Why do we need to answer ALL the questions on an E&O application?

Posted by Steve Fraser on Jan 27, 2020 10:48:53 AM

Why do we need to answer ALL the questions on an E&O application?

what are lawyers looking for in the responses?

E&O INSURANCE FILM | ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE FILM:


Steve Fraser (Lawyer)
: ALL the questions on an E&O application should be answered because they all reflect something that the insurer needs to know, but most of all, it’s an administrative thing. If you don’t answer all the questions, and you’re in a hurry, it’ll slow down the process.

E&O can be very easy to obtain if you answer all the questions as completely as you can and that also means you can add to the application. Just because the application doesn’t include a line that says “this will be obtained…”, you can actually write that in. That’s probably one of the biggest things that producers should pick up: do a FULL application but also – if you’re concerned about how an answer looks – add information. You can either write it onto the application itself, or you can do it as an addition to the application.

When some of the projects are complicated like, for example, treaty co-productions or just co-productions in general and there’s more than one person who is Named Insured, put it on a separate sheet. It is so much easier to have it all in one place than to have to go chasing after it. It’s better for you and for everybody involved in the E&O insurance process.

Related:

About: Stephen "Steve" Fraser is an international entertainment business and legal affairs lawyer in the film and television industries with co-production, financing and distribution experience.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, E&O Insurance, Film Production Companies

Script Clearance and Title Search Report Cost

Posted by Anne Marie Murphy on Jan 20, 2020 8:31:01 AM

SCRIPT CLEARANCE and TITLE SEARCH REPORT COST

SCRIPT CLEARANCE REPORT COST

SCRIPT CLEARANCE REPORT COST

Script clearance reports give you a detailed list of all the story elements in your project that might cause problems in any of these categories:

A "clearance" or "script clearance" company will read the script and make a list ("clearance report") of all the places in it where there could be legal trouble. Then, they'll research all those items and present you with notes on what looks safe ("clear") to use and what might get you into some problems ("not clear"). Look for a company that will suggest solutions as well, among them providing contact information for rights holders and presenting you with "clear" alternatives for scripted items that are problematic.

As in most industries, the faster you need the work done, the more it will cost. Most script clearance companies have a range of turnaround options for a feature film report, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1000 to $3000 for the first full report on a feature film script, depending on the turnaround you need and the company you hire.

Additional billing often follows when more requests come from both the art department (names to use on signage and props) and the story department (revised drafts and/or one-off name changes to be checked).  Script clearance companies bill in different ways for that follow-up work (by the hour, by the item), so consult with them regarding procedures to find the best way forward for the way you work. 

A theatrical feature that is heavy on art department requests + has many rewrites that need review can run up a bill of well over $5000 for clearance work.

Clearance reports for a TV series are not typically prepared in the same short time period as they are for a feature film report (during a weeks-long shoot).  A television series can have a production schedule that stretches for many months and the script clearance reports will be generated when each episode goes into production. Here too, there can be many sets of revisions and many art department requests.  The art department clearances for episodic series work can be much heavier in the first season of the show when set dressing is going up for the first time.

The cost for these series reports is usually billed per episode (rather than for a full season) and vary depending on the length of the script. You might pay $100 for a report on a short 10-page web series or kids' animated show, but on the other end of the spectrum, a one-hour episode script might run you closer to $1000. Another added cost for series work is if you need your reports done faster than the usual promised turnaround times; that can add 50% to the price. This sometimes comes into play with web series projects that might not be aware of the E&O requirement for script clearance reports until just before they start shooting.

There are several script clearance companies based in Canada and plenty in the U.S., where the reports were first developed in the early 1950s. You'll have plenty of options for finding a company that offers what you need. Most clearance companies have a rate sheet they'll share upon request while others  will only quote on a per-project basis. You'll obviously want a company that has a good track record over a long period of time and probably one that has its own E&O coverage.

Another thing to ask for if your project will be on a streaming service is, "have you worked already for [Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu, etc.]?" Some of those companies have a long-ish vetting process for service providers with whom they are unfamiliar. That's something to keep in mind.

Sometimes a project doesn't need an entire script "cleared" but instead has just a few names that need to be researched. Depending on the company, this type of request is billed at either an hourly or a per-item rate. This approach can work well for a cash-strapped project that has experienced production personnel who can read the script and send the notes needed for the clearance house to do their work. Assuming that the art department personnel are well aware of the intellectual property issues involved in dressing a set, sending only a short list of character names out for clearances can be an excellent low-budget solution.

TITLE SEARCH REPORT COST

Pricing on title search reports is a lot less complicated than for script clearances. Simply stated: for any given title, you'll need to select the turnaround time and the geographic scope of the report. Again, the faster you need the work done, the more it will cost. Unlike a script clearance report – in which the scope of the search is determined by the geographic setting of the story – the production's distribution plan dictates the scope of the title search.

If production counsel feels strongly that the broadest possible scope is needed, then that will add to the cost of the report. The broader the scope, the more sources are consulted and the cost increases with additional research time involved. 

A title search report of limited scope at a longer turnaround time might come in at less than $300. However, once you add in a speedier delivery and your lawyer or broker's insistence on a more robust geographic scope, a title search report can cost upward of $3000.

There are even more options for providers of title search reports in North America than there are for script clearance reports, so shopping around would be wise. When in doubt, the wisest route is often picking the company that comes best recommended to you. As with any professional service provider, a referral from a company that has a long and solid track record with another company is invaluable.

Another difference between title search reports and script clearance reports is the opinion factor. Good clearance reports offer plenty of opinions about what is and is not "clear." Title searches, on the other hand, have "just the facts, ma'am." The research company is not authorized to provide you an opinion on whether the title is clear for use. That has to come from a lawyer.

SCRIPT CLEARANCE RESEARCHER / TITLE SEARCH COMPANY

Eastern Script specializes in providing research services for the entertainment industry, including script clearances and title searches. Visit their website here: https://www.easternscript.com/

Guest post by Anne Marie Murphy
amm@easternscript.com
(844) 842-3999

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Topics: Entertainment Insurance, E&O Insurance, Title reports, Script Clearance reports

Legal Expense Insurance

Posted by Grant Patten on Jan 13, 2020 8:26:34 AM

Legal Expense Insurance

Legal Expense Insurance

With legal expense insurance, your legal risks are well managed.

We know you’re busy. You’re running your business and working hard at it. But whenever you have an unforeseen legal issue, we know it means more time and work for you – and it takes you away from doing what you love.

Front Row Insurance and DAS have partnered to save you time and effort by offering the option of legal expense insurance (LEI) as a part of your Front Row policy.

How would LEI help you and your business?

A legal expense insurance policy:

  • provides you with financial coverage for a variety of potential legal events,
  • empowers you to pursue or defend your legal rights, and
  • provides you with unlimited access to a general Legal Helpline

Legal expense insurance saves you time and money by helping to:

Defend or pursue your legal rights, such as:

  • Employment Disputes: If you face legal action from an employee or ex-employee
  • Legal Defence: If your business faces criminal charges, a police investigation or an occupational health and safety investigation
  • Contract Disputes and Debt Recovery: If you face a dispute with a client or supplier in regards to a breach of contract or failure to pay an amount owed
  • Statutory Licence Protection: If your business faces a suspension, alteration or cancellation of its business licence
  • Property Protection: If there is trespass or legal nuisance to your business property
  • Bodily Injury: If you or one of your employees is injured on the job as a result of someone else’s negligence
  • Tax Protection: If you face an audit or wish to appeal a decision from the CRA

With policy limits of $100,000 per claim and $500,000 in total per policy year, DAS provides you the financial security to continue your legal action over time and against well-funded foes.

You also receive unlimited access to the DAS Legal Helpline

You will not need to search the internet or pay out of pocket for answers and assistance to your legal questions or issues. Legal information is provided, even if the issue or question is not covered by the policy. We make it easy for you as our Helpline lawyers are available:

  • 8:00 a.m. to midnight local time
  • 24/7 in an emergency situation

To learn more, please contact us.

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About: DAS Legal Protection Inc. is the Canadian market leader and managing general agent specializing exclusively in Legal Expense Insurance. Working with brokers and corporate partners, we create access to justice solutions so Canadian individuals, families, and business owners can exercise their rights, preserve their budget, and be confident when facing an unforeseen legal event. DAS Legal Expense Insurance policies are underwritten by Temple Insurance Company, and both companies are members of Munich Re (Group). To learn more, please visit www.das.ca.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Workers Compensation, workplace insurance, legal expense

Why are certain questions asked on an E&O application?

Posted by Steve Fraser on Jan 8, 2020 10:50:01 AM

Why are certain questions asked on an E&O application?

what are lawyers looking for in the responses?

E&O INSURANCE FILM | ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE FILM:


Steve Fraser (Lawyer)
: Certain questions are asked on an E&O insurance application to help the insurance company or their counsel to gauge whether the production may be riskier than others. On the one hand, it’s a risk assessment but on the other hand, it’s also a way to check to make sure that the way that they’ve answered the question reflects that they’re aware of what the clearance procedures are and that they will follow them.

Sometimes, the entertainment lawyer who is clearance counsel for the production also signs the application or there’s a place where that lawyer has to acknowledge that they’ve seen the application. But, no surprise, it’s just a way to figure out who might think that they don’t need to comply with some of the clearance questions.

So, one of the E&O application questions is: “Is there a possibility that a living person could claim (without regard to the merits of such claim) to be identifiable in the Insured Production, whether or not that person’s name or likeness is used in it or whether or not the Insured purports it to be fictional? If “yes” has a release been obtained from such person?”

Well, if there is a possibility of something like that, we want to know about it upfront but also, that question tends to segue into: “are you getting releases? Is production doing what it needs to do to make sure that the folks who are appearing on screen (usually documentary, but also for dramas where you need performer agreements) are following what production says they will follow?"

Related:

About: Stephen "Steve" Fraser is an international entertainment business and legal affairs lawyer in the film and television industries with co-production, financing and distribution experience.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, E&O Insurance, Title reports, Film Production Companies

How can a film producer protect themselves from an E&O claim?

Posted by Steve Fraser on Jan 6, 2020 8:53:11 AM

How can a film producer protect themselves from an E&O claim?

FOLLOW THE E&O CLEARANCE PROCEDURES

E&O INSURANCE FILM | ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE FILM:


Steve Fraser (Lawyer)
: A film producer can protect himself, herself or itself (because most producers incorporate) by following the clearance procedures that are included with your E&O application and/or E&O policy.

So, get yourself an entertainment lawyer, take a look at those clearance procedures, make sure you’re following them and you will avoid claims forever. The other thing you should do is get friendly with your insurance broker – they’re very helpful.

Related:

About: Stephen "Steve" Fraser is an international entertainment business and legal affairs lawyer in the film and television industries with co-production, financing and distribution experience.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, E&O Insurance, Title reports

Film Production Insurance for Renovation Shows

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 9, 2019 3:09:19 PM

reno shows film insurance

film production insurance for renovation shows

Arranging film production insurance for your renovation (reno) show should be done with the help of a specialized entertainment insurance broker.

The following information is to be used as a general reference only and does not alter the insurance policy wording for your specific production. In all cases, actual coverage is subject to the policy language, terms and conditions of the long form policies to be issued by the insurance company. Additionally, the following is not intended to be legal advice but rather are general recommendations intended to reduce your exposure to an insurance claim. When entering contracts with anyone you should consult a lawyer to draft appropriate language for your specific circumstances and to ensure that you are adequately protected.

With renovation shows we suggest that you consider the following guidelines:
  • Hire a general contractor to oversee major changes and the general contractor should be responsible for hiring subcontractors.
  • Insist that the general contractor and subcontractors provide you with proof of liability insurance for their operations in the form of an insurance certificate issued by their insurance  company.
  • The insurance certificate should evidence coverage for Products and Completed Operations, should contain a cross liability and sever ability of interest clause and name the production company as an additional insured.
  • Homeowners should review and sign a release containing a hold harmless and waiver of subrogation clause against the production company.
  • Where possible homeowners should be included in the renovation decision making process for each change made.
  • Your contract with the general contractor should contain a hold harmless provision protecting prod co from any claims arising from work completed by the contractor.  You should also consider an indemnity provision requiring the contractor to pay you back for any expenses, claims or suits brought against you resulting from their negligence or faulty workmanship.
  • Have you made arrangements with the contractors to come back and fix problems with the homes?  Does the contractor provide a warranty on work performed?  The contract should be between the homeowner and general contractor (not the production company).

Ultimately the homeowner could sue the production company and the contractor if they feel work was poorly done but adopting some of the guidelines above, having contractors who are properly insured and including the homeowner in decisions being made would greatly reduce your exposure to loss.

Decorating shows that involve changing room colours and adding new furniture etc. are less risky than more major renovations but when you are working on any third party properties there is a greater risk of something going wrong. Use a specialized film insurance broker to ensure you are properly covered.

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Entertainment Insurance Broker

What’s a “MacGuffin?”

Posted by Casey Budden on Dec 10, 2018 12:48:17 PM

Lady eating popcorn, watching movie.

Sometimes derisively referred to as a “plot coupon,” a MacGuffin is a device in scriptwriting, a “thing” which the protagonist pursues, often loosely defined, which serves as their primary motivation and goal in the film. Alfred Hitchcock is often credited with coining the term; in a 1939 lecture at Columbia University in New York, he attempted to define it:

“It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men on a train. One man says, 'What's that package up there in the baggage rack?' And the other answers, 'Oh, that's a MacGuffin'. The first one asks, 'What's a MacGuffin?' 'Well,' the other man says, 'it's an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.' The first man says, 'But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,' and the other one answers, 'Well then, that's no MacGuffin!' So you see that a MacGuffin is actually nothing at all.”

In the film Ronin, for example, the MacGuffin was a metal briefcase whose contents were never revealed, but which all the characters in the film were desperate to obtain. The audience does not know, and does not need to know, what is inside the briefcase; the MacGuffin is charged with such importance that its significance does not need to be explained to serve its narrative purpose.

Examples of famous “Macguffins”:

  • The Maltese Falcon (The Maltese Falcon, 1941)
  • The Holy Grail (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975)
  • “ROSEBUD” (Citizen Kane, 1941)
  • Marcellus Wallace’s case (Pulp Fiction, 1994)
  • The One Ring (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, 2001-2003)
  • The Necronomicon (Army of Darkness, 1992)
  • The Ark (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)

Topics: Entertainment Insurance

Filmmakers and Producers Insurance

Posted by David McLeish on Nov 5, 2018 12:18:55 PM

film producers insurance

film producers insurance

Let’s Make Art Together.

You’re a prolific filmmaker with a full production slate. Like most creative people, you‘d rather focus on your work. The problem is that since each project requires its own insurance policy, it often feels like the more you work, the more time you have to spend dealing with insurance!

Worse, while you’ve always received good service from your broker, they don’t quite “get” what it is you do. It’s a hassle getting certificates for your vendors and cast and crew. Too many irrelevant questions are asked by the underwriter. When something unusual comes up like a drone shoot or stunts, there are delays. There has to be a better way.

Luckily, there is. Unlike most insurance professionals in Canada, we specialize in the business of entertainment insurance. It’s not just what we do, and what we’re good at; it’s what we’re passionate about.

Front Row Insurance Brokers is the largest entertainment insurance brokerage by premium volume in Canada, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Nashville, Los Angeles, and New York.

In 2017, we insured over $4 billion of productions worldwide and wrote more than $45 million in film premium. The 38 dedicated film insurance staff in our Canadian offices are experts in TV and film production, so you know you’ll be dealing with someone who understands what you do. Even better, we have staff licensed in every province.

Filming in sunny Saskatchewan? No problem, we’ll get you covered. Perhaps most importantly, as part of our commitment to exceptional service, we will work hard to ensure that the money owed to you is paid if you ever need to make a claim under your policy.

Moreover, our excellent working relationship with the five major companies writing entertainment insurance in Canada ensures that you get more than just the best rates. It also affords us the opportunity to design studio programs which offer coverage tailored to the unique needs of your production slate. A studio program is a custom policy designed by the broker working in concert with the insurer. The advantage to you is that it’s designed around your specific production slate. You won’t have to pay for coverage you don’t require, and your policy will be customized for you by experts in entertainment insurance who understand your needs. Some examples of the benefits available under a studio program include:

  • No cast medicals required for film budgets under $15,000,000, rendering it unnecessary to schedule and attend tedious doctor exams, and saving you the $130 exam fee.
  • Automatic coverage for test shoots, promo shoots, pilots for budgets up to $50,000: no need to call us.
  • Quotations provided immediately for any new project. Rates locked for 12 months. Coverage can be activated and certificates issued on the same day for office rentals, payroll, etc.
  • Insurance wherever you film

Let us leverage your production slate, combined with our premium volume, for your advantage. We pride ourselves on being the simplest line item on your budget—fast, without the drama.

We can also offer you a Low-Claims Bonus: ask us how.

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, E&O Insurance, Cast Insurance, helicopter film insurance, Storm damage film production insurance, Flood insurance for Film, Chubb Film insurance, Film permission, Film Production Vehicle Insurance, automobile insurance for films, production liability insurance for films, Public Liability Insurance for Film, Extra Expense Coverage, Film equipment rental insurance, Workers Compensation, insurance for film set, film school insurance

Filmmakers and Insurance: What Moves You

Posted by Casey Budden on Nov 5, 2018 11:59:13 AM

Movie fans in theatre.


What Moves You?

More than 100 years after their invention, “moving pictures” still seem to command our collective imagination. We often have very personal emotional attachments to movies: we say that certain films inspired us, moved us, shaped our childhood, shocked us, or opened our minds.

What is unique about the medium of film? What explains this continuing fascination despite all the other technological delectations our age offers up? Is it because film promises us a total escape from the everyday? Provides deep insight into the human condition? Or is it simply good entertainment?

Probably, it’s all of the above. 2017’s total box office results were the highest in history, with over $39 billion in takings worldwide despite the fact that public attention is more divided than ever, with video games, streaming services, and downloads all vying for a slice of their entertainment dollars. Clearly, movies aren’t going anywhere.

What is changing is the way content is delivered. Creators are both rapidly influencing, and being influenced by, new technologies. This is not anything new: the history of film is one of periodic disruption followed by renewal in response to the changing tastes of audiences.

Early “talkies,” which began to appear in the mid-to-late 1920s, were often compared uncharitably to earlier, silent films. Critics often felt that the spoken dialogue made for tawdry, artistically inferior pictures. Audiences loved them, however, and by the early 1930s, the majority of films were being produced with sound.

Starting around the same time and lasting until the late 1940s was the Hollywood “studio system”—a system of production characterized by complete vertical integration of the production process. The studio system totally dominated filmmaking during this period. Studios “owned” talent, cast was repertory, and filming was done mainly on elaborate sets or backlots rather than on location. Props and sets were also frequently recycled through various productions. Many venues were owned by studios, who could thus control when, where, and for how long a film screened. Theatres that were not studio-owned were subject to a practice called “block booking” in which they were required to take on and screen entire slates of lesser-quality films from a studio in order to obtain screening rights to a single anticipated hit. (This is where the term “B movie” comes from).

As might be expected, this arrangement provided steady and reliable revenue for the studios. The big stars of the time were household names. Studios were nicknamed “Dream Factories” due to their ability to quickly churn out genre favorites—westerns, musicals, romances. Fantasy and spectacle were favored over realism, and audiences gobbled them up. But new technology was already sowing the seeds of change: the rapidly growing popularity of television, as well as a landmark antitrust case in 1948 which forbade studios from owning movie theatres and curtailed the practice of block booking, placed the film business on shaky ground by mid-century. The severe slump which ensued was not truly reversed until 1972, the year The Godfather was released.

The collapse of the studio system was both good and bad. As major studios were no longer guaranteed a theatrical release for their films, they became more risk-averse, tending to focus on properties they knew would make money. On the other hand, the proliferation of smaller studios and the uncoupling of distribution from production allowed many up-and-coming directors to make their mark. The 1970s ushered in the emergence of a raft of American auteur directors—Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, and Stanley Kubrick among them. These directors were influenced by European art-house cinema of the 50s and 60s and approached filmmaking with a markedly different aesthetic. Their films featured greater realism and frequently controversial subject matter. Like their European contemporaries from decades past, more scenes were shot on location. Dialogue was less frequently dubbed. Increased emphasis was placed on characterization and dialogue.

Simultaneously, and progressing in a completely opposite artistic direction, another trend was taking shape: the “Hollywood blockbuster.” Designed to maximize ticket sales for large studios, these films featured larger-than-life spectacle and action, supported by cutting-edge technology and special effects. Star Wars (1977) represents the most obvious example of this phenomenon. Audiences flocked to the cinema for the first time in decades to be part of an experience they could not replicate with equipment available at home. The modern action-adventure spectacle was born (and continues, in the guise of the ubiquitous superhero movie).

The 1980s accelerated these changes in filmmaking. Major studios could no longer afford to back a loser, so often doubled down on grand special-effects laden productions that audiences would be guaranteed to love, or else reliable franchises such as Rocky, Rambo, Indiana Jones, Friday the 13th,, A Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. The advent of home video technologies such as VHS and Betamax meant that a significant proportion of a film’s income now came not from box office, but home video revenues. This further opened up the playing field, as it was now economically viable for a small independent producer to market their film “direct-to-video” and make a profit.

Cut to the present day where, in addition to the multiplex, you can now watch a film on your phone, tablet, smart TV, portable music player, or game console. Streaming services are the latest disruptive innovation and have changed the way episodic TV content, for example, is presented (no more “previously on…” and no more commercials). It’s arguably never been easier for a creator to get their work out there.

Audiences flocked to the “dream factories” of the Golden Age of Cinema because there’s no magic like film magic. This hasn’t changed, and we don’t think it ever will. Film is the only medium that has the ability to inspire both our intellects and our hearts while completely engaging our senses.

At Front Row Insurance, we are “Passionate about the arts…better at insurance.” We love creatives and the creative work that they do. That’s what moves us. What moves you? Whatever it is, we probably have a policy that will suit you. Contact us.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, E&O Insurance, Public Liability Insurance for Film, Film Location Insurance, Extra Expense Coverage, insurance for film set, Educational Film Insurance, film school insurance, pre production insurance for filmmakers

The Annual Film Production Insurance Package Made Easy

Posted by David Hamilton on Sep 13, 2017 4:46:15 PM

The Annual DICE Insurance Policy takes the hassle out of purchasing film insurance for your film productions. It is flexible, affordable, and customizable designed to fit your individual needs. 

This policy will not only save you time, it will also save you money. Insuring all your productions under one policy helps to cut the costs, as it will reduce the administrative expenses associated with insuring each production individually, and these savings are passed onto you.

The Annual DICE Policy is specially designed to provide:  insurance for commercials, documentary insurance, coporate video insurance,educational film insurance, music video insurance, training video insurance, short film insurance, and still photography insurance.

Check out our Infographic below for coupon savings and more.

DICE Infographic Hyperlink.jpg

Interested in seeing more? Visit the Front Row Insurance Website for a free no obligation quote!

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Commercial Production Insurance, Documentary Insurance, DICE Insurance, corporate video insurance, music video insurance, Educational Film Insurance