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How important is to hire media solicitor for a self funded Feature Film?

At what stage we should involve? Rates? Recommendation for UK based...?

  • NOW.

    A good specialist lawyer should be delighted to give you an initial free/low cost consultation because that's where they will flag up all the issues, knowing that at least some of them will be new to you, (or at least more important than you thought).

    Thus armed before you get too far down the line, you can organise better.

    I'll leave others to suggest names, but GOOD is worth paying for. I once won a copyright case within 1 day simply by getting the agreement of a leading copyright lawyer that I could say that he was my lawyer. The other side saw who was going to be my lawyer and folded. If they hadn't folded the lawyer wouldn't have been my lawyer as I couldn't afford him, but the other side didn't know that :-)

    9 months ago
  • Right at the very beginning. Rates vary wildly depending upon the experience of the lawyer. I have used UK ones for my UK work and pay £250 per hour min and my US attorney for my US work at $450 per hour. You'll need them for contracts/agreement for crew and for financing. An attorney can also submit script to production companies when they have a no unrepped writer rule or no unsolicited rule.

    In the UK when fund raising you need to be aware of FCA regulations and the difference between sophisticated and un-sophisticated investors. And between me, you and the door post, I can tell you how to move from the later to the former in about 6 months with little capital.

    Any co-production agreements will need the lawyer to liaise with their lawyer.

    It's also useful to have them to negotiate any other types of deals, like talent. If you have a shit hot media lawyer, they can get you through doors you'd only dream of. My writing mentor got in to the office of JJ Abrams and eventually sold a script that got made!!!

    However, I cant recommend any as I dont know you. I too have a reputation and sending someone on a recommendation that I have no idea who they are is just something I wont do. Work with me a while and that 'may' change. However in the meantime, maybe someone else can make the recommendation. There's loads you can find on google in London. If you have a good film accountant, maybe they know someone.

    9 months ago
  • And also, if you are a producer, they should be part of your 'power team'. Once you find a good one you'll always want to keep them as they'll help you get your movies made.

    9 months ago
  • I'd say it depends a little on your budget. If you're making a feature film for £5k then it'll likely never be distributed anyway, if it's £500k then get in early. You can likely find someone who'll cap their fee at fairly modest levels (although modest in lawyer terms may mean something substantial in yours).

    9 months ago
  • I agree with everyone. Sooner is better. Something that wasn't mentioned was E & O insurance (errors and omissions). You need a lawyer to go over your script to find any issues that could get you sued. You might find that you have to rewrite a bit to dodge that future law suit. There are quite a few books on entertainment law. I'd suggest educating yourself a bit before talking to an attorney so that you know the right questions to ask.

    9 months ago
  • I used Brighton based ACUMEN when I was offered an option contract a few years back. They specialize in media law www.acumenbusinesslaw.co.uk/services/med...

    9 months ago