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Insight + analysis on indie film legal issues

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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Why you should consider using product placements to finance and promote your independent film production.

Porsche logo on the back of a car in an action movie scene

Advertisers are increasingly searching for more and better opportunities to place brands and products into films and television productions. Variety this week reports that global advertising group Interpublic has announced a new data analysis product planned for internal use in finding movies and broadcast and streaming series that “will serve as a good fit for in-show product placement.”

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Hollywood star Mary Pickford’s landmark million dollar deal, 106 years ago today.

On June 24, 1916, Mary Pickford signed an agreement rivaling the best that any modern Hollywood dealmaker could negotiate. Adjusted for inflation, the $10,000 per week in compensation that her motion picture contract with Paramount Pictures co-founder Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players Film Company provided for is equal to about $270,682 today. On top of that, profit participation gave her 50% from each film, with guaranteed compensation equal to about $19,600,000.

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Getting to Greenlight Series: What is an option/purchase agreement for a motion picture rights to a book, comic, or other written works?

DeepFocus Law’s Getting to Greenlight series presents entertainment attorney explanations of key business and legal affairs aspects of film and television development. This post turns the lens on the literary option/purchase agreement.

Demand for new source material in Hollywood leads frequently to creative executives approaching authors of written works from literary fiction to existing screenplays to graphic novels. The underlying rights to such works are often the first link in the chain of title of a motion picture or television series. The first step in forging that chain is one of the most important in motion picture and television law–creating a deal for intellectual property rights. A deal for adapting literary material for the screen is most often documented in a literary option/purchase agreement. Here’s an example of a screenplay option/purchase agreement.

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