A founding partner of Lane Sash & Larrabee 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. He joined Lane Sash & Larrabee in July of 2012 as a partner. 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, Mr. Crowell is the Director of the Indie Film Clinic at Cardozo Law School, where he also teaches a course in film law. Mr. Crowell is a strong supporter of legal pro bono work for artists and is the Executive Director emeritus of the New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. 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. 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 »
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!
For the last 2 decades, Thomas Crowell has been one of the most respected legal voices in the entertainment industry. He's helped countless filmmakers and producers get protected and stay protected throughout the life of their projects. He'll be using real documents and legal examples to show you in layman's terms how to avoid the biggest traps filmmakers and producers fall into. No matter what budget range you're working in, his information is actionable and applicable.
Whether you have a finished film, a script, or the beginnings of an idea for a television program, this course will show you how to spot the top legal problems filmmakers and producers face… and give you a set of tools you can use to tackle them!
"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 A. Crowell, Esq.
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.
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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.
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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.
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! For a live webinar, you will be given the link within 2 business days after the live session.
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
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!" Jessica R. "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." Paul P.
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. "Very informative. Liked how he emphasized applying for copyright. I still thought registering with WGA was enough. Liked how organized his lecture was. I'll watch it again." - Joanne E. "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
Learn directly from Heather Hale, Independent Film and TV Producer and Director who is vetted to pitch projects to NBC Universal and whose 50 hours of television have won Emmys, Tellys and Ace Awards as well as "Best New Series Pilot"! Our industry has changed dramatically - and it continues to evolve. This webinar will help you strategize how to find the best points of entry for your projects in the overlapping but distinct media marketplaces. Learn time-proven techniques and new resources to proactively brainstorm the right attachments and elements for your project. Learn how to identify, research and prioritize a finely honed hit list of marquis-value actors appropriate for not only the roles – but your budget and genre; bankable, "gettable" directors that will do justice to your project's sensibilities; legitimate financiers and distributors proficient in your niche and the brands that are eager to hit your target demographics. Figure out how to track them all down, strategize the best approaches to get on their radars and develop the kind of materials and pitches they will most likely respond to. Heather uses in-the-trenches humor, candor and real world examples to illuminate the many paths to getting a project up onto the big (or little) screen.
Often entertainment immigration seminars focus on actors, but what about everyone else who works on a film or TV project? Directors, producers, screenwriters, crew members, editors, sound designers, costumers, creative advertising directors, production specialists and all other creatives and professionals need the pertinent information as it applies to Visas and Green Card information. Understanding all Visa possibilities, which one is right for you, the eligibility requirements, and how to assure your applications and petitions have all the pertinent information needed to push through the system will have you in the best position to be approved quickly so you can begin working in the U.S. There is a threshold that the U.S. Immigration Office has set before they will approve a Visa application. It's called "Extraordinary" and your information must meet the standards to earn that status. But for many, knowing the criteria that can push your application and petition to this high level is nebulous at best and often extremely confusing. We're here to clear it all up for you. Your hosts, Lorraine D'Alessio and Liz Profumo are partners at D'Alessio Law Group. Their practice specializes in immigration and nationality law and concentrates on temporary and permanent business and employment related visas for investors, artists, and entertainers. They have has assisted hundreds of artists, performers, and other industry professionals to realize their dreams of living in the United States. Ms. D'Alessio combines her unique, firsthand knowledge of the entertainment business with immigration law. This year she also won the Century City Bar Association's "Lawyer of the Year" Award. Exclusively for Stage 32, Lorraine and Liz will take away all the confusion, anxiety and fear associated with understanding the Visa landscape and submitting an application and petition. They will start by presenting a detailed explanation of the various type of Visas so you can understand and identify, with confidence, which Visa is right for you. They will dive into the U.S. Immigration Office's threshold for obtaining "extraordinary" status and how you can prove that you fit the criteria. They will help you identify who should be your petitioner and how to best build his or her resume to assure they're credible in the eyes of the reviewing officer. They will teach you what to say and what not to say when you reach the border. And they will dive into other legalities and contracts you should be aware of and how to identify and avoid immigration scams. This is a fully comprehensive overview and directional guide on how to understand the Visa process, submit a thorough and complete application, and best position yourself to obtain a Visa to begin working in film & TV in the U.S. Praise for Lorraine and Liz "The Webinar was simply amazing. Great clarity!" - Ranadeep B. "Tremendously informative." - Arhynn D. "Easy to follow and to understand. So helpful." - Elizabeth K. "The best I've seen on this subject. Filled with gratitude." - Sunil P.
If there's one subject that seems to confound and confuse filmmakers, producers, screenwriters, financiers and even set designers more than any other, it's the world of product placement. Can you raise meaningful money through product placement? What products can I put in my film or screenplay and which should be avoided? What are the legalities when dealing with product placement? These are all very valid and important questions. Those who understand the way the product placement industry (and it is an industry unto itself) works use this aspect of the production process to raise significant funds and stay on the north side of any potential legal issues. Those who fail to understand often have difficulties with clearances (and by virtue, issues securing sales and distribution) and may find themselves on the south side of some major lawsuits that include claims copyright infringement, misuse, and other serious charges. While the world of product placement was once considered to be an unregulated wild west of backroom deals and shady characters, it is now developed into an extremely controlled and accessible industry. Choosing a partner in this arena can lead to monetary deals that can help you close the rest of your financing. It can also help you fund parts of your pre-production phase. But most of all, it can lead to creative flexibility for your screenwriter, your director, your producer, your set designer, and even your crew. Over a 20+ year career in the film industry, David Patterson has worked as a writer, director and producer on dozens of projects. His films have played at Sundance and other prestigious film festivals which have garnered him sales to distribution outlets and various networks including Sundance Channel, Starz Channel and Warner Bros. David's work attracted the attention of Disney and his Bridge To Terabithia, was a huge studio release and box office success for the studio. More recently, David’s film, The Great Gilly Hopkins, starring Glenn Close, Octavia Spencer, Kathy Bates and Julia Stiles opened theatrically to rave reviews. Throughout this journey he has always used product placement to help with the success of each of his films. David will demystify and clearly explain the world of product placement and how you can best utilize a product placement strategy for your project. He will start by defining product placement - it may surprise you to know there are over 12 answers! He will then dive into how you can use just about everything to help you with product placement from your script, to your cast and crew to your producers to locations to utilizing your actors. He will teach you how to secure product placement - where to look, how to approach, how to close a deal. He will show you how the legalities of product placement for film festivals and commercial release differ and what you need to have buttoned up. He will explain E & O insurance and if you truly need it at all. He will also go into all the mistakes filmmakers make along the way and share some horror stories from filmmaker/producer friends and how you can avoid making the same mistakes - mistakes that can cost you money, time, endorsements and put you into legal peril. Additionally, David will teach you all the tips and tricks he's learned along the way to get the most out of your product placement strategies and build relationships with the right companies and brands so you can go back to the well time and time again! "Brilliant." - Jonathan C. "I was so unfamiliar with this world. Incredible breakdown of what and what not to do. This one truly opened my eyes. Can't recommend it enough." - Heather P. "David, where have you been my entire producing life?" - Priya R. "I don't throw this word around often, but this webinar was genius." - Alan L.
So you want to direct. You've been bitten by the filmmaking bug and now all you can think about is making a film. You've got a script (or the concept for one) and have envisioned exactly how you want to see it on the screen. And, now more than ever, with equipment more accessible, the costs of shooting affordable, the barrier of entry lower than it's every been, and the options for distribution growing seemingly by the minute, you know the path from script to screen has never been more viable. We get it. As a director you are the lynchpin of a production and the commander of a creative army in service of your vision. But, in order to truly realize that vision, you have to know everything there is about development, pre-production, physical production, and post production. Even though you can clearly see the film in your mind that's only a small part of the process of being a director. It takes hard work, discipline, and wearing many hats to be able to execute every aspect of developing and filming a movie - and to do it in a way that holds the entire production together. What you do (or don't do) in pre-production will set the tone for the entire shoot, good or bad. How you command the set on the first day will determine whether your cast and crew put forth their best effort or zone out. You have to be cognizant of shooting time/days, your budget, and assuring that your are delivering on every promise. But you're not done when you shout "That's a wrap!" There's still more to do when you get to post-production, working hand in hand with your editor, colorist, sound designer and more. It sounds overwhelming, but we're here to tell you it's not only a manageable environment, but one you can thrive in. Stacia Crawford started as an actress, but had the overwhelming desire to manage and film projects. So, she moved into producing and directing. Last year alone, she had two feature films that premiered on Netflix and Lifetime. With the success of those films, she has been hired to direct two more features this year. Stacia has worked with NBC, The History Channel, A&E, AMC, Spike and more, and has used her experience to make sure she runs a tight and efficient set. She's a pro at managing a project from the script phase through seeing her work on screen and beyond. Stacia will guide you through the entire directing process so you can understand what your responsibilities will be through pre-production, physical production and post-production. She will help you understand what to look for in your contract before you even get hired. She will teach you best casting strategies, how to find and enlist the help of your creative departments, and how to choose the right DP and AD (beyond important!) You'll also learn how to prepare your shot list and how to confidently run your set by learning how to work with actors, producers and your crew and keep them all happy. She'll teach you about your dailies and picking up scenes if the schedule shifts. Finally, she'll take you through post-production and how to work seamlessly and diplomatically with your editor, composer and your color and audio team. You'll be well-armed with all the pertinent and vital information you need to manage every aspect of being a film director. Stacia will remove your anxiety and fears by giving you the tools to succeed, thrive and have your cast and crew looking to work with you again and again. "If you are thinking of going into the industry it was amazing, hit all the points, and she went above and beyond when she expanded on a lot of her points...like making sure you get your insert shots (which I've been a victim of.). Overall she was great, clear and to the point." - Ryan H. I'm a screenwriter and always wanted to direct, but found the idea of it daunting. Stacia not only lifted my fears, but gave me so many "I can do that!" moments that I'm already kicking myself for not doing it sooner. She's a marvel. - Monica R.