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Showbiz Contracts for the Film & TV Industry

The quick and easy way to cover your butt (at least partially!)

By Peter Bohush

Note: This product was first reviewed years ago when ver. 1 came out. There is a new version, slightly renamed, and offered at half the original price. (Imagine a lawyer’s prices going down!) This review should still be applicable to the new version.

People’s Court Case No. 32546
Filmmakers vs. The Rest of the World

This AUTOMATED CONTRACTS FOR THE FILM & TELEVISION INDUSTRY CD-ROM (“Software”) is entered into by and between the undersigned, Mark Litwak (“Noted Entertainment Attorney”), and Oppressed Independent Filmmaker (“Producer”).

1. SCOPE AND DUTIES. Software assists Producers by providing fill-in-the-blank templates for more than 60 contracts for the film and television industry. Includes all of the contracts from attorney Mark Litwak’s book “Contracts for the Film & Television Industry, 2nd Edition.” (Note that Software does not include templates or advice on litigation of any kind, whether in court, in administrative hearings or before government agencies or judicial arbitration such as Judge Judy or the Ministry of Magic.)

2. CONDITIONS. This Software will not take effect, and Attorney Litwak will have no obligation to provide legal services, until Producer purchases and pays for said Software at www.MarkLitwak.com or another retailer. Even then, Attorney includes a significant disclaimer in the Software that basically states these contracts are for your reading enjoyment, aren’t guaranteed in all situations, and don’t call him if you run into problems. Unless of course you’re willing to put him under retainer. Which is what any good attorney would say.

3. DUE PROCESS. Upon installation on either Windows or Macintosh system, Producer shall utilize a web browser application such as Netscape or Internet Explorer (aka “Explorer’s not an application, it’s part of the operating system!” – Bill Gates) to choose a contract. Producer fills in the various fields presented for each contract template, clicks a button and the completed contract appears in the web browser. Said contract can be printed from said browser (said who?) or copied and pasted into a word processing application for editing and/or saving.

4. FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS. Software will generally be useful for producers of film and television productions. Contract templates cover many areas, including: Depiction Release, Option Purchase Format, Documentary Short form, Option and Literary Purchase Agreement, Actor Employment Agreement- Low-Budget, Non-union Day Player, Nudity Rider (not to be confused with the porno biker film of the same name), Writer Employment Agreements, Co-production Agreement; Composer Agreement, TV Music Rights License, Production Services Agreement, Crew Deal Memo, Location Agreement, Home Video Distribution Agreement, Net Profits Definition (aka “the Sasquatch clause”), Attorney-Client Retainer Agreement, Producer Representative Agreement and many others.

5. COSTS AND EXPENSES. Producer shall reimburse Attorney Litwak, author of said Software, for all reasonable expenses incurred by Attorney, including long distance telephone calls, messenger fees, postage, photocopying ($.25 per page), faxes ($.50 cents per page local, $1.00 per page long distance, $2.00 per page international), parking, and mileage at 32 cents per mile. Attorney shall obtain Producer’s consent before incurring any cost in excess of $200. In order to slide under this threshold, said Software is priced at $199.95 at www.marklitwak.com. (Note: ver. 2 priced at $99.95, includes 62 contracts. He offers additional CDs of other contracts for about $20 each.)

6. DISCHARGE AND WITHDRAWAL. Producer may discharge Software at any time. Software may cease to function (aka “crash”) with or without Producer’s consent for good cause. Good cause includes Producer’s refusal to cooperate with Software or to follow Software’s advice on a material matter or any other fact or circumstance that would render Software’s continuing operation unlawful, unethical or uneventful. In arduous product testing, consisting of installing Software and running it a couple of times, an independent panel of experts (aka “the reviewer”) determined that the likelihood of said crash is minimal until such time as said web browsers become modified and refuse to process the embedded javascript contained within the Software.

7. CONCLUSION OF SERVICES. When Software’s services conclude, Producer shall print the contract onto permanent pulp-based media (aka “paper”) via an electronic reproduction mechanism (aka “printer”) for the express purpose of utilizing the contract in a professional film or video production situation, including but not limited to waving it under an old lady’s nose and shouting, “Look, Aunt Mabel, you signed the nudity rider, now get back on the set!”

8. LIEN. Whereupon David Lean, Lean Cuisine, Lean on Me, and/or Charlene Tilton shall not grant Producer a lien on any and all monies due, claims or causes of action that are the subject of Producer’s representation under this Software.

9. CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Whenever an attorney represents two or more people at the same time with regard to the same matter of conflict, the Attorney has twice the interest to charge these people and play one against the other. This is known as “interest of conflict,” and is considered proper, ethical and advisable under the provisions of Section 90210 of the Hollywood Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys: “The Attorney must advise Client(s) of the provisions of Hollywood Evidence Code section 962 relating to the attorney-client privilege, which states, in effect, that the client shall consider it a privilege to be represented by the same attorney who is representing the opposing party, and will gladly pay all attorney’s fees, win or lose, because everybody loses in the end anyway and since California has 20 percent of all U.S. attorneys they need the money.” This is a good reason to use the Automated Contracts for Film & Television software, since it’s far less expensive than even one hour’s billing from a big-city lawyer, and you as a producer can plow the savings right back into your production for more car chases and explosions.

10. DISCLAIMER OF GUARANTEE. Nothing in this review and nothing in the Software’s statements to Producer will be construed as a promise or guarantee about the outcome of Producer’s experience with the Software. Reviewer’s comments about the outcome of Producer’s use of the product are expressions of opinion only. Your mileage may vary. As always, consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program, and consult with a real attorney for more assistance in entertainment law and contracts.

13. SURVIVAL OF CLAUSES. Should any clause of this article be deemed unenforceable by a court of law or the United States Postal Service, then the remaining clauses shall remain in effect, except the sanity clause, because everybody knows there ain’t no sanity clause. So don’t look under a tree for this Software. You must buy it yourself.

14. FORCE MANURE. Ipso facto habeas corpus, e pluribus Unum, vini vidi vinci, ergo sum, annuit coeptis, caveat emptor, void ab initio, carpe diem, et cetera.

15. LOCATION. This article has been entered into on this date, is valid for a period of 30 days and no refunds or returns will be accepted without the original store receipt. In the meantime, this reviewer recommends Automated Contracts for Film & Television as a good starting point for filmmakers to create quick and easy contracts for all phases of their productions.

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Film & video writer-director Peter Bohush is currently represented by the firm Shyster, Legbreaker & Tort in his class-action suit against dangerous Chia pit bulls.

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