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International sales agents (“sales agent(s)”) are your pipeline to foreign distribution whether they are pre-selling or licensing the completed picture. Sales agents develop a marketing plan for the pictures they represent, design poster artwork, and undertake to cut an appropriate trailer if they believe that your sales materials are not up to par. Sales agents…

Distribution and Exploitation of the Picture The distributor is going to want to exclusively control how the picture is marketed and distributed. You are going to have a difficult time wresting control from the distributor unless you have a track record. Notwithstanding, I attempt to negotiate for my clients to have the right of meaningful…

Distribution Fees/Royalties The distributor will take into consideration the type of picture it is distributing and distribution fees will reflect that. Distribution fees are generally calculated as a percentage of gross revenues. “Gross revenues” means the money earned by the picture from first dollar, without deductions for distribution fees, marketing expenses, taxes, residuals to any…

Distribution Agreement I investigate any distributor with whom I am unfamiliar prior to commencing negotiations on behalf of a client: I want to ascertain their track record, acquire a list of the markets they attend, and contact their references (filmmakers, whose films they have distributed in the last five years). I do not start negotiating…

Distribution “Distribution” is the process through which your picture is exhibited and exploited throughout the world in all media. Distribution is how your picture earns revenues. If you do not already have distribution, you will start seeking it once your picture is completed. The goal is to secure Distribution Agreements with distributors that have the…

Register a Copyright I formally register a copyright for the picture via the Registrar of Copyrights once the picture is completed. Please refer to the article on copyrights for more information on this process. Trademark The United Stated Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) will grant you exclusive ownership and use over any mark for which…

Music is one of the most important elements of any picture. The right music can be transcendent—the wrong one downright distracting. The difference between the two is very often money. Independent producers tend to under budget music costs, then “borrow” from the music budget whenever they have shortfalls in other areas. I strongly recommend that…

You may not film in an interior location unless you have the owner’s permission. You need to secure a Location Agreement wherein the location’s owner gives you written permission to be on the premises. You may need a permit for exterior locations from the city or state where the location is situated. You may have…

You will need up to five different types of insurance for your production. Production insurance/general liability, equipment insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance, and completion bond insurance are purchased during pre-production. E&O insurance is purchased prior to the picture’s distribution. You must purchase insurance because your production company is contractually committed to do so by the companies…

Talent You have to become a SAG signatory even if only one of your actors is a SAG member. Remember that SAG has to clear the picture in order for SAG talent to render services, and it will not do that until the production company is a SAG signatory and has met all of SAG’s…

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