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
Whether you're controlling some valuable intellectual property, looking to secure IP, or simply have a valuable property in the form of a spec script, TV pilot, webseries, digital series, or other filmed material, you are likely going to be confronted with signing or distributing an option agreement. It is imperative that you understand the various types of option agreements and what information should be included to assure that you are not only protecting your material, but yourself legally as well. As the content gold rush grows, option agreements have become more and more commonplace. It is the vital piece of the paper trail that will ensure you are exercising and getting all your rights as your project gets made. These agreements are designed to protect both sides of a given deal, but can be complicated and sometimes include unnecessary language or clauses that could serve to hold up your content or payment. before you sign on the dotted line, you need to understand what exactly is an option agreement, who has creative control, how much money can be made and what you need to include to protect your rights up front. Lane Shefter Bishop is an Emmy award winning filmmaker and producer who has set up over two dozen book properties - many of them only on book proposals and early partials - with studios, networks and production companies throughout the entertainment industry. She is the CEO of Vast Entertainment, a book-to-screen company with numerous projects at both studios and networks, including feature films for Fox 2000, Silver Pictures, CBS Films & Lionsgate, and TV films for Lifetime, as well as TV series with Phoenix Pictures, Atlas Entertainment, The Donner Company, Storyline Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. She has been on both sides of option agreements and knows the ins and outs of what you need to take into account for your own option agreement. Lane will provide you essential practical knowledge on the ins and outs of option agreements and break them down step-by-step and section-by-section. You will know what is included in a typical option, what purchase price can be expected, what royalties can be expected, what reserved rights are and how to handle publishers releases, notarized addendums and author assignments. This is vital for authors and screenwriters who currently have or expect to have their own material optioned and want to know what monies they can expect to make, when, and how. But it is also highly beneficial for producers, directors, and talent looking to acquire their own underlying material for development- books, short stories, graphic novels, articles, etc. Lane will provide you with a comprehensive, but easy to understand deep dive on option agreements. She will remove the fear and anxiety which will allow you to clearly and decisively protect yourself and ask for the important items that need to be included in all your agreements. Praise for Lane's Stage 32 Webinar “Very impressed with Ms. Bishop, both her formal presentation and the Q & A that followed.” - Steve Weintz “The seminar was informative, insightful, well documented, entertaining, well thought out and delivered with a touch of humor. Wonderful!” - Katharine Carter
Stage 32 is committed to bringing you entertainment, education, and community from the comfort and safety of your own home. Our Script Services Coordinator, Nick Assunto, has procured an amazing slate of talented and funny actors and Stage 32 members to read his pilot The Conspiracists, a half-hour sci-fi comedy. During this exciting virtual event, you will get an exclusive look behind the scenes of a professional television table read. Watch as the actors make the script come alive for the very first time. This is a rare opportunity to peel back the curtain go behind the scenes to watch and see a script workshopped directly with professionals. Our fearless leader, Richard "RB" Botto kicked off a night of hanging out virtually. You'll get a chance to laugh along courtesy of some Stage 32 members who are incredible actors from your favorite tv shows and improv theaters including The Upright Citizens Brigade, Second City, and The Pack. Cindy Chu - playing Helena Francois (New Girl, Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver) Angela Cristantello - playing Beatrix Baker (Agent Carter, 9-1-1) Nican Robinson - playing Greg Shepherd (13 Reasons Why, Thunder Road) Carolyn Deskin - playing Mee Moo and Super Professional Sue (Water's Edge, Sorrow) Rama Vallury - playing Turkey Hemingway, Sweaty Phil, Nervous Intern, Boss Man and Bus Drive (Happy Ending, AOK) Ramona Apthorp - playing Pickle Frost PLUS! after the table read we did a Q&A with the actors, writer Nick Assunto, our fearless leader Richard Botto and our Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch moderated by our Managing Director Amanda Toney so you will get the perspective from everyone involved about the table read! What a great way to have fun and learn! Mark your Calendar! LIVE Online Table Read of the Comedy Pilot "The Conspiracists" Friday, March 27th at 7 pm PST Please help support your fellow Stage 32ers by sharing this on social. Check out the social media buttons at the top to share on Instagram @stage32online , Twitter @stage32 , Facebook @stage32 , and LinkedIn @stage-32 .
With all the recent success for true story dramas including Harriet, Bombshell, Judy, Ford v. Ferrari, The Irishman (among many others), it’s an exciting time in the marketplace for non-fiction. If you have found a story that truly inspires you and know it will make a great film, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start to make that happen. The easy part is finding the right story, the hard part is knowing what to do with it. Whether it’s a book, a newspaper or magazine article, a documentary subject, or even if it’s the story of someone you’ve met or are related to, understanding how to get the rights and put the project into motion is paramount. To cover all your bases from the legal aspects to development to filming to distribution, you need someone who has been in the trenches time and time again. And we've got just the person, one of the most experienced independent film producers working today, to help you make sense of it all. Jim Young of Animus Films has created a successful career working in the true story space with films such as The Catcher Was a Spy (Paul Rudd) based off of the life of Moe Berg, Life of a King (Cuba Gooding Jr.) based off of the life of Eugene Brown, The Man Who Knew Infinity (Dev Patel) based off of the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan, Lovelace (Amanda Siefried) based off of the life of Linda Lovelace and the upcoming The People vs. Vegas Dave based off of controversial gambler Vegas Dave. Jim is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. And now he's bringing his extensive knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Jim will take you through the steps of acquiring the rights to a particular article, book or other printed material about, or the life rights of, a given person (or persons). From there he will cover writing and developing the script, getting buttoned up legally to avoid pitfalls in the pre-production and production phases, and help you navigate the process of releasing and distributing the film. He will provide real life case studies using some of his own films as examples to help you gain real world experience and make the process painless. "Jim was an excellent educator. He really broke down the process of getting life rights in an easy to understand way and opened my eyes to some huge pitfalls I need to avoid along the way. Great examples from someone who's actually doing it right now, which is important. Thanks Jim!" -Jonathan R.
As an independent filmmaker or producer, you likely start working on a new endeavor for creative reasons—the chance to tell an amazing story, build worlds, create something of cultural value. Yet this is of course not the only element of filmmaking. Like it or not, your independent film is not just a creative endeavor; it’s also a business. You’re sourcing financing and bringing in investors, building a team, and creating a property that will (hopefully) ultimately make money. In this way you’re not just a making a piece of art; you’re also running a business. To operate successfully in the world of independent film and continue to make films that you’re proud of, you need to be able to think like an entrepreneur and understand the dynamics and the relation between financing, distribution and recoupment of film investments. The business side of films is often especially difficult for filmmakers and creative producers, but it's doable. In fact, there’s a bit of a sweet spot for independent films in the $1MM range and a viable path to profitability for films of this level. The key is to intimately understand how money—both hard money and soft money—flows in and out of the project. Getting a handle on this flow puts you in a powerful position, because not only can you make your current film profitable; but you will also create a business model that you can apply to your future projects, and eventually a portfolio of profitable assets (or films) that will serve as an effective and undeniable calling card as you continue to grow in the industry. This entrepreneurial approach might not be second nature to creatives, but it’s something you can learn and something that will aid you tremendously. David Zannoni is consultant for Fintage House, the world's most respected company for revenue and rights protection for industry professionals and companies. He serves as the company's representative for the Americas. David negotiates agreements for films and television series and is involved in business development and relationship management specifically in the US, Latin America and Europe. As an international film business specialist David is continuously present to make deals and speak at international film markets, festivals and conferences, including: the Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, the American Film Market (AFM), Ventana Sur, the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM), and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and travels regularly to the United States, the Netherlands, Europe, and all over Latin America. David is intimately familiar with how independent films are financed and made profitable all over the world and will share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. David will focus on the US market and walk you through what you need to know to finance your independent film, $1MM or less, and leave profitable. He will begin by explaining what a $1MM or under budget looks like, whether it’s considered a small film or microbudget, and how it compares in the larger worldwide film market. He’ll delve into how to see your film as an asset and how to use this viewpoint to work with investors and provide profit. David will give you the tools to think like an entrepreneur and explain the relationship between financing, distribution, and recoupment of investment. David will then teach you how to take a business approach to a $1MM and under film project. He will discuss debt and equity financing and compare it to soft money, demonstrating both of their impacts on your recoupment. He’ll then go over how to finance your film through bank loans, tax credits, private lenders, equity investors, and family and friends. In doing so, he’ll demonstrate the differences between lenders and investors and demonstrate how to make—and keep—all of your investors happy. He’ll also go over ways to mitigate risks for yourself and your investors. Plus, David will show a case study of a real $1MM US film to illustrate how a film of this level can be profitable and exactly how the money flows through from beginning to end. He’ll show financing documents and spreadsheets to illustrate the financing structure, the role of the sales agent, and how he navigated the film’s distribution agreement. Through this detailed and practical demonstration, you will leave with strategies and a deep understanding of how to approach your own $1MM film as an entrepreneur and build a finance structure that will leave you and your investors profitable. Praise for David's Previous Stage 32 Webinars "David is incredible and lovely and clearly knows his stuff." - Cynthia P. "Eye-opening information. A no-brainer approach that wouldn't be so obvious to the uninitiated." - Gary O. "By far, the best class I've seen on the subject." Kirk K. "David is a fantastic teacher. And what a voice! I could listen to him all day. More importantly, I learned so very much!" - Isabella T.
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.