Joanne Hoffman is an entertainment attorney with over 20 years of experience in motion picture development, finance, production, distribution and licensing. A former development executive, she has a rare insight into the creative and business dynamics of the entertainment industry, enabling her to provide straightforward legal advise, effective solutions and cost saving results.
The Law Office of Joanne Hoffman will ensure that your legal and business affairs needs are met in an efficient and timely manner, with the highest regard for professionalism and client service.
Acquisition and development
Co-production, joint venture and financing
Chain of Title review and completion
Distribution and licensing
Copyright registration, protection and enforcement
This website includes information about legal issues. The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, may not reflect the most current legal developments and is not for the purpose of legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice in connection with specific facts or circumstances related to your matter.
Acquisition of Rights “Get the Rights!”
Whether a project is based on a book, a screenplay, a historical event or your cousin’s new idea, the producer’s first step is to “get the rights,” which can be simple or complex, depending on a number of factors. Our office evaluates each project to determine the scope of rights at issue, and assists our clients in securing those rights in the most cost-effective way.
Development – “It’s all about the Script”
Once the rights are secured, the producer’s next task is to develop the property, which generally means hiring a writer to pen a screenplay. A producer’s choice of a writer – and that writer’s “take” on an idea - is an important creative and financial decision, because if the script isn’t great, chances are it will never get over the hurdle of attracting talent and financing. Our office has handled hundreds of writer engagements and script acquisitions, so we understand the issues from both the writer’s side and the producer’s.
Financing - “Show me the Money!”
The Financing Agreement for your project will depend on what type of financing arrangement is in place, but in each situation the financier will generally insist on maintaining a certain degree of financial and creative oversight unless the producer has a well-established track record. Our office handles a variety of financing arrangements (domestic and international), such as:
• Distribution Deals or Negative Pickups
• Co-finance/Split Rights arrangements
• Bank financing against pre-sales
• Private equity loans and investments
Chain of Title – “Possession is nine-tenths of the law” – not in this case!
No financier or distributor will put a dime toward your project (okay, maybe a dime, but not much more than that) until you can show that you own or control the rights. This is accomplished through a series of documents collectively referred to as “chain of title.” We perform chain of title review and prepare any additional documentation necessary to satisfy insurers, distributors and financiers.
Our production legal services include negotiating and drafting all agreements customarily required for a production, such as the following:
• All above-the-line cast and crew agreements
• Release agreements (location, personal, product placement)
• Composer agreements and music license agreements
• Post-production agreements
• Chain of Title review and completion
• Copyright Registrations and Rights Recordation
• Union compliance issues, E&O carriage and completion bonds
Distribution and Licensing – “You’re not finished when you wrap!”
Those producers who are lucky enough to have the backing of a studio will already have distribution in place before commencement of principal photography. But a lot of independent producers may not be able to secure distribution until their picture is finished. In other cases, they may decide to venture outside of the traditional system and “self distribute,” in order to cut out the middleman, retain more control and hang on to a bigger slice of the revenue-pie. Our office has extensive experience in negotiating all varieties of distribution and licensing arrangements, such as:
• Producer’s Rep/Sales Agency Agreements
• Distribution Agreements
• Collection Account Management Agreements
• Split-Rights Licenses
• Self-distribution models