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Insight + analysis on indie film legal issues

Filmmakers + Friends

Nothing keeps your project moving forward like momentum, and regularly sharing updates with other indie producers, directors, screenwriters, and more is a great way to get it. Join this month’s DeepFocus Entertainment Law virtual gathering. Bring your own coffee and talk film finance, business and legal affairs, whatever you want to share with other industry professionals about your productions or scripts.

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Four ways to find the money to make movies.

Unless you’re shooting a Super 8 short, your film likely needs financing. It’s the difference between cinematic dreams and reality, so raising money may be the most important aspect of making movies. But how do you go beyond Indiegogo? The path to funded production can seem like one giant snarl. Here are a few key components to plan a professional indie film:

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Anatomy of an Independent Film Business Plan

Planning is key to the successful development, production, release, and profitability of independent films. As an indie filmmaker, you’re in the business of making and selling a product that just happens to involve entertainment. Like any entrepreneur, your business plan should be considered essential. You wouldn’t start making a movie without a shooting script. Probably not without storyboards or some other form of pre-visualization of your shots. Think of your film business plan the same way.

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Start a year for successful filmmaking with a solid business and legal foundation.

Register now to join DeepFocus Entertainment Law for a virtual coffee get-together monthly in 2023. The first online event kicks off January 27, 2023, from 8 AM to 9:30 AM PST. Clients, prospective clients, and friends are welcome. Register now here. In the meantime, enjoy these suggestions for New Year’s resolutions to start your next film or television project on solid business and legal ground:

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Three reasons your independent film or television project needs a clean chain of title.

Where is the title to a film or television project? If your first thought was something like in an animated opening sequence starting off with James Bond turning abruptly to camera with raised .25 Beretta, in a continuous opening shot of “The Player” heading across a studio lot, or in disturbing typography like Se7en, you’re thinking of the wrong titles. This kind of title is critically important, of course. But unlike the title in your film’s chain of title, it’s unlikely to stop your project from ever being seen.

That’s because chain of title in the film industry refers to the ownership of intellectual property rights, life rights, and other rights involved in a cinematic project. The “chain” is a series of documents that link current ownership of those rights to their original owners. One link might be rights of publicity that belong to the subject of a life story. Another might be copyright in a screenplay or the literary fiction, short story, or comic on which it is based.

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