The Business: The Legal Process for Independent Filmmakers

The Business: The Legal Process for Independent Filmmakers


In the last few years, the SAG Foundation’s The Business has ramped up our encouragement of SAG-AFTRA audience members to create their own work. Through numerous panels about producing, independent feature screenings, and short film showcases audience members have had the opportunity to learn to make and present their own films. This event will provide information on legal questions every filmmaker should ask when creating a feature film, a short, or other media – including: What is ‘chain of title’ and why is it important? What can I use in my film without permission, and when do I need permission? How can I use ‘free’ volunteers? Who owns the story and the script? Who will own my completed film? This two-hour presentation will be a brief overview on the topic.


Kathy Heller, Professor and Executive Director of the Entertainment Law Program, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Kathy currently teaches a course entitled Drafting and Negotiating Media Industry Transactions, and presents lectures to beginning filmmakers at Dodge College. She also supervises the Entertainment Law Clinic which has provided free production legal work to more than 50 ultra-low budget filmmakers. Prior to teaching, Professor Heller worked in-house for some of the major studios and represented independent producers.

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Cinematography Techniques

Cinematography Basics

Cinematic Film Making Techniques