The Independent Filmmaker’s Law and Business Guide: Financing, Shooting, and Distributing Independent and Digital Films

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  1. Anthony Torres "" says
    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great Resource for Starting a No Budget Film Company, February 27, 2006
    Anthony Torres “” (Orlando, FL USA) –

    Filmmaking is a leap of faith. A lot of people assume someone else will solve all the paperwork problems when distributions is locked. Unfortunately, if your paperwork is not in order and you can’t furnish deliverables, you run the risk of losing the distro deal. Deliverables- what you provide to a distributor so they can do their job of marketing your movie- begin at the screenwriting stage.

    If you are totally do it yourself and willing to make investments on yourself, why would you leave legalities to the VERY end when you have no choice (at least at the start you have the option of NOT hiring someone if they won’t sign an actors release, avoiding a location if the owner won’t sign. There’s no “getting away” with anything.) This is stuff you hear about in film school, but it doesn’t sink in until you experience the limitations caused by putting off the paperwork.

    Author Jon Garon provides a legal book that is inclusive of all filmmakers, including no budget guerilla filmmakers. Even books that deal with guerilla filmmaking tend to gloss over the pertinent details that relate to Do-it-yourself-ers. He has some beautiful words of respect for guerilla filmmakers, too. That this is a law and business guide makes it a must have for anyone thinking about making a movie, be it for no money or millions.

    This is the first book I’ve read that goes indepth as to the protections of a sole-proprietor vs. sole-Proprietor LLC (if your state allows it). I set up the LLC today, following his instructions. Took 10 minutes, online. Even went to the for the employer id Number. He explains the risks of partnerships, and how you can unwittingly enter a partnership if you and your pals don’t set forth an agreement at the start.

    Financing is everyone’s biggest complaint. This book explores the conventional and alternative financing models (investors vs. disposable income vs. debt financing/credit cards), and goes one better as to compare the risks and rewards of each. The golden quote is “I have never heard of anyone who has gambled her house on a film and won.”

    He even breaks down setting up your company and chain of command, running your company, working out deferrals and how those are paid back, and all sorts of issues you need to know but otherwise wouldn’t think of. This book also includes info on contracts, actor and location releases, and music permissions.

    Granted, this doesn’t include a lot of boiler plate. But Mark Litwak has books for that. However, this book bests Litwak in the realm of detail and why certain provisions really matter. This book empowers the filmmaker to understand business and contracts, what to ask for, what to avoid, and so much more. This is a critical book to own. Particularly if you’re broke. So get it!

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  2. Robert Heske says
    5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent Resource, October 30, 2002
    By A Customer

    I found Mr Garon’s book to be direct, informative and easy to read without losing any of the details. This had all the information of a definitive text while being an easy read. I was eagerly awaiting his book, it did not disappoint.

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