Dictionary of Film Finance and Distribution: A Guide for Independent Filmmakers

Dictionary of Film Finance and Distribution: A Guide for Independent Filmmakers

Dictionary of Film Finance and Distribution: A Guide for Independent Filmmakers

Dictionary of Film Finance and Distribution: A Guide for Independent Filmmakers

Excerpt

Like many industries, the U.S. film industry has developed its own unique vocabulary to describe its activities and operations. Many books, articles and agreements include a small glossary to help people understand this lexicon. Several major film dictionaries also are available (see Bibliography). These books do a good job in defining concepts associated with the technical, production or marketing aspects of the film business. However, they typically have very little content about the financing and distribution aspects of filmmaking—i.e., the business side of the movie-making business.

I wrote this dictionary to help fill this void. More specifically, my goal was to help level the playing field a bit when it comes to negotiating financing and distribution of films. The large film studios and theater chains employ attorneys and others who are experts in negotiating film contracts. In contrast, most independent filmmakers and producers have limited knowledge of the law, in part because the film schools and universities that educated them stress the technical, creative or production side of filmmaking, not the business side. One consequence of this disparity is that independent filmmakers and producers are usually at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating the financing and distribution of a film.

The information in this book should prove valuable to a wide range of people involved in the endeavor to independently produce a film, including attorneys, distributors, executive producers, producers, associate producers, studio executives, screen writers, directors, exhibitors, broker/dealers, money finders, accountants, auditors, investors, profit participants, federal and state government officials and film students.

The terms and phrases defined and discussed in this dictionary are those of feature film finance and distribution, including film production, marketing, accounting, insurance, securities, legal structures (e.g., corporate, limited partnership and limited liability company financing vehicles), and general financial arenas. All of the principal forms of feature film finance are covered, including studio/distributors, production companies, lending institutions, co-financing, pre-sales, grants, foreign and passive investor financing involving the sale of a security. Some additional terms and phrases are included, not because they commonly appear in film finance or movie distribution agreements but because they are essential to a well-rounded understanding of the industry and environment in which such film finance and distribution agreements are negotiated (see “Contract . . .

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