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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Spiller

Should I use an Agent or an Entertainment Lawyer when selling my Film or Television Project?

Updated: Dec 31


A photo of the red carpet at Cannes
The red carpet at Cannes - the worlds largest film market

There are many ways to market and sell your film or television project. You can do it yourself, hire an agent, or use an entertainment lawyer. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Here is some information to help you decide which is right for you.


When it comes to marketing your film or television project, you have the option of using an agent, an entertainment lawyer, or both.


When it comes to marketing your film or television project, you have the option of using an agent, an entertainment lawyer, or both. Agents and entertainment lawyers can each provide knowledge, experience, and connections to help take your project to the next level. Agents know the specific film and television industry and are more attuned to current trends than most entertainment lawyers. They also have extensive experience in negotiating contracts and closing deals. However, entertainment lawyers usually have good connections within the industry and can connect you with those people who can help promote your work. Moreover, entertainment lawyers know how to protect their client's interests when going through any legal process related to the project. This can be invaluable if there are disagreements between partners. Engaging an agent or entertainment lawyer provides energy and reputation, resources often giving projects an edge over others in a competitive marketplace. Thus, agents and entertainment lawyers are vital to ensure success with your film or television project.


There are different business models and services for film and tv markets, so it's important to know what you're getting with each one.


If both offer industry connections and contract negotiation, what is the difference between an entertainment lawyer and an agent? It's primarily this:


Agents typically work on commission, which means they only get paid if they sell your project. Entertainment lawyers, on the other hand, usually work on an hourly basis.


The services agents and entertainment lawyers provide differ when marketing your film or television project. Agents typically work on commission, which means they only get paid if they successfully sell your project. You must factor in some risk when working with an agent. Entertainment lawyers work differently; they typically operate hourly, although some may offer a mixture between an hourly rate and a commission for their services. It is essential to consider how agents and entertainment lawyers can help your project before deciding which one to hire so that you can maximize your chances for success.


While both agents and entertainment lawyers are likely to have connections in the industry that can help you sell your project, lawyers may be more familiar with the legal aspects of selling a film or tv project.


When marketing your film or television project, agents may have the leverage of connections within the industry – crucial for getting your project seen and sold – that entertainment lawyers might not possess. However, many entertainment lawyers have a significant network of relationships they can offer to a client. Moreover, they are trained in understanding and optimizing different business models and services associated with movie and television markets– how revenue from a film or tv project can be negotiated to ensure you get what you deserve as a creator. Both agents and entertainment lawyers offer distinct advantages when selling projects. Still, their roles will differ significantly depending on what angle you want to take for maximum success.


Ultimately, deciding whether you want to use an agent, a lawyer, or both when marketing your film or television project is up to you.


Deciding whether you want to use an agent or an entertainment lawyer when marketing your film or television project is unique for everyone. Agents can be invaluable when marketing projects, as they often have a wide range of contacts in the entertainment industry and know what kinds of stories will excite buyers. However, Agents rarely take clients who do not have a history of success, so it may be more beneficial to look towards using an entertainment lawyer if you are moving forward with less experience. Entertainment lawyers typically can also provide advice and services related to legal matters such as contract review and analysis, negotiations, tax planning, business structure, and advising clients on their rights related to copyright and trademark law. No matter which route you choose, ensure you understand the different services and models provided by each type of professional to decide what is right for you.


Spiller Law is an entertainment law practice that represents film and television projects at Cannes, Berlin (EFM), MIPCOM, and AFM. Feel free to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help find distribution for or sell your project.



 

Spiller Law is a San Francisco business and entertainment law firm. We serve clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and California. Feel free to arrange a free consultation using the Schedule Appointment link on our website. For other questions, feel free to call our offices at 415-991-7298.

 

The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers are advised to consult with their legal counsel for specific advice.

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