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Production Journal

The Film Strategy 5 with Cindy Cowan.

Production Tips

Your November 2016 Calendar for Film Festivals, Screenplay Contests, Fellowships, Labs and Awards.

Case Study

When To Say No To A Film Festival

Case Study

The Full Costs and Income of an Indie Film

The Production / Filmmakers Toolkit

Documents, Templates and Resources for Every Phase of Production.

7.26.2016

PRODUCTION TIPS: Should You Form a Production Company?


Here's an excerpt of some advice I posted on Avvo, recently, in response to a filmmaker asking whether they should form a production company or continue working under their own name as a sole proprietor. It seems like a no-brainer and that the answer is yes but I would only say yes, it's worth the time and money if it meets your goals. Check it out:

Basically, whether to form a business entity like an LLC, partnership or corporation or remain as a sole proprietor (which is what you are when you do business "just as yourself") comes down to what kind of goals your production is trying to meet. 

You should form an LLC, partnership or corporation if your goals are any or all of the following: 
1. raise funds from investors, 
2. hire a team of independent contractors or employees, 
3. work with business partners and co-producers, writers and directors, 
4. avoid risky liabilities that can personally bankrupt you (especially if you are shooting a picture with action scenes or other dangerous components to it), 
5. establish a brand presence, 
6. obtain a certain level of legitimacy in the business and entertainment community, and 
7. take advantage of taxation benefits and deductions. 
(This is not an exhaustive list but it gives you an idea of what kind of benefits you get from forming an LLC, partnership or corporation that you may not get as a sole proprietor.) 

There are additional strategies that you can use with your productions to help the production save money, reward investors, protect your intellectual property assets and minimize risks which I like to impart to my clients as well. At the end of the day, you should talk with a lawyer who can help you plan and meet your business goals and give you the pros and cons for each type of business entity that will accommodate those goals. 


For help in starting and running your film production business from formation to operation to dissolution, contact me at danny@djimlaw.com or 929.322.3546.


Matter included here or in linked websites may not be current. It is advisable to consult with a competent professional (hint, hint, me) before relying on any written commentary. No attorney client relationship is established by the viewing, use, or communication in any manner through this web site. 
Nothing on this blog or blog posting is official legal advice; it is just information and opinion. But if you want to, you can visit my professional website and hire me.

7.15.2016

CASE STUDY: Product Placement Works Better in 3D Movies than in 2D Movies


Original Title: Highly prominent product placements tend to benefit from 3D movies, while placements with low prominence lose out  

The results, recently published in the journal Media Psychology, are based on two studies, which investigated product placements in two Hollywood movies. Volunteers watched the Hollywood movies as either a 2D, a 3D, or a 4D version (the 3D movie with added scent). Researchers subsequently recorded the extent to which the volunteers were able to recall and recognize the brands placed in the movies. In doing so, they distinguished between products placed in a prominent and those placed in a subtle manner.
Ralf Terlutter (Department of Marketing and International Management at the Alpen-Adria-Universit├Ąt, AAU), who conducted the studies together with his AAU colleagues Sandra Diehl und Isabell Koinig (Department of Media and Communications Science), as well as Martin K.J. Waiguny (IMC Krems), elaborates: "Our results indicate that those companies wishing to work with less prominent  might benefit from continuing to use  created in 2D technology." However, in certain circumstances, the use of 3D movies might be very appropriate in the case of prominent product placements. Terlutter explains this result in more detail: "However, this only applies in instances where the product placement is both highly visible and central to the plot of the movie." If this is not the case, the 3D technology will contribute to producing a negative effect on brand recall and brand recognition. Regardless of the level of prominence selected, the recall of product placements was poorest in 4D movies.
The research team postulates that the limited information processing capacity of the human brain is responsible for these results. Ralf Terlutter goes on to add: "When we watch a 3D or 4D movie, more cognitive resources are required than in the case of a 2D movie. These cognitive resources are then no longer available for the processing and memorizing of product placements. The additional stimulation in 3D or 4D leads, we believe, to a more intensive utilisation of the brain." The aim of future studies will be to measure this effect, as well as the effects produced in different cultures featuring varying degrees of technological development.
More information: Ralf Terlutter et al. Positive or Negative Effects of Technology Enhancement for Brand Placements? Memory of Brand Placements in 2D, 3D, and 4D Movies, Media Psychology (2016). DOI: 10.1080/15213269.2016.1142377 

Provided by: Alpen-Adria-Universit├Ąt Klagenfurt



For film consultations and product placement strategies, contact me at danny@djimlaw.com or 929.322.3546.

Matter included here or in linked websites may not be current. It is advisable to consult with a competent professional (hint, hint, me) before relying on any written commentary. No attorney client relationship is established by the viewing, use, or communication in any manner through this web site. 
Nothing on this blog or blog posting is official legal advice; it is just information and opinion. But if you want to, you can visit my professional website and hire me.

7.11.2016

CASE STUDY: The Lionsgate-Starz Merger: Changing the Landscape or Just Another Blip?


In a nutshell, "this [Lionsgate-Starz merger] deal is about increasing content and distribution." And mainly to the benefit of Lionsgate because it has and creates tons of content and now has a TV distribution outlet for all of that content at its control. It is (regrettably?) another step in the corporate consolidation of the media landscape and another sign of how difficult it is to make money while competing with other studios and other forms of entertainment. Many are saying this is changing the landscape (since it will help compete against the streaming networks) and maybe it is, but I can't help just see this as just another step in a landscape that has already been changing since the DVD stopped making money as Netflix and YouTube started making money.

For the business and legal heads out there, here's an in-depth analysis of the Liongsgate-Starz merger from the Market Realist.




7.06.2016

CASE STUDY: A Look at Some of TV's Most Successful PODs

With news that Neal Baer (showrunner of Under the Dome, Law & Order: SVU, ER) just signed a POD deal with 20th Century Fox, I thought it was worth looking at the holy grail for television writers/producers: the POD deal aka the production overall deal. 

Now we don't often talk about television productions but with the quality of television productions meeting and oftentimes exceeding the quality of films, it's time to reconsider. I'm a big believer in aiming high and learning from successful people so the article below will give you something to aim for (POD deals) and give you examples of people with POD deals to learn from.
A Look at Some of TV’s Most Successful PODs 
Originally published by Film Escape April 5, 2015 and written by Charlie Sierra
It’s every TV writer/producer’s dream to get a POD deal at a studio. To be paid handsomely and respected for the work that you create is something that everyone strives for.  A POD (production overall deal is basically a first look deal except anything that the producer develops while under this agreement must stay within the studio and cannot be taken elsewhere even if the studio passes. In return, the studio will pay an annual fee to the producer and cover all of his/her overhead costs. Both TV and film studios make overall deals with production companies and writers. In the TV world, these production companies are known as PODs which are responsible for some of today’s most successful series. This system allows for studios to pay for exclusivity to the content from talented creators. For example, if someone like Shonda Rhimes creates a hit like GREY’S ANATOMY for ABC Studios, they’d want to make sure that they have access to her next projects so that they can have more hit shows like SCANDAL and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. After the success of BREAKING BAD, Sony Pictures (the studio that financed the show) made sure that the creator Vince Gilligan wasn’t going to take his next projects elsewhere. So they signed an undisclosed 8 figure POD deal with him and his company High Bridge.  Here is a list of a few other notable PODs for each of the major TV studios.
20th Century Fox TV
Production CompanyPrincipal(s)Credits
Bays & ThomasCarter Bays Craig ThomasHow I Met Your Mother
Liz MeriwetherLiz MeriwetherNew Girl
Party Over HereAndy SambergBrooklyn Nine Nine
Steve LevitanSteve LevitanModern Family
Flying Glass Of MilkMatt NixBurn Notice
Teakwood Lane ProductionsHoward Gordon24, 
Homeland, 
Tyrant
Chernin ProductionsPeter Chernin Katherine PopeNew Girl
Imagine TelevisionBrian Grazer Ron Howard24, Parenthood, 
Friday Night Lights, 
Empire
Lorde MillerChris Miller Phil LordLast Man On Earth, 
Lego Movie, 
21 Jump St
Ryan Murphy TVRyan MurphyGlee, 
American Horror Story, 
Nip Tuck
Sutter InkKurt SutterSons of Anarchy

ABC Studios
Production CompanyPrincipal(s)Credits
CoquetteCourteney Cox David ArquetteCougar Town
Dark ToyTodd HollandRed Band Society, 
About a Boy, 
Shameless
Fake EmpireJason Schwartz Stephanie SavageHart of Dixie, 
Carrie Diaries, 
Gossip Girl, 
Chuck, 
The OC
Michael SeitzmanMichael SeitzmanIntelligence, 
Code Black
Mark Gordon CoMark GordonGrey’s Anatomy, 
Criminal Minds, 
Private Practice
ShondalandShonda RhimesScandal, 
How To Get Away 
With Murder, 
Grey’s Anatomy

CBS Studios
Production CompanyPrincipal(s)Credits
Robert DohertyRobert DohertyElementary
When Pigs FlyGary GalsbergNCIS
606 FilmsHalle BerryExtant
Fly The CoopDoug EllinEntourage
K/O Paper ProductsAlex Kurtzman Roberto OrciScorpion, 
Sleep Hollow, 
Hawaii Five O, 
Fringe
Original FilmNeal MoritzThe Big C, 
Prison Break, 
Fast and Furious
Ryan SeacrestRyan Seacrest
Timberman/BeverlyCarl Beverly Sarah TimbermanJustified, 
Unforgettable, 
Elementary, 
Masters of Sex, 
The Odd Couple

Sony Pictures Televisions
Production CompanyPrincipal(s)Credits
Davis EntertainmentJohn DavisThe Blacklist
Farm KidDarlene HuntThe Big C
FedoraMichael Wimmer Peter TolanRescue Me, 
Rake
Nemo FilmsGraham YostJustified, 
Boomtown
Midd KiddShawn Ryan Marney HochmanThe Shield, 
Chicago Code, 
Last Resort, 
Lie to Me, 
The Unit
Happy MadisonAdam Sandler Doug RobinsonThe Goldbergs
High BridgeVince GilliganBreaking Bad, 
Better Call Saul, 
Battle Creek
Shore ZDavid ShoreHouse MD, 
Battle Creek
SmokehouseGeorge Clooney Grant Heslov

Universal Television
Production CompanyPrincipal(s)Credits
Broadway VideoLorne MichaelsSaturday Night Live, 
Man Seeking Woman, 
Mulaney
Deedle-DeeGreg DanielsThe Office, 
Parks and Recreation, 
King of the Hill
Etre FilmsAnne HecheBad Judge
PaperKiteAmy Poehler
Little StrangerTina Fey30 Rock
Parkes MacDonaldWalter F Parkes Laurie MacDonaldThe Slap, 
Warrior, 
Crossbones
UnbeliEVAble EntertainmentEva LongoriaDevious Maids
Wolf FilmsDick WolfLaw and Order, 
Chicago PD, 
Nightwatch
The Bedbug LetterMatt OlmsteadChicago Fire

Warner Bros TV
Production CompanyPrincipal(s)Credits
Berlanti TVGreg BerlantiThe Flash, 
Arrow, 
Mysteries of Laura, 
Brothers and Sisters
Bad RobotJJ Abrams Bryan BurkPerson of Interest, 
Believe, 
Almost Human, 
Lost, 
Fringe
Chuck LorreChuck LorreBig Bang Theory, 
Mom, 
Two and a Half Men
DoozerBill Lawrence Jeff IngoldCougar Town, 
Scrubs, 
Undateable
Jerry Bruckheimer TVJerry BruckheimerCSI Franchise,
My So-Called CompanyJulie PlecVampire Diaries, 
The Originals, 
The Tomorrow People

For help with your filmmaking career and your television projects, contact me at danny@djimlaw.com or 929.322.3546.

Matter included here or in linked websites may not be current. It is advisable to consult with a competent professional (hint, hint, me) before relying on any written commentary. No attorney client relationship is established by the viewing, use, or communication in any manner through this web site. 
Nothing on this blog or blog posting is official legal advice; it is just information and opinion. But if you want to, you can visit my professional website and hire me.