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Question about Production Stills

Include film title?

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#1 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 07:08 AM

I am about to submit a short film of mine to a film festival. The festival organisers request that two production stills should be sent along with two images extracted from the film. Behind the scenes photographs are not required. I'll probably come up with something rather abstract for the production stills to promote the film. Should I include the title of the film in the production stills?


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 09:29 PM

Yea, bottom center is usually where the title goes. Usually the production company and the date is also there under the title.
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#3 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 11:59 PM

Ah thankyou. As I'm a small time independant film maker, there was no production company involved with the making of this short film. It was soley an individual effort. I think it would have been cool to make up a good sounding name for a production company and include that in both the production stills and the film credits as well. Though I guess I should do the right thing and just use my name instead - eg 'a film by Patrick Cooper'. On the application form for the film festival, there is a space for 'production company' - I'll just have to put 'nil' or 'not applicable' there.

 

Out of curiosity, I guess anybody who makes films cannot claim to represent or be part of a production company if all they did was use a fancy name in the film credits like Apple Seed Pictures etc. I guess the company name would have to be registered?


Edited by Patrick Cooper, 17 December 2015 - 12:00 AM.

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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:01 AM

You can make a name up, but it's probably wise to register it for legal reasons.
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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:12 AM

I guess the company name would have to be registered?

 

Generally, yes.  It would get registered with the division of corporations for your given state.  It's not a lot of money to set up a corporate entity, but keep in mind that you are then bound by the same state & local laws as every other employer.  Including filing corporate taxes.  You can also set up a limited liability corporation (LLC) which is what I see a lot of small films under.

 

You should look into everything and consult an attorney if you plan on doing it.  If I remember correctly, my production company cost around $750 to set up back in 2007.


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#6 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:13 AM

That's certainly an option but time is short. The film has to be submitted by 20 December so yea not enough time to register a company name. I guess 'a film by Patrick Cooper' doesn't sound too bad.


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#7 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:19 AM

That's certainly an option but time is short. The film has to be submitted by 20 December so yea not enough time to register a company name. I guess 'a film by Patrick Cooper' doesn't sound too bad.

 

There's nothing forcing you to set up a production company.  But if you start more ambitious projects in the near future, it helps to have everything under a company name rather than your own for legal purposes.


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#8 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:28 AM

 

There's nothing forcing you to set up a production company.  But if you start more ambitious projects in the near future, it helps to have everything under a company name rather than your own for legal purposes.

 

Oh yes certainly. But I have to admit - one of the other benefits of having a production company would be having the privilege of choosing a catchy sounding name that could be used to identify your works. Established company names like Tristar Pictures certainly sound prestigious. By the way, Ive always liked their Pegasus logo too.


Edited by Patrick Cooper, 17 December 2015 - 12:33 AM.

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#9 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:24 PM

 

Oh yes certainly. But I have to admit - one of the other benefits of having a production company would be having the privilege of choosing a catchy sounding name that could be used to identify your works. Established company names like Tristar Pictures certainly sound prestigious. By the way, Ive always liked their Pegasus logo too.

 

Obviously you'd have to make sure it wasn't already in use, but that's where the attorney comes in.  My company name - "Richmond Productions" - was not in use anywhere in New York State at the time so I was able to use it.  But when you start listing your company on sites like IMDb, it can get a little confusing because plenty of other companies from other states have the same name.  I recently had to correct some of my credits on there because of this.  It's not a big deal, just annoying.  So you sometimes have to distinguish your company name on sites like that a bit more than you normally would.  But I digress...

 

When you pick a company name, you should pick something that is meaningful to you.


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#10 John E Clark

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:43 PM

That's certainly an option but time is short. The film has to be submitted by 20 December so yea not enough time to register a company name. I guess 'a film by Patrick Cooper' doesn't sound too bad.

 

You need not register as a 'company', like ABC Short Film Production Co.... you can just simply place your name such as, in my case, John Clark Productions...

 

I have on occasion gone through the fictitious name process which is the minimal required in California to set up a 'business' name, but since I make no money, there is no reason to go through all the hoopla...

 

In the US in general and in California in particular, if you wanted to open a bank account in that ".... Productions" name, then you would go through the legal hoops of the fictitious name process, get a local business license. This would also be required if you wanted to buy 'business' insurance in many cases, since many permit offices for city/county/state/federal require an insurance rider.

 

Or you can add a rider to your existing personal home or apartment insurance if you don't want to go through the process of setting up a business.

 

Even for US Taxes one need not have a local business license or 'registration', the Schedule C form just requires you name the enterprise in some way that identifies the income entity and describes the income(or loss...) generating entity in some way, which in my case was John Clark Software... or the like... It is of course much better if you have set up a business with fictitious name filing, business license to 'prove' that you are a business, but in the case of an audit the tax investigation will center on how much came in, now much went out, what was remaining as taxable income... and if you 'lose' over more than a few years the business can be declared a 'hobby' and only expense up to the income of that particular business can be used against income... this happens to be a problem for film production companies if they make too many stinkers...

 

 

If you create a corporation... well. seek tax advise, but basically you would file a separate tax return for such an entity.

 

As a 'business' you may be subject to local taxes(*) not related to say state income tax, such as 'inventory tax', or 'value of the business' tax... again consult professional tax advice for your particular situation.

 

*This has happened to a number of script writers in the LA area where they have had income based on their writing, and since they were writing as 'independent contractors' the LA county views that enterprise as a 'business' and subject to fees and taxes...

 

Here's a recent article on that topic... another reason why not to 'move to LA'...

 

http://www.laweekly....-30-000-6040715


Edited by John E Clark, 17 December 2015 - 12:48 PM.

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#11 John E Clark

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:59 PM

 

Oh yes certainly. But I have to admit - one of the other benefits of having a production company would be having the privilege of choosing a catchy sounding name that could be used to identify your works. Established company names like Tristar Pictures certainly sound prestigious. By the way, Ive always liked their Pegasus logo too.

 

If you are going to the trouble of setting up a corporation, again professional legal advice is strongly advised. Depending on the state, depending on the name and category of company activity, some set of names may be locked out for your use.

 

I believe 'Tristar', as in the famous Hollywood studio/production company, is not only a corporation name but also a trademark. As a trademark, you could not use it anywhere in the US for a business engaging in 'film production'... You could perhaps use it for a name of a corporation what made screws for supplying the home building industry... or the like... depending... lawyering required...

 

As mentioned there may even be similar named companies and corporations for your own given name with 'Productions' tacked no... things vary state to state, but in most states a corporation name is protected in that state where the corporation was incorporated. For non-corporate businesses, there may or may not be rules about similar named businesses that are just registering with state or local entities... like "Joe's Bar" may be found in a variety of locations in a state, and none are owned by the same Joe... if there ever was a Joe...

 

I'd say for the purpose of a Film Fest filing just use your own name. And work on creating the business over the next few months.


Edited by John E Clark, 17 December 2015 - 12:59 PM.

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