Entertainment Lawyer Toronto – Production Legal Services

Call us for if you're looking for an entertainment lawyer Toronto based that can assist your production anywhere in Canada. A good entertainment lawyer will ensure that contracts, paperworks and  “key agreements” are properly drafted and executed to ensure your production meets financing, distribution, Canadian content and tax credits requirements, etc.).   

Good legal representation at the outset can save you money and reduce costs. As entertainment lawyer in Toronto, we work with you so that you understand the legal and business implication of various stages of a production. Consequently, this leaves you more time focus on the creatives and your current and future projects – thereby allowing you to work on more projects.

A good production and entertainment lawyer also understands the business, has business savvy and knows who the key players are in the industry to help you navigate the business and legal issues that will arise.

SCOPE OF LEGAL REPRESENTATION (ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER TORONTO)

The following provides a general outline of the type of legal services we offer in drafting and negotiating various agreements during the life cycle of a feature film or television project – from development through to production and delivery.

  • Structuring your production company to ensure it meets all legal requirements to take advantage of tax credits and other financing.
  • Reviewing and drafting co-development and/or provincial co-production agreements
  • Advice relating to funding applications (somewhat unique to Canada)
  • Preparation of private investors and private lender agreements
  • Assistance with securing rights in underlying materials (such as books or existing scripts) including:
    • chain of title review and preparation of required additional documents
    • option and literary purchase/life story agreements
    • publisher releases
    • certificate of authorship/employment
    • WGC Writer Agreement
    • WGC Story Editor Agreement
    • Non-Guild Agreements
  • Review all Broadcaster and Distributor Development Agreements or Institutional Development Agreements and other pre-sale financing agreements
  • Protection of intellectual property including copyright registrations in underlying script and the picture itself
  • Errors and Omissions Application Review (including insurance policy) and Clearance Procedure Review including obtaining intellectual property reports (Copyright search reports, trademark search reports, character search report, title search report and entertainment search reports)
  • Review all Institutional Investment Agreements
  • Negotiating and reviewing all Broadcaster Licence Agreements and Distribution Agreements
  • Assistance with closing of Bank Interim Financing (including gap financing) with various banks and or other institutions, including modifications to support other secured lenders (including rendering of corporate legal opinions), including reviewing the following agreements:
    • Bank Loan Agreement and related documentation including Assignments and Directions
    • Inter-Creditor Agreement
    • Corporate Searches for Bank Closing
    • Opinion Letter re: chain of title
    • Opinion Letter re: chain of title
    • Opinion Letter re: execution of documents
    • Collection Agreement
  • Modification of and/or preparation and drafting above-the-line talent agreements and guild set up, including:
    • Producer Agreement
    • Executive Producer Agreement
    • Director Agreement (DGC or non-guild)
    • Principal Performer Agreements (ACTRA or non-guild)
  • Modification of and/or preparation and drafting of below-the-line deal memo templates and review;
    • Appearance Releases/Day Player Agreement
    • Extras Release
    • Crew Agreements
  • Preparation of deferral agreement and net profit participation templates
  • Assistance with finalizing completion agreement and bond, including cut-throughs in respect of interim financing
  • Reviewing and drafting all other standard production related agreements such as:
    • location agreements
    • sponsorship agency agreement / product placement agreements
    • other third party product clearances
    • stock footage licenses
    • website agreements
  • Review of and preparation of music agreements and assistance with clearing all music rights and obtaining rights from composers, musicians, record companies and music publishers
  • Assistance with the preparation and drafting of trade-mark application for the title of the project

NATURE OF LEGAL ADVICE (ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER TORONTO)

I am a lawyer with both my American (J.D.) and Canadian law degree (LL.B). I am licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada to practice law in Ontario, Canada. I have worked in the music, radio, film and television industries. Prior to private practice, I worked as in house legal counsel for a major broadcaster, CHUM Limited (now owned by BEll Media), for four years – one of Canada’s leading media companies and content providers which owned and operated radio and television stations across the country. While at CHUM, I dealt with independent producers, banks and distribution.

We will use our best efforts to complete the legal work to your satisfaction as set out above and to serve you in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner. While we may discuss business matters with you, we are primarily qualified to give advice regarding the law. We are pleased to discuss business matters with you on the understanding that any advice given to you is without legal obligation on my part. Decisions on business matters are ultimately your responsibility.

We can also assist with maximizing Canadian tax credits, preparation of applications to funding agencies, production accounting, preparation of the cost report and financial statements and other tax related matters – and hope to work with you as your entertainment lawyer Toronto got to firm.

CHARGES FOR LEGAL SERVICES

My hourly rate is $350 CDN per hour and fees/expenses for a particular production depend on the amount of time involved. At times, we may involve another entertainment lawyer Toronto based to assist on your file as well or other lawyers outside of Toronto who may have different hourly rates.

It is our experience that legal fees for a production from pre-production until delivery can range anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 (or even more if extremely complex). the factors that determine how much time is involve din a project include the complexity of the project itself (e.g. multiple partners, multiple jurisdictions and multiple financiers), the budget and our relationship with the client and whether it is an ongoing one. Generally speaking, we find that features with lower budgets financed privately tend to be more straightforward and do not require as much time.

We find that the following estimate/guidelines for determining legal fees for a production to be helpful:

Budget Legal Fees (approx. and subject to complexity of production)

Less than $500,000 approximately $20,000.00 – $40,000.00

Greater than $500,000 approximately $40,000.00 – $60,000.00*

*In the most complex of bigger budget projects, the fees could range from $60,000.00 to $100,000.00. We would try to inform you if the fees would be in this range beforehand.

Disbursements such as courier, government fees etc. would be additional. Most production companies require assistance with structuring the production company to maximize tax credits and other sources of financing, reviewing distribution agreements and broadcaster licenses and distribution agreements, protecting intellectual property rights, drafting talent agreements, and/or other standard production related agreements. A retainer is usually paid up front and applied against billable work that is completed (any unused portions are kept in trust for you and returned).

A more complicated production would require interim financing agreements, funding applications, review of private lender agreements, deferrals, completion guarantee and development funding. Contact me at [email protected] for more information and help you figure out what legal services your production needs.