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The Independent Filmmaker’s Law and Business Guide

Financing, shooting, and distributing independent and digital films

Jon Garon, The Independent Filmmaker's Law and Business Guide

Preparing independent or guerrilla filmmakers for the legal, financial, and organizational questions that can doom a project if unanswered, this guide demystifies issues such as developing a concept, founding a film company, obtaining financing, securing locations, casting, shooting, granting screen credits, distributing, exhibiting, and marketing a film. Updated to include digital marketing and distribution strategies through YouTube or webisodes, online streaming, crowdfunding, and the importance of diversity, inclusion, and compensation equity. Appendices provide sample contracts and riders, copyright forms and circulars, Writer’s Guild of America definitions for writing credits, and studio contact information.

Today’s explosion of independent and digital filmmaking demands a brass-tacks guide to the business and legal aspects of the process. What fundraising options are available to a filmmaker? When should a filmmaker establish a corporation or limited liability company? How do screenwriters protect their work? What are a director’s legal obligations to the producer, cast, and crew–and what are their obligations in return? And why must the filmmaker pay special attention to products and artwork that might appear in the background of a shot?

​This indispensable resource addresses the legal, financial, and organizational questions that an independent or guerrilla filmmaker must face, and the problems that will doom a project if left unanswered. It demystifies issues such as founding a film company, obtaining financing, preparing a budget, securing locations, shooting, granting screen credits, and distributing, exhibiting, and marketing a film.

The third edition is now available for pre-order.

Jon Garon, The Independent Filmmaker's Law and Business Guide, 3d Ed (2021)