sure that you are running your project as a business and making money back for your investors. Losing either of these aspects will spell disaster for your project. Vision likely comes more easily to creatives—it’s why you set out on this venture in the first place—but if it’s not accompanied by strong financial records and a wherewithal of what to do, both to spend money and to earn it, you’re going to find yourself in a heap of trouble that no amount of vision can get you out of. In the previous webinar in this series, Introduction to Film & Television Accounting, we discussed the things you need to know in order to responsibly get your project off the ground, including navigating tax incentives, finding and approaching investors, and working with loan-out companies. However your dealings with accounting don’t end here; they continue well through production. You might have wrapped your film, but there are still some serious i’s to dot and t’s to cross. How do you report your earnings and your spending? How do you handle payroll in accordance with the different guilds and unions? How do you prepare your taxes and how do you make sure you actually get those credits and incentives you’re owed? There’s no time to sit on your laurels. It’s more vital now than ever to ensure that your accounting is, well, accounted for. John Thomas and Kristy Clabaugh are Atlanta-based CPAs that specialize in providing services to the film & entertainment industries both abroad and in the US. Kristy also serves on the executive board of directors as Treasurer for both the Georgia Production Partnership and Women in Film & Television Atlanta. Together they have worked on hundreds of film and television projects assisting clients in all stages of project implementation from investor relations, entity structuring, waterfall projections, budgeting, pre-production and development, production accounting to post-production. John and Kristy will continue on from their first accounting webinar to share with you more advanced but equally vital aspects of handling the accounting on your film project. They’ll go over financial reporting requirements for any project, specifically your balance sheet and your income statement and teach you how to reflect your project as an asset, how to report investor obligations, both as loan payable and equity interest, and when and where the revenue hits. Next they’ll delve into the importance of quality production accounting and go over the guild and union rules you need to know while doing payroll. John and Kristy will walk you through cost reports and how they compare with the budget. Then they’ll teach you the nuts and bolts of tax preparation, which includes both federal filings like elections and K1s, and state filings, like resident/non-resident filings tax incentive and credit declarations. Praise for John and Kristy’s Webinar Both presenters really knew their stuff and presented it with clarity. -Clint A. This advanced class was so helpful. John and Kristy got into the nuts and bolts of accounting in a serious way and gave me a lot more confidence in being able to handle accounting on my own project” -Cassie G. Really thorough but also easy to understand -Gerry T. John and Kristy are the best! -Rodolfo B.
When the entertainment industry shut down as a result of the global pandemic, insurers were left with hundreds of millions of dollars in claims. As a result, traditional production insurance is no longer available. Carriers have modified their coverages, added exclusions and changed coverages they are offering altogether. Additionally, they now require more information in order to underwrite and provide a quote for the film. Production insurance has always been difficult to navigate, but now more than ever it’s crucial to understand how it works and how it’s changed. Filmmakers and creators, both independent and as a part of studios and networks, are itching to get back to work and start creating again. However it’s important to be careful before plunging in, and not just for health reasons. The truth is updates to production insurance is going to change things for everyone, and you need to understand how exactly things will change before you get started on your next project. Filmmakers need to learn what the new underwriting guidelines are and what information is now needed in order to obtain production insurance. You also need to know how to better budget the increased cost for insurance and so that there are no surprises when the quotes come. By knowing what terms and insurances are available for your specific project, you will be able to discuss these options with lenders, distributors and bond companies. It’s more important than ever to be informed and to be prepared when gearing up for your next production. Daniel R’bibo is a Senior Vice President at Gallagher and has worked on over 100 feature films including Oscar winners such as FOXCATCHER and HER, as well as A24's MID-90's, SEARCHING, HAPPY DEATH DAY and a dozen television shows. For nearly two decades, Daniel has provided insurance services for independent and studio projects which have premiered at Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca, TIFF and more. He has worked on all lines of insurance ranging from Production Insurance policies to Financial and Cybertechnology policies such as E&O, D&O and Network/ Security & Privacy coverages. Daniel was featured in Risk and Insurance Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 List and has been awarded their Power Broker Award in the Media & Entertainment Category four separate times. Few people in the world know entertainment insurance better than Daniel, and he’s prepared to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Daniel will dive deep into how production insurance works and how it has changed with COVID-19 pandemic. He will begin with a general overview of production insurance. He’ll explain the various insurances relating to production including production package, general and auto liability, workers compensation, errors and omissions (E&O), and COVID specific insurances. Next Daniel will delve into the changes in insurance underwriting and carrier appetite due to the pandemic. He’ll walk you through what you need to know before you get a quote, including COVID related exclusion and new terms and conditions, required safety procedures, and how may quotes you can expect for your project. He will also show you how much to budget for your own production insurance. Finally, Daniel will provide case studies of real films’ insurance breakdowns, both before COVID and after. He will spend time discussing both films made for under and over $5 million. It can feel like the Wild West now in venturing back into production, but Daniel will give you a clear picture of how insurance is going to work moving forward. PLUS! You will receive a production insurance quote checklist to make sure you have everything in order to ensure you get the best quote possible from an Insurance Agent.
Aerial images go back to when hot air balloons first went up in the 1700s, but the use of aerial images has exploded in the 21st century with the now ubiquitous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, better known as drones. In very little time, drone photography has become widely—perhaps too widely—used in countless films, television shows, commercials, and other media projects. And along with this wide adoption of drones has come a demand for those who can successfully and artfully operate them. This presents a potentially lucrative and rewarding opportunity for cinematographers looking to expand their reach and build their skill set. Yet with the clear overuse of drone photography in media today, each to varying effects, it’s evident that not all drone shots are created equal, and standing out requires a deeper level of skills. Adding drone cinematography to your film, tv or new media project can breathe new life into shots that may, in the past, have cost your budget heavily to rent the necessary equipment to get. In the same way, finding success with drones requires more than knowing simply how to pilot one; a cinematographer needs to have the eye and well-developed instincts and they need to understand how to work with clients and artists to get those perfect shots. It's important to know that the term ‘drone operator’ is often used for those that use these vehicles to capture video or images, but just as cinematographers are never simply referred to as ‘tripod operators’, neither should anyone simply be seen as a ‘drone operator’. A drone is just a new way to place the camera in incredibly exciting places, a tool in a tool belt. Better understanding the steps that can take you to this point can prove exciting and promising for a cinematographer’s career. Chris Tangey is one of the most sought after drone cinematographers in the world. His impressive career as a cinematographer has him working for Netflix, Warner Bros. Columbia Tristar, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Lonely Plant and more. He recently won "Best Aerial Cinematography" in the European Cinematography Awards, and both "Best Drone" and "Best Scenography" In the New York International Film Awards. He was also awarded a Jury Commendation in the World Drone Awards in Siena Italy. He has 2 Gold and 4 silver awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society. Chris has quickly become a leader in the field of aerial imagery and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Chris will give you the knowledge and tools to get you started to becoming a successful aerial cinematographer. He’ll begin by giving a brief introduction on drone photography, offering a history and understanding of what exactly drones, as well as how they have affected the current state of helicopter-based cinematography. He’ll explain the benefits and exciting potential of drone cinematography and how that has come into play in media today. He’ll lay out how drones and drone photographers work within small and large productions and their crews. Next Chris will give a rundown of how drones work, what the main types of drones are, what the main drone manufacturers are, and what the notable parts of a drone are. He’ll explain what features are offered for different drones and what features are needed for different types of projects. He’ll also give tips on where to buy your own drone as well as how to obtain a licence to legally operate them. Chris will then outline the safety and legal aspects of operating drones. He will teach you the governmental rules and regulations in most countries, including vertical separation rules and how both controlled and uncontrolled aerodromes are treated. He’ll give you tips on how to navigate these rules while still working with your clients and how to understand what your licence gives you the right to do. He’ll also provide strategies to work within the confines and limits to still get the shots you need as well as strategies to keep yourself and your crew safe. Chris will go over how to break into the industry as an aerial cinematographer. He’ll explain the current marketplace and help outline what level of the marketplace you should be targeting. He’ll give you tips on how to build a reel and display your ability to find opportunities and will teach you how to find and stick to your rate, including ways to not undercut the market, manage value-added rates, and offset licence rights against day rates. Chris will even offer case studies from his own career to demonstrate how best to work with clients and get the shots you’re after. Expect to leave with the knowledge and confidence you need to kick start your own aerial cinematography career. "My career as a cinematographer has been “elevated" greatly by incorporating drones and knowing how to use them properly to get the best possible shot. I'm so excited to share my experiences with the Stage 32 community and give everyone the knowledge to use this powerful tool to their creative and financial advantage" -Chris Tangey
The landscape of distribution has shifted dramatically, forcing filmmakers, producers and foreign sales agents to adapt to those changes. With the rise of streaming, there are more ways than ever to get your project out to the viewing public, whether in theaters or right in their home. In the time of quarantine, more distributors are looking to acquire films to put in the marketplace, but how does the pricing look and how will that shift over time? We will examine the current distribution marketplace and how to best take advantage of the multiple avenues of distribution both domestically and internationally. While there are more places than ever to go to for distribution, there’s also more competition for your project to be noticed by distributors and, once distributed, for viewers to decide to watch your film over the other thousands at their fingertips. It can be difficult for filmmakers and producers to know what different distributors and paths of distribution are best for each project, and which deals are more likely to garner a profit. But with a working knowledge of both the domestic and the foreign distribution market, you can find the best home for your feature. Tiffany Boyle is the President of Packaging and Sales for Ramo Law. Tiffany has helped hundreds of films, TV shows and documentaries come to fruition. Tiffany served as a Co-Executive Producer and brought in financing for films SOMETHING ELSE (Tribeca 2019) and ARKANSAS starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn. She led the sales and packaging for TRAGEDY GIRLS (SXSW 2017) and FREAKS (Toronto IFF 2018), she brought foreign financing to ASHES IN THE SNOW (Los Angeles FF 2018) starring Bel Powley, and she sold an autobiography to Hulu for development into a limited television series. Tiffany will go over different distribution avenues - theatrical, VOD, DVD, etc. and what distributors are looking for in general. She'll break down the difference between distributors and sales agents and what types of projects will fit their slate. You'll get a complete overview of the marketplace - both domestic and foreign and understand what it will take to get your film to the right distributor. You'll learn to harness the power of festival screenings, social media and other campaigns to put your film in the best position. You'll also learn how to make the deal in terms of territory, term, delivery, fees, rights, licensing vs. reserved and more. You'll also get insight into recoupment and profit. This is the most up-to-date guide on today's film and TV domestic and foreign distribution marketplace jammed packed with actionable information you can utilize right now. Praise for Tiffany's previous Stage 32 webinars: "Excellent discussion by Tiffany! It shows that she's right in the middle of the film business and understands what's happening now. Refreshing not to hear the same old basic information you hear everywhere. This was detailed and very much of the now." - Michael H. "Excellent presentation by a clearly passionate expert. More, more, more." - Alexis D. "Very clear and helpful - so much detail!" - Sil V. "Tiffany was gracious and helpful with good energy. Plus she offered so much encouragement, practical advice and incredible energy." - Cynthia D.