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  • Legal considerations

    All too often I am reading advice to form an LLC for films and to hire an attorney for the production. I can understand the logic behind this advice but in reality we are low budget to no budget filmmakers. How many acutally do these things?

  • #2
    It is extremely important to form an LLC for each title even if it is a no budget film

    Here is why - Even though you might be making a movie with no money it still does not prevent some actor or actress from suing you because she got hurt in the middle of a scene. Without an LLC you as a person are liable for all damages to that actress, the suit can take your home garnish your wages etc... If you have an LLC in place then the LLC will be liable which would be separate from your personal life...

    Hope this helps :)
    Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

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    • #3
      It is important to get an LLC. We didn't have money for an attorney to do it so we did ours through legal zoom, Upon the recommendation of a fellow independent filmmaker. I cost about 1300 dollars but it's alot cheaper than an attorney.
      Never a day's rest.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Nick Soares View Post
        It is extremely important to form an LLC for each title even if it is a no budget film

        Here is why - Even though you might be making a movie with no money it still does not prevent some actor or actress from suing you because
        Thanks. Can you fill me in on why one for each film rather than a film company? Like if I made dodo bird pictures, would that cover all the films I made or do I really need to spend the money for an LLC for each movie I shoot?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mick Scarborough View Post
          Thanks. Can you fill me in on why one for each film rather than a film company? Like if I made dodo bird pictures, would that cover all the films I made or do I really need to spend the money for an LLC for each movie I shoot?
          Great question -

          Because it is important to separate liability on each film - Lets say you shoot a feature with no budget and it doesn't even find distribution, then you later create another feature film that goes on to make millions, anyone from the first film could sue your company that has the million dollar film attached to it. So a no budget film under the same umbrella as the million dollar film can come back to haunt you by loosing all of your profits from the millions dollar film because of some issue with the previous no budget film.

          Recap - If you had different LLC's for each film, the person that found a cause to sue in the no budget film cannot affiliate the million dollar film if it is a separate LLC
          Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

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          • #6
            Okay that makes perfect sense. Oh well I guess I have to roll that cost into my production

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            • #7
              Ok crap. One more question. Once the LLC is formed and the film is done, do you need to maintain the LLC forever or let it "expire"?

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              • #8
                I'm a little confused, could you still put your production logo and whatnot on each film even if they're under separate LLC's? Or do you have to make a different company name up for each one?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Klay M Abele View Post
                  I'm a little confused, could you still put your production logo and whatnot on each film even if they're under separate LLC's? Or do you have to make a different company name up for each one?
                  Disclaimer:
                  (I am not a lawyer, you should always seek advice from an Entertainment Attorney)



                  Another great question -

                  Yes you can. Basically each production LLC would be a subsidiary of your company, in which your parent company is not liable for damages by any sister (subsidiary) company. Just keep in mind that all of this doesn't mean shit if your talent/crew do not clearly separate the companies.

                  Most larger companies create LLC's mainly for tax and protection reasons.
                  Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

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                  • #10
                    I am curious about this, as well.

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                    • #11
                      That is, Mick's last question concerning letting the LLC expire.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mick Scarborough View Post
                        Ok crap. One more question. Once the LLC is formed and the film is done, do you need to maintain the LLC forever or let it "expire"?
                        Yes there is a yearly fee - I think my past LLC have been around a $75 annual fee
                        Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

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                        • #13
                          Yes, but what are the potential consequences of letting it expire after a year? Would you the individual assume all liability and still be at risk years down the road?

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                          • #14
                            Wow, sweet topic. Thanks for starting this one. Very informative!

                            Not that I have the money to go on a movie spree but if I did, this topic would have saved my life about LLC's....

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                            • #15
                              Every year I get a notice from the state indicating that the fee is due. I go on line, answer a few questions (has the mailing address changed, have the company's officers changed), and pay the fee. They make it very easy to stay current.
                              Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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