I’m not a big astrology follower, but for years something kept showing up in my horoscope that made no sense to me at the time – there would be a focus on “media, publishing, and the law” in my life. It literally showed up on a regular basis every year. At one point in my life (a long time before the aforementioned astrological forecast), I was planning on going to law school. Reflecting back now, I think I was probably more enamored with the idea of being a lawyer, than the actual day to day practice. It’s also taken me the better part of my adult life thus far to realize that I’m not really suited for classroom learning. So how is it that I’ve found myself preparing to take Osgoode Hall Law School’s Certificate in Entertainment Law next week in Toronto?
My current responsibilities now require me to immerse myself in many of the legal principles and requirements of working in film and other entertainment industries. As the course outline details – “The world of arts and entertainment – whether it be music, film, television, live theatre, games or books — can be very creative and exciting. It is also a very challenging and complex environment, particularly for those working behind-the-scenes. If you are working in the industry, as a producer, business affairs professional, artist or lawyer, it is essential that you have a solid understanding of the legal aspects of your work.”
As a business owner, I’ve been drafting contracts and agreements for a number of years, but now as a producer of our own creative content, I’m not only drafting contracts, but I’m reviewing contracts from others – license agreements with distributors, broadcast agreements with broadcasters, agreements with musicians, and documents focused on intellectual property and copyright. It’s enough to make one’s eyes cross and the reason that legal expenses can make up so much of a production’s budget. Although we have a fabulous law firm that writes some of the contracts and vets others, we believe it’s prudent to have a better handle on the legal aspects of the work we’re creating. This allows us to keep our legal costs down by doing some of the groundwork ourselves, and hopefully puts us in a better position to negotiate and be fully informed about how to best exploit our rights as the creative content producers (and to know if we’re getting screwed).
Well, I guess reality has caught up with the astrological predictions. I’ll let you know how the course goes.