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Old 10-12-2019, 08:48 AM   #1
kdmccaskill
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Default Benefits Of Getting An Entertainment Lawyer Before Agent or Manager

want to hear from you guys
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:35 AM   #2
JoeBanks
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Default Re: Benefits Of Getting An Entertainment Lawyer Before Agent or Manager

pro: saving 10-20% in commissions

con: can't legally solicit work in California

one of my writer's group just got her first staffed job on a basic cable show and only has a lawyer to handle her contracts. that feels like the ideal situation to be lawyer-only. if/when she's trying to get the next job, reps might be able to help more, but even then as a relative newbie (who isn't developing so no packaging) it's likely going to be a challenge even for her to land a bigger agent or manager
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Benefits Of Getting An Entertainment Lawyer Before Agent or Manager

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBanks View Post

con: can't legally solicit work in California
Why? I mean I understand someone at some stage thought it was a good idea and made a law, but why? Legally, morally what are the downsides?
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Old 10-12-2019, 04:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Benefits Of Getting An Entertainment Lawyer Before Agent or Manager

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern_land View Post
Why? I mean I understand someone at some stage thought it was a good idea and made a law, but why? Legally, morally what are the downsides?
the short answer is before the Talent Agencies Act required a state-license franchise to procure work for clients, there were a lot of shady "agents" ripping off the vulnerable actors and writers looking for work and a host of other unethical conduct (kickbacks!).

the longer answer is . . . it's complicated

https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/v...15&context=elr
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Old 10-12-2019, 06:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Benefits Of Getting An Entertainment Lawyer Before Agent or Manager

Thanks for that.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Benefits Of Getting An Entertainment Lawyer Before Agent or Manager

I wouldn't say there is some grand benefit, particularly in terms of a "before" scenario. Not a bad thing by any means; but I wouldn't necessarily look at it as beneficial, as much as a good step. Better than nothing? Absolutely. Really good to have for looking over contracts & agreements during a career? Without a doubt.

As noted above though, agents are the ones that can (legally) solicit work for you. In the case of a lawyer, if they are fairly well-established, they might be able to introduce you to agent or manager they work in tandem with and like.

But most likely, even if you find an entertainment lawyer, if you have no deals on the table ready to go for them to earn their 5%, they are almost surely going to charge you by the hour which could add up quick. We're talking easily $200/hr and up. Probably more in the $400/hr or so range. Obviously, that's between you and the lawyer as to what is worked out in advance.

And as I'm sure you know, if you are doing all the legwork querying, then somes companies will allow for a lawyer to submit material for you. That's a possible advantage too. (At a cost each time for you, possibly, so again that could be expensive. Ask first if that is something you will need to pay for.) Plus, if something goes "south" having a lawyer send a letter carries some weight to it, so that is a good thing to have in your back-pocket even if they are in essence a preventive measure.
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Benefits Of Getting An Entertainment Lawyer Before Agent or Manager

Around 10 years ago I couldn't get an agent or manager, but I did have an LA entertainment lawyer who would occasionally submit scripts for me when required for a small fee (around $30 a pop from memory).

It meant I could get my scripts to anyone who asked me to submit via a rep (which included a couple of big producers), so that was good. I figured it would be easier to get an agent if any of those submissions led to an offer, but alas I didn't get any.

I should say the guy didn't usually perform this service, but he was the legal rep for a writer friend who took pity on me, so I don't know if this is or was a 'thing.'
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