Filmmakers Legal Guide | Raindance Film Festival


[NEW] Filmmaker Intensives: Filmmakers’ Legal Guide

(1 customer review)


With: Tony Morris
Next Date:
Duration: Four evenings
This course is ZOOM ONLINE or is available on VOD

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At a glance

  • A 4 x 2 hour lecture series on key legal matters for those engaged in creating, financing and distributing films and other audio-visual works
  • Take all 4 classes, or any one or more individually
  • Presented by Tony Morris, media lawyer and the author of ‘The Filmmakers Legal Guide’.

What attendees will learn

The legal rights and the contracts by which they are bolted together is of fundamental importance for all those involved in the process of creating, producing and exploiting film, programmes and other audio-visual works.  The course will enable participants:

  • to identify copyright and other intellectual property rights, their authorship and ownership
  • to approach the job of protecting their legal interests in their work;
  • to understand what comprises a binding contract;
  • to know which contracts are required by filmmakers;
  • to study some key contracts will be considered in detail
  • to consider other aspects of production which involve legal considerations

Course outline

LECTURE 1: The Essentials (Thursday 4th February)

Rights in Films

    • What rights are there in a film?
    • What is a copyright?
    • Who is first owner of copyright?
    • For how long does a copyright last?
    • Acquiring copyright – assignments and licences
    • Exceptions: fair use and others
    • Moral rights
    • Performers’ rights
    • Trade marks


  • Collaboration arrangements for indie filmmakers
  • Evaluating those with whom you contract
  • Negotiating process
  • The fundamental legal basics of a contract
  • What to include in a contract
  • Participation

You can also take this as an individual evening class.

LECTURE 2: Hiring Writers and Directors (Monday 8th February)

Writer’s Agreements

  • What is the source of the project
  • Options + Shopping Agreements
  • Filmmakers’ obligations
  • Payment
  • Filmmakers’ expectations
  • Acquiring/selling a finished screenplay

Directors’ Agreement

  • Producer/Director relationship
  • Director’s commitment
  • Director’s obligations
  • Loan out company
  • Producers’ obligations
  • Director’s entitlements
  • Standard Clauses

You can also take this as an individual evening class.

LECTURE 3: Production Agreements and In Front of the Camera (Thursday 11th February)

Producers and production agreements

  • Species of producer: Exec, Line, Assistant, Associate
  • What do I need to know to be a producer
  • Line producer
  • Production company/Producer agreements
  • Production agreements
  • Production services company
  • Co-productions
  • International co-productions

In front of the camera

  • Performers’ consents
  • Interviews
  • Background folk
  • Locations – public/private
  • Stuff on set
  • Incidental inclusion
  • Buildings in the background

You can also take this as an individual evening class.

LECTURE 4: Music in Film / Sales and Distribution Agreements (Monday 15th February)

Using music in Film

  • The filmmaker’s approach
  • Guiding principles
  • What is music?
  • Composition, Performance, Recording
  • What rights  in music does a filmmaker need
  • Synch Licences
  • Contracting a composer/ music producer: commissioning original soundtrack music
  • Music supervisors

Sales and Distribution Agreements

    • Preliminary considerations
    • Sales agencies
    • Distribution Agreements
    • Payment waterfalls
    • Collection Agents

This course is also available as an individual evening class.

Testimonials – Legal Lockdown Lecture Courses: April-June 2020

Daniel Shehata – April 29, 2020

An experienced, professional lawyer tells you how to avoid nerve wracking legal battles in the film industry.

Uri Mizrahi – April 30, 2020

Tony is a true professional who manages to pass on his vast knowledge in an easy to understand format combined with anecdotes and humour. Very useful course and a must for every filmmaker. Thanks Tony.

Mike McKenzie – April 30, 2020

I have just finished 5 Legal Lockdown Lectures with Tony Morris … The topics were on point and if you’re working in film you need to do these types of courses. Doing this course does not make me a legal expert but I feel as a film maker better equipped to asked the right questions of my producer/team. Also the fact that the group was large we had some great questions coming from other people. Very please I did the course

David Cunningham April 30, 2020

Tony’s lockdown sessions were both insightful and enjoyable. His manner is relaxed and engaging in addition he is always happy to take questions and is generous with his advice. I’m looking forward to the next series

Testimonials – Raindance Producers’ Certificate Course 2018-2020

Nina Kojima – April 27, 2020

Very good lecture and I would strongly recommend everyone in film making to get some of this knowledge as well.  I participated in Tony’s lecture over zoom because of Covid19, and it was exact; he answered my additional questions and after the course I bought his book, ‘The Filmmakers’s Legal Guide’. It is a very useful “bible” to me at this time, I am in preparation to produce and direct my first feature.  Very good! Very useful!

Rhoda Wilson – April 28, 2020

Good refresher course for me. Informative and precise. Highly recommended.

Barbara Vonau – July 24, 2019

So useful, should have done this earlier! I previously had the misconception that if you don’t see yourself as a producer this is a marginal requirement to know about legal issues in the film industry. Very entertaining and digestible as well. Highly recommended!

Miguel Garrido – December 4, 2019

Tony Morris’s expertise on film production legal issues is vast.  Attending this course together with his book ‘The Filmmakers’ Legal Guide’ will save you a lot of trouble along the way.  This course is a must.

Simon Craven (verified owner) – July 25, 2018

Getting your legal issues and contracts straight may sound like the boring side of being a creator, but not when Tony covers it!  He uses decades of front-line legal experience to put the relevant principles into context, and it all comes to life as a subject that is essential to understand if you want to succeed as a creative artist and keep yourself and your co-workers safe.  It’s a highly recommended use of an evening, and a longer all-day version would be an equally good use of time. Well worth picking up Tony’s book, too.

About Tony Morris’ Book:

The best legal guide to working in the film industry
An invaluable resource for any aspiring filmmaker.
Julian Friedmann, Blake Friedmann

Clear, practical, and comprehensive
Tony Morris’ guide is unique. It’s clear, practical, and comprehensive. If only it had existed when I started out in the business! Now my students use it as an essential part of their training. Lucky them!
Chris Auty (Head of Producing MA Programme, National Film and Television School, UK)

The most essential resource a filmmaker can have
Tony Morris is engaging and entertaining.  He’s a fount of great knowledge and information.  In all my years I have never read a book so blindingly clear and easy-to-understand as this one.  The thing that Tony does so brilliantly is to make the complicated simple; simply put, too, as most screenwriters and filmmakers are stunningly naive about the works they create and are even more clueless about how to protect and enshrine their work so it can be monetised.
Elliot Grove, Founder, Raindance Film Festival & British Independent Film Awards

Tony Morris

Getting Your Film's Legals Right

Tony Morris has more than 40 years’ experience as a practising lawyer and is a consultant to leading London media & entertainment specialist law firm, Swan Turton LLP.

Tony’s clients primarily operate in the film, television and music industries – in the UK and also in the USA, Europe and elsewhere.  He is retained by independent producers of a broad range of projects including drama/drama series, comedy, horror/thriller, animation, documentaries, music programming.  He advises on all legal aspects of the development, commissioning, production, co-production, distribution and other exploitation of audio-visual works in all media and across all streaming platforms.

Tony also advises sales agents and distributors and individual writers, directors, composers, musicians and other creatives.  He is regularly consulted by lawyers in other jurisdictions on the English law aspects of their clients’ projects

Tony has lectured on the legal aspects of film since 1997, most recently and currently for Raindance, the National Film & Television School, University of Portsmouth and Sheffield  Hallam University.  Tony has published dozens of articles and commentaries and is the author of  ‘The Filmmakers’ Legal Guide’ now in its second edition.

Tel/WhatsApp/FaceTime  +44 7831 290 998 | Email | Skype live: tony.morris_19 | The Filmmakers‘ Legal Guide on Facebook | Linked In | Swan Turton LLP 

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1 review for


[NEW] Filmmaker Intensives: Filmmakers’ Legal Guide

  1. Mays (verified owner)

    It was amazing!

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