Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner with the New York law firm of LaneCrowell, LLP. Mr. Crowell counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. A frequent columnist for film industry publications, Mr. Crowell is also the author of a best-selling legal guide for independent producers, The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers (Focal Press), which has been adopted as a core textbook in many film and law schools across the United States. His latest book is “The Pocket Lawyer for Comic Book Creators” (Focal Press) — is the very first dedicated legal guide for the comic book industry. He currently serves as a series editor for Focal Press and its new line of legal guides for artists. Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Crowell was a television producer and the head of business development for one of Japan's premier satellite television news companies, the Science Technology Network. Mr. Crowell began his legal career at KMZ Rosenman, where he established his expertise in entertainment, media, intellectual property protection, and general corporate and commercial matters. In addition to his private practice, as a teacher, Thomas is the co-creator and Director from Practice, emeritus, of the “Indie Film Clinic” at Cardozo Law School, where he has taught courses in film and media law. 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. Full Bio »
What is the most important element toward your film to landing a distributor? The script? The director? You may be surprised. For many distributors, the choice of one film over another often comes down to whether your film features an actor that audiences recognize. Actors’ performances breathe life into a film, and their fame gives a film its marketing power. Whether you're shooting a student or short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media, it's important to sign talent that will help move the needle on your project. As important, you must know how to navigate the wide, varied landscape of actor agreements to assure that you are buttoned up legally so that distributors and sales agents are attracted to your project.
Because performers realize the hold they have over a film project, negotiating talent services agreement can be a nail-biting experience. Virtually every recognizable performer has a team of agents, managers, and attorneys ready to protect the actor’s interests and negotiate the best deal they can for their client. For producers, knowing how to negotiate an actor’s contract is critical for the success of their films. Making sure that you have your film set up properly from the legal perspective at the get-go will help put you in the best position to negotiate. And, making sure you know the clauses to look out for during negotiation and how to handle them is crucial.
Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner with the New York law firm of LaneCrowell, LLP. Mr. Crowell counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. Throughout his career he's helped hundreds of producers and actors protect themselves when signing the Talent Services Agreement.
Thomas will walk you through labor and employment issues to consider when hiring key cast for your production, as well as give you payroll company resources you can use. You'll learn how to sign you production up as a signatory with SAG-AFTRA and how to be compliant. He will help you determine which union agreement your film will fall under and discuss the differences to consider between a student/short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media project. Once you understand how to set up your film correctly, he will teach you how you can negotiate with agents, managers and other actor's representatives. Finally, Thomas will go over the key elements of a legal actor/talent services agreement. This is an all encompassing look at the broad landscape of actor's agreements taught with an easy to understand and comprehensive delivery.
Whether you are making student films, short films, feature films, or new media projects with ultra low, low, medium or big budgets, you will learn EXACTLY what you need to get your actor's agreements buttoned up and protected.
"One of the best yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Definitely want Thomas back. Thanks!"
"This was incredibly detailed. I appreciated that Thomas took a lot of time showing real life examples and included easy to understand descriptions of all the clauses that would make my spin. Well worth the time."
Thomas A. Crowell, Esq.
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Very helpful graphics; good pace (not to fast or slow); speaker had high level of knowledge/experience. Very helpful. - J. Marshall
Tons of great information very well explained - Thanks! - R. Heaps
Great job.. Thank you. - R. Miles
One of the best yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Definitely want him back. Thanks! J. Rose
Creating a movie is more than just a labor of love: it's also an investment of time and money. But while countless hours are spent raising money, putting the project together, setting up shots, and editing footage, many producers and filmmakers spend too little time or have little understanding of how to take care of the legal aspects of their productions. As a result, producers and filmmakers often learn the difficult lesson that no matter how good their films may be, a distributor can't sell a movie unless all of the necessary rights and permissions have been secured. In fact, without the correct agreements in place, filmmakers may be surprised to find out that they may not even own their own films! Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including clients who have had deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. A former television producer and director of development for STN, Thomas has spent the better part of the last two decades creating ways to make difficult legal concepts accessible to creatives. Thomas will outline how to spot the top 10 major legal problems that filmmakers and producers face. He'll go through aspects of copyright law and a deep dive of a filmmaker's ownership of the film to make sure you keep your rights. He'll go over critical deal points for option and purchase agreements and talk about fundraising "sand traps" and how to avoid them. Finally Thomas will teach you tips and tricks for negotiating with agents. Whether you have a finished film, a script, or the beginnings of an idea for a television program, you will leave this webinar with a set of tools you can use to tackle legal problems that may come your way. "One of the best webinars yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Calmly and clearly explained every pitfall I fear. Definitely want him back. Thanks!" - J. Rose
"Thomas was very helpful, informative and I learned a LOT during the almost 2 hour webinar. " -Murray W. Hollywood loves IP, but there's more than comic book heroes and novels. If you’re working on a project based on a real-life person, you’ll likely need a “life rights” agreement. This webinar will walk you through life rights deals, what they entail, and how to negotiate them for your project. Are you writing the next great Oscar-bait biopic? Working on a limited series about a real-life figure? Developing a show centering on the private life of a well-known family? Or producing a documentary profiling someone publicly unknown? If so, you’ll likely need to deal with a life rights agreement. Without a life rights agreement with your subjects, you could be sued for defamation, invasion of privacy, and a host of other torts. While no one has a monopoly over the facts of someone’s life, United States law provides a patchwork of overlapping protections, waivers, and contractual obligations that provides you with the rights to tell a story with minimal legal risk. But first, you’ll need to understand these options and how to piece them together to secure your projects, and we have just the expert to walk you through it. Thomas Crowell is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner at LaneCrowell, LLP. He’s also a former television producer and director of development for STN, who currently counsels clients on entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues. Thomas’s clients have made deals with Sony, Starz, TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, and IDW Publishing, and their work can be seen in the pages of Marvel and DC Comics. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, Thomas will cover what “life rights” are exactly, the key components that makeup life rights, the structure of the agreements, how to negotiate them, and the most common mistakes to avoid when working on these deals. You’ll explore the legal protections you need to work on stories of living subjects and outline the key issues of these agreements so that you can confidently move forward on your true story project.
Feature films, documentaries, biopics, book adaptations, and sequels/prequels are all very different from each other, but they share a fundamental legal necessity: the need to acquire certain intellectual property rights in order to make the film. Whether it’s a fictional character or a real-life person; a novel, play, comic book, movie, TV show, or web series if you don’t own or control the underlying rights your film may end up in litigation rather than the theaters. This webinar will introduce you to basic intellectual property concepts and walk-through the key agreements and licensing language you will need when you are making a film based upon somebody else’s property or persona. Too often filmmakers “shoot first and get permission later.” This might be fine for scenes which can be cut if you can’t get the rights but is disastrous when your entire movie depends upon a copyright or life story that you have not effectively licensed. Intellectual property can be complex, and confusing, and the failure to include the right licensing language may result in a film that can never be distributed. To make matters even more complicated, conscientious producers often pull forms from the web that are not designed for their particular projects. In this webinar you will learn from one of the top entertainment attorneys in the industry, Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. A former television producer and director of development for STN, Mr. Crowell counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues. He has worked with clients who have had deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC Comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. He will teach you how to spot problems with licensing agreements, learn what agreements are needed in order to license copyright and “life rights,” and learn how to investigate and correct breaks in a film’s “chain of title.” You will walk away feeling confident that you have the correct copyrights in place for your project!
A New Exclusive Four-Part Class! Payment plans are available - email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. Learn how to attract and negotiate a winning cast to your project from an entertainment lawyer who's worked with Sony, Starz, Discovery, and more... What is the most important element in your film - that crucial piece that will land you a distributor? is it the script? The director? For many distributors and financiers, choosing one project over another often depends on if you have a star that audiences recognize. Actors performances breathe life into a film, and their fame gives a film its marketing power which often equals financing. To nab the right talent, you’ll have to put together your casting strategy, get their reps to pay attention, negotiate the terms of their deal, work with SAG-AFTRA, and close their deals so they are officially attached to your project. Not sure where to start? We'll show you how. In this exclusive 4-part virtual Stage 32 class, you'll learn how to reach out to talent representatives, how to attract them to your project and how to negotiate the performer’s services agreement. If you know how to do these crucial steps you can give your film or TV show its best chance of success. Guiding you in attracting and signing talent to your project is Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. a top entertainment attorney who has worked with Sony, Starz, Discovery, TLC, and more. By the end of this class, you’ll understand how independent filmmakers like yourself can attach big names to your projects and how you can create a package that investors and distributors want to be a part of. Don’t miss out on your chance to learn from Thomas so you can land the top-tier performer your project needs and deserves!
This webinar has a 100% satisfaction rating! Acquiring the rights to a literary property with an eye towards turning it into a movie or television series is one of your primary responsibilities as a filmmaker or producer. Or, if you’re a writer with a screenplay or someone who owns IP that can be made into a film or TV series, how do you know you’re signing the right contract with a producer? Whether you are looking to acquire a screenplay, article, book, graphic novel or comic book series you need an option/purchase agreement — or is it shopping agreement? Or is it an attachment agreement? Trying to understand which agreement is right for you can make your head spin. But, it’s important to make sure you come to the table with the right agreement to protect yourself upfront and secure all the necessary rights to the amazing property you’re after. At a glance, it seems that there is overlap between the holy trinity of rights agreements: shopping, option/purchase and attachment. Unfortunately, many people confuse the terms and as a result people often end up coming to the bargaining table with very different ideas on what kind of agreement they are — resulting in the creation of Frankensteined-together versions of these three types of contracts. The wrong drafting can leave the writer stripped of their copyrights or producers and filmmakers unable to secure financing because they don’t have the rights they thought they paid for. There are key distinctions between these three agreements and any producer or filmmaker(or on the flipside, writer) must know the difference between them. Experienced entertainment attorney Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is here to help. Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including clients who have had deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. A former television producer and director of development for STN, Thomas has spent the better part of the last two decades creating ways to make difficult legal concepts accessible to creatives. Thomas will give you a solid foundation of the legal issues involved in the acquisition of film rights, as well as a rubric for understanding, negotiating, and drafting key provisions in the option/purchase, shopping agreement, and attachment deals. He will walk you through the basics of copyright law and the legal steps necessary in transferring rights. Next he will discuss common pitfalls writers and producers make when it comes to breaks in the chain of title, joint authorship, and work for hire. Critically, Thomas will spell out the differences between shopping, option/purchase, and attachment agreements and will give invaluable tips on how to negotiate and draft these agreements to ensure you’re getting what you need and not being taken advantage of. You will have the tools you'll need to navigate the murky waters of copyright law and to land the rights to your dream literary property. Plus! Thomas provides you with a 32 page detailed resource guide to help you navigate the nuances of various agreements Praise for Thomas' Stage 32 Webinar “I would wholeheartedly recommend this webinar not only to producers and writers, but to anyone in the business, even if you think you know what you're doing. It's mandatory viewing if you call yourself a professional." - Anna H. "The best I've heard this explained." - Patricia C. "The best webinar I have taken here so far. Great visuals, clear explanations, relevant topic." - Maritere Y. "Thomas was excellent. Articulate, helpful diagrams, and I liked his delivery and vast experience as a producer and lawyer." - Virginia K
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. To help you navigate option agreements is Thomas Crowell is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner at LaneCrowell, LLP. Thomas specializes in working with artists whose work you’ve seen on Sony, Starz, Marvel, DC, IDW Publishing, Discovery, and many more. You won’t be overwhelmed with legal jargon here. Thomas is an expert at showing writers, directors, producers, and more how to understand their agreement and legal options in a tangible way, as seen in his best-selling legal guide for independent producers, The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers. After watching this webinar, you’ll know the difference between shopping agreements, option agreements, and purchase agreements, which one is best for your material or the material you’d like the rights to, understand copyright issues, how to ensure you have exclusivity, and all of the deal points that you’ll need to negotiate.