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Showing posts with the label business

PRODUCTION TIPS: Should You Form a Production Company?

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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 actio

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

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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 .

PRODUCTION TIPS: 5 Questions Every Filmmaker Should Ask About Their Business

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Film is an artform. But it is also a business. If you want to keep making your art, you have to treat it like a business ( I am talking about the logistics of making film, I am NOT talking about the cinematic parts; please don't substitute artistic elements and creativity with financial ratios and marketing buzzwords ). Running a business well means asking the right questions. Here's an article meant for small to midsized business (which is what most film production companies are) about 5 questions they should ask regarding their intellectual property. Substitute "IP" or "intellectual property" or "copyright" with "film" or "pilot" or "media project" and it will make sense and be relevant to you.  So enjoy: Five IP Lessons for Small to Medium–sized Businesses Originally published on 6/29/2016 by Joseph Walsh, Jr. | Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC Intellectual property plays an increasingly significant

PRODUCTION TIPS: Build Your Brand by Creating A Production Company Mindmap

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Love him or hate him, Walt Disney's success can not be denied. His creativity extended beyond his artistry and into the realms of business. Behold this extraordinary mindmap attributed to Disney from 1957 (and color-coded by ZillionDesigns). Notice how varied the businesses of Walt Disney Productions are and how they intersect and compliment each other. The different business arms not only serve legal, taxation and logistical purposes BUT also marketing, branding and intellectual property purposes. For example, the TV department doesn't just meet the legal and business purposes of "paying off the cost of own film" it also "publicizes the products of the music division." Any producer out there starting a production company (even with one film) would benefit greatly from contemplating on Disney's mindmap and thinking about he or she can also map the strategy for their project in a similar way. Obviously, that indie producer's mindmap would

PRODUCTION TIPS: Test Screening Your Film + Free Questionnaire Template

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I know, I know... Test screenings seem like an idea dreamed up by studio executives as a way to squeeze the artistry and creativity out of a director's movie and torment him with data that confirms his movie is "shit." But believe it or not, while there are many films that have been test screened from potential greatness to mediocrity , many films we love today benefitted from the comments after a test screening (Exhibit A and B ). Everything from changing the title to changing the ending is possible after a test screening. While few directors take solace in the brutal feedback a group of strangers may give his baby, the executives want the feedback data to see if the film will have an audience and, as a result, make money. It's easy to deride test screenings and " fucking hate them " but think of it from the investor's point of view for a minute. Every movie is essentially a new business start-up. And new business start-ups don't have a readym

CASE STUDY: What To Do As A Filmmaker With The PWC "Filmed Entertainment" 2015-2019 Data

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In his Art of War, Sun Tzu wisely counseled, "Assess the advantages in taking advice, then structure your forces, accordingly to supplement extraordinary tactics." With that kernel of wisdom in mind, I looked at this year's Pricewaterhouse Coopers Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2015-2019 and studied their summary of " Filmed Entertainment ." Although I have not read the full report, the summary provides plenty food for thought so I asked myself what would I do with this data as a filmmaker? My answers are below labeled, "The Film Strategy tip." Let me know what you would do with that data. Note, I have not purchased the full report and I am only basing this on the insights they published. But even those short insights are revealing. Growth around the world will boost filmed entertainment revenue.   Global total filmed entertainment revenue will rise at a 4.1% CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) to 2019, reaching US$104.62bn. Particular

PRODUCTION TIPS: The Filmmaker and Taxes

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Like most people in the arts you are probably waiting to do your taxes at the last minute. You would much rather be creating art, writing a script or shooting a movie then crunching numbers and poring through old receipts. If it helps, consider it a civic duty to pay your taxes since those funds are used to cover many of the communal goods we use. But, the truth is even if you do not think it is your civic duty, you simply can not avoid them. As the Benjamin Franklin saying goes, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Therefore, you have to get them done. And it is worth taking the time to understand the process even if you are hiring someone else to do your taxes for you. Understanding taxes as a filmmaker (producer, director or screenwriter) can help you with your tax goals of paying what you owe (if anything) and getting a nice refund or tax write-offs. Employee vs. Self-Employed When it comes to taxes, you are either an employee or sel

PRODUCTION JOURNAL: New York Workshops for Entrepreneurs and Artists (Spring 2015)

Good news for filmmakers and producers in the NY area. I'm teaching 2 workshops at Bronx Community College this spring. The first one is one for entrepreneurs: "Starting a Business in New York" - April 7, 9, 14 and 16  (p.25) The second one is also for entrepreneurs plus artists, writers and inventors, a primer on "Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents" - May 5, 2015  (p. 24) Since filmmakers are BOTH entrepreneurs and artists, these workshops will be very fruitful for you to take if you can. ~~ Danny Jiminian To learn more and register, check out the Spring 2015 catalog HERE .