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Want to win an Academy Award? Start your filmmaking project on solid footing

We here at The Fine Print Blog were up late last night watching the Oscars awards show. Were you? It’s certainly exciting to see talented filmmakers recognized for their spectacular achievements.

Before I became an attorney, I studied film and worked in the film industry. As a film student, winning an Academy Award was a dream shared by all my peers.

Today, it has never been easier to turn your dream of making a movie into a reality. If you’ve got a story to tell, all the equipment and tools you need to tell it are on your phone or computer.

But just having filmmaking tools at your fingertips and a cadre of friends and family who are willing to invest in your project, act onscreen, and crew your shoot isn’t all you need. You absolutely, without a doubt, need to take the necessary business and legal steps at the outset of your project to make sure that your work is protected and commercially viable.

Before you borrow a single cent from any friends or family, before you hire a crew or cast actors, even before you’ve finished the first draft of the script, an entertainment attorney can help you form the necessary business entities to hold investments, own your intellectual property, and hire everyone who is going to work on your film.

I know firsthand that the legal details of making a movie are the often the last things on your mind. But hiring a lawyer at the inception of your project, and making room for legal fees in your production budget, is an investment in the future success of your film. Lawyers can save you from making mistakes that you might not be able to see and that may very well be costly down the road. Don’t let a legal issue impact your chances of successfully sharing your story with the world and maybe even winning an Academy Award.

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