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"Legal and Business Essentials For Documentary Filmmakers" is currently in development with a tentative release in early 2019. Sign up below to be notified when this course launches:



Getting a film MADE is a huge accomplishment. But it does no good for anyone, if the film never sees the light of day. 

Getting distribution is the key to securing a return on your (and your financiers’) investment. 

Too often, however, filmmakers encounter problems on the eve of distribution because they don't have their business and legal affairs in order. This costs them time, money, sleepless nights, and may even lead to whole projects being “shelved." 

These aspects of filmmaking are just as important to a film's success as the creative. And for the creative-minded filmmaker, they can be downright daunting. 

But they don't have to be. 

This course will provide filmmakers with the insider knowledge and information needed to make smart, practical business decisions at each stage of the process, from conception and development of the idea, through production, post, and into distribution. 

You'll learn to spot and address issues BEFORE they become issues. 

In addition to the in-depth course content, you'll receive valuable worksheets and checklists to help ensure that you have everything in order at completion of your film.

Instead of spending thousands of dollars in legal fees and headaches, sign-up for this practical no nonsense guided tour with a Hollywood Entertainment Lawyer who will walk you through every step of the process.

You’ll be able to proceed with confidence, knowing you’ll have everything ready for delivery when the time for distribution arrives. 

About Your Instructor

  • Gordon P. Firemark

    Attorney At Law

    Gordon P. Firemark

    Mr. Firemark is an entertainment attorney based in California and also teaches Entertainment Law in Columbia College Hollywood's film program. He's the producer and host of Entertainment Law Update, a podcast for artists and professionals in the entertainment industries and the author of The Podcast, Blog and New Media Producer’s Legal Survival Guide. The Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark cover intellectual property, cyberspace, new media and business/corporate matters for clients in the entertainment industry. More Info: Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark; Theatre, Film, TV & New Media

Course curriculum

  • 1
    • Introduction To Legal and Business Affairs
  • 2
    Legal and Business Basics
    • Foundational Business Principles for Filmmaking
    • Approaches to Securing Financing/Funding
    • Securing Your Film's Chain of Title
    • Identifying and Addressing Rights Issues
    • Strategies for Using Copyrighted Material
    • When to Rely on the Doctrine of Fair Use (and when not to)
    • Obtaining Necessary Releases and Permits - Dealing With Rights of Privacy & Publicity
    • Avoiding Claims of Defamation
    • Addressing Personnel Issues
    • Types of Insurance Required for Film Production
    • Fundamental Terms Of The Distribution Agreement
    • The Revenue "Waterfall"
    • QUIZ: Test Your Legal Knowledge
  • 3
    • Legal and Business Resources
    • Quick Survey

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