IFH 158: How to Avoid Legal Pitfalls in Indie Film with Walter B. Batt Esq.

May 25, 2017

If paperwork, contacts and E&O Insurance was as sexy as a new 8K camera then filmmaker would never get into legal trouble when making their film. Alas it is not sexy and filmmakers, myself included, hate even thinking about that side of the business. One thing I've learned over the years is if you don't understand the business side of "show business" you will get burned. Filmmakers ask me legal advice all the time, why I have no idea, and I always say you should speak to an attorney and cover your butt. I've been wanting to have an attorney on the show for a while now to answer not only your legal questions but mine as well. Today's guest is entertainment attorney Walter B. Batt Attorney at Law.

Here's a bit about today's guest: Walter Batt is an Entertainment Attorney located in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Batt is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in International Business and a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami-Coral Gables. Licensed in Florida and California, his boutique practice focuses, negotiation and contract development in addition to production support for films. With experience in myriad areas of entertainment and general business, Mr. Batt’s client base is diverse consisting of actors, production companies, public relations and marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, and distilled spirits manufacturing and distribution. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Batt occasionally represents selective clients in litigation matters, when required. As an avid exercise guy, Mr. Batt enjoys the gym in addition to films, friends and most of all his best clients--his dogs.

Here are some of the filmmaking legal pitfalls we discuss:

Can you shoot without a permit on the street? Can you use a corporate logo in your film without permission? What is the truth behind using logos in an indie film? Can you shoot in front of a business with a logo and use it without permission? Do you need to form a company to make a film? Is it necessary to obtain a release from everyone whose face appears on camera? How do I check whether my movie name is available? How do I prepare a prospectus and/or investor memorandum for my film? What type of insurance should a filmmaker consider? What's the deal with referring to copyright/trademarked material in a script? How do I copyright my script? What are some good filmmaking legal resources are out there? When should you begin to work with an entertainment attorney?

If you are making a feature, short, web series, streaming show or any content you plan to sell then this podcast is mandatory. Enjoy my conversation with entertainment attorney Walter B. Batt.

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