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#1 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 04:27 PM

So I know that if you sign with the guilds you're signed for life, correct? That's why a lot of productions form a new LLC for each production, sign with the guild and then they are free to go union or non-union on their next film.

What I don't know about, and I assume this is true, is that an LLC can own another LLC... example:

Pineapple Express, LLC. is owned by Apatow Productions, LLC.

But, what if Apatow Productions, LLC is signed with the guilds? Does that mean every production under them is signed? Can you create the LLC on it's own, not sign with the union, get through production and then have the parent LLC "buy it" without getting in trouble with the unions?

I realize that I may be completely wrong on half of this, there really aren't any good books about starting a production company. Or how production companies work with unions. So please feel free to correct me of I'm wrong.
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#2 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 05:06 PM

While we're on the topic if anyone has any good books about starting your own production company, or any Limited Liability Company for that matter, please let me know. I have a book for everything else in this business except for starting your own :P
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 07:24 PM

As I understand it, a company signs agreements with SAG and the unions for the duration of a production. I don't think it is a permanent arrangement but on a job-to-job basis like the way crewpeople work.
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#4 Jim Keller

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 01:09 PM

For your first few productions, the unions will probably sign your production, not your company. For a company to become a signatory (where all your productions are automatically union), you need to have some sort of an established relationship with the unions (either by having worked with them before or by being a member of AMPTP). So go ahead and sign for this production if you need to.

And even if SAG decides you need to be a signatory for all your productions, the worst it can do is "encourage" you to do so on other productions by listing you as an "unfair" (meaning non-signatory) producer and ordering its members not to work for you (which they're not supposed to do if you're non-union anyway).
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#5 Matt Workman

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 05:31 PM

Running a production company is a pretty broad topic. There are so many different types of production companies.

When I was starting out I interned at Curious Picutres who had a sound stage, and 3 floors of animating studios. Then I worked at Freed Pictures, that was run by two people. Each had a much different way of dealing with clients, getting paid, accounting, editing, etc.

If you want to learn how to run/start a production company you should work with one. I got to work at the desk next to the Exec Producer at Curious Pictures and learned quite a bit about the business end of commercials/agencies etc.

Starting an LLC is pretty straight forward depending on the state, running a successful (profitable) production company is very difficult.

Best,

Matt
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#6 Michele Peterson

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 04:31 PM

Companies also form separate LLC or incorporate for each production or each season of a series for the liability protection by separating assests. If they sued for anything on one season (E&O or whatever) the plaintiff can only get awarded money based on that season's company, and their revenue from the rest is safe.

Each LLC or corporation is a separate legal entity, so if the parent company signs one contract, the other company is not inherently bound by that unless they specifically were part of the contract.
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Visual Products

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