What’s a “MacGuffin?”

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

What is a Macguffin? / Macguffin / Hitchcock Macguffin

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 (1998; Amazon Affiliate Link), 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 arguably does not need to know, what is inside the briefcase; the MacGuffin is charged with such importance that its significance does not even need to be explained to propel the narrative forward.

Examples of famous “Macguffins” in movies / macguffin examples:

Get the eBook! Film Insurance 101

Amazon Associates Disclosure: Front Row Insurance is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post may contain affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you.

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.

RELATED:

THE BEST CAMERAS FOR FILMMAKING

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CAMERA LENS(ES)

Topics: Film equipment insurance, Short Film Insurance, Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Cast Insurance, Film permission, Public Liability Insurance for Film, insurance for film set

Filmmakers and Insurance: What Moves You? | Film Insurance History

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

FILM HISTORY AND Film Insurance

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 tech. This is not new: the history of film is one of periodic disruption followed by renewal in response to the changing tastes of audiences.

Film History 1920s - 1940s

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, which 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 (thus, the term “B movie”).

Film History 1950s-1970s

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 favoured 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 [Amazon Affiliate Link] 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 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 character 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) [Amazon Affiliate Link] 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).

Film History 1980s-modern era

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 [Amazon Affiliate Link], Rambo [Amazon Affiliate Link], Indiana Jones [Amazon Affiliate Link], Friday the 13th [Amazon Affiliate Link], A Nightmare on Elm Street [Amazon Affiliate Link], 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 movie “direct-to-video” and turn a profit.

Cut to present day where, in addition to the multiplex, you can now watch a film on your phone, tablet, smart TV, portable music player [Amazon Affiliate Link], 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 movie 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.


RELATED:

THE BEST CAMERAS FOR FILMMAKING

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CAMERA LENS(ES)

Amazon Associates Disclosure: Front Row Insurance is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post may contain affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Public Liability Insurance for Film, Extra Expense Coverage, insurance for film set, Educational Film Insurance, film school insurance, pre-production insurance

The Annual Film Production Insurance Package Made Easy

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

ANNUAL FILM INSURANCE - WITH COUPON!

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, corporate 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. Coupon not valid in QC, ON, SK.

DICE Infographic

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

Blurring the Lines of Music Infringement Law - 3 Perspectives in One

Posted by Jeff Young on Jun 17, 2015 12:59:23 PM

Marvin Gaye vs. Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams (Blurred Lines)

Marvin GayeImage credit: Shutterstock

For many years of my life, I have had the pleasure of enjoying three simultaneous careers. I am a senior member of the Bar of British Columbia, Canada focusing on entertainment law, I am a member of the State Bar of California, USA, regularly dealing with my colleagues in Hollywood, and I am a music producer and composer with a current co-write on the radio and a cue on a currently airing TV show. Very rarely does a legal case affect me in all three of my careers at once. The recent music infringement lawsuit between the Marvin Gaye estate vs Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the songs Got to Give It Up (by Gaye) and Blurred Lines (by Thicke/Williams) does exactly this. As a result, I thought it would be interesting to present my commentary from all three of these perspectives, separately.

From the American lawyer’s perspective

The general understanding among attorneys practicing music law in America is that a composition infringes on another when there are substantial similarities between the melodies of one song versus that of another. The precedent setting cases have all generally ruled that similarities in chord progressions and general rhythmic feel – or as some would call it, the “groove” – does not constitute infringement. You need to have melodies that sound alike. In fact, mere similarities in the groove of a song is usually considered a genre. There is no copyright in a genre and there is no copyright in a chord progression.

In comparing Blurred Lines and Got to Give It Up, there is clear evidence that Thicke and Williams meticulously copied the groove of Got to Give It Up. There are also some similarities in the bass line of the two songs, but those similarities do not seem substantial. On a pure legal analysis, it would not seem like this was a case of infringement. However, the case went to a jury, who may have been influenced by the apparent bad attitude and demeanor of Robin Thicke in court. Also, no one in the public has seen the musicologist reports that stated that there was in fact compositional infringement, not just a copying of a feel, groove or genre.

Furthermore, jury decisions only decide individual cases based on fact. No reasons are delivered and technically, no legal precedent is set. The message to any disgruntled music creator is that regardless of the existing law and established precedents, if you take an infringement case to a jury, you may still win if you can convince them there was some form of copying, regardless of what aspects were copied and what the legal precedents say to the contrary.

What does the American music lawyer typically say when asked by a client who wants advice on what they can do before going into the recording studio? Prior to this decision, the advice given would be that the client can copy a feel, groove or genre, but you cannot copy melody lines, hooks (or lyrics, if any). Following this advice, the client is told that they will likely going to avoid a lawsuit because prior cases have held that it is reasonable to assume that we are all influenced by the feel, groove and genre of the music that we listen to and like, and that alone does not amount to an infringement. Now, while the American attorney can still technically say that the law really hasn’t changed, he or she will now have to further advise the client that any disgruntled music creator can still file a lawsuit, choose a jury trial, and convince the jury that there is infringement anyways – particularly if that client isn’t liked by the jury.

I have always believed that certain issues such as music copyright infringement should not be submitted to juries because juries lack the legal training necessary to make the correct legal decision. There is a tendency to ignore established law and go with what seems intuitively right based only on the facts, and decide accordingly, sometimes even when the judge’s instructions are otherwise. That leads to bad law. Juries in America are not obliged to give reasons, so we will never be able to tell if they understood what the law really was to begin with. This kind of uncertainty is scary. Really scary.

From the Canadian lawyer’s perspective

Canadian music lawyers will likely never face a case like this one. Music infringement cases are not decided by juries in Canada. They will be decided by judges who must provide legal reasons that at least can be appealed if the reasons appear incorrect. Also, an American trial jury decision with no reasons provided has no legal weight as precedent in Canada. So as a Canadian music lawyer, if a client asks me how to avoid infringement, I would still advise that you can copy a feel, groove or genre, but avoid copying melody lines (and lyrics, if applicable) and you are likely going to avoid a lawsuit because we are all influenced by the feel, groove and genre of the music we listen to and like the most.

However, most clients that come to me in Canada don’t just want a Canadian hit. Their dream is to have a hit in America on American radio. Therefore, it would not make sense for Canadian lawyers to completely ignore the Blurred Lines decision. In other words, while this decision has no formal effect on Canadian law, it will likely have some effect on Canadian music creators, especially those whose creative works cross the border, and it would be unwise for a Canadian entertainment lawyer to not point that out.

What is the result for Canada? Well, we now have one single jury in America rendering a decision (a decision involving their own interpretation of music law that they do not have to provide reasons or account to anyone else for) likely affecting the future behavior of most of the music creators in another country for a long time to come, even though the laws of their own country does not require them to behave that way. Bizarre.

From the Producer’s and Composer’s perspective

In the film industry, scripts are reviewed, potential infringements are identified, and the resulting clearance reports get sent to entertainment lawyers to review and to render opinions as to whether changes to the scripts are needed. This is all part of the “errors and omissions” process that because of the history of lawsuits in that industry, has become common and standard, if not virtually mandatory. Basically, the lawyers have to tell the filmmakers what is allowed on the screen, or not.

This “clearance process” also happens, in a lesser degree, with books. Literary publishers often retain lawyers to engage in a “libel read” of a book to identify possible legal risks before the book is released, and sometimes, risky portions of the book are edited out.

If the results of the Blurred Lines case continue in future jury decisions in this manner, the state of legal uncertainly may become such that major labels releasing records may become so concerned that they will have to adapt a similar process for the music industry. After all, this case resulted in verdict of over $7 million!

In other words, the “clearance reports” will have to be done by qualified musicologists who will review the entire album and identify potentially infringing phrases or “hooks”, and then submit those musicology reports to entertainment lawyers who will then render opinions on what can be left in and what has to be removed.

If this sounds ridiculous, I would remind you that I’m sure this seemed as ridiculous to filmmakers and book authors of past eras, but lawsuits in those industries have now made clearances commonplace. Basically, lawyers will have to tell the music producer what is allowed on the records, or not.

I’m not sure I would ever like this – even if I’m the lawyer clearing my own work!

As a composer, I am often asked by film directors to create “sound-alikes”, especially when the film is independently made and there is no budget to license a major hit song. A “sound-alike” is a music cue that copies a feel, groove or genre, but does not copy melody lines (or lyrics, if applicable) in order to avoid a lawsuit. Now, in view of the Blurred Lines case, this approach may not work anymore. Some questions that arise for the music composer: Is it reasonable to force all of these independent films to only license the hit music track when the director is only looking for a similar feel, groove or genre? How will these multi-million dollar awards affect the future careers of upcoming composers if they are living in fear of lawsuits for everything they try to create with an established feel, groove or genre?

In Conclusion - Music Infringement Law

The Blurred Lines decision introduces significant uncertainty into music infringement laws. This uncertainty is aggravated by the fact that juries are not required to render reasons for their decisions.

It is my understanding that Thicke and Pharrell have filed an appeal of this decision. I sincerely hope that the appeal will succeed at least in part – specifically, from the point of getting clarity on the legal principles involved.

I am much more concerned about that than which side winds up with the $7M. I just want the lines of music infringement law to be less blurred!

--------------------

JEFF YOUNG
- The Lawyer's Lawyer
- Educator and formerly practiced in-house with VANOC and UBCP
- Music Producer, composer and expert snowboarder
- Called in BC (1988) and California (2010)

Jeff Young, J.D. | Barrister & Solicitor | Trademark Agent (Canada and US) jy@arenaltman.com | Direct: 604.563.1192 Member Law Society of British Columbia, Canada | Member State Bar of California, USA (inactive) ALTMAN & COMPANY | Business and Entertainment Law Suite #202 – 2245 West Broadway Ave., Vancouver BC V6K 2E4

Related:

Musical Instrument Insurance 101: How to Protect Your Instruments
Tips & tricks to guard your gear
Protecting instruments at home
Protecting instruments at airports
Protecting instruments on tour
Musical tour insurance
Band on the run
Tribute bands and liability
Protecting your guitar
Protecting your drums
Protecting your keyboard
Protecting your violin
Protecting your saxophone
How to make a claim
What is my gear worth in event of claim?
You may not be covered under homeowners
Front Row’s musical instrument policy
Insurance for SOCAN members
How to compare musical instrument insurance cos.
Blurring the lines of music infringement law

Topics: musical instrument insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, Altman & Company

How To Call A Wrap On Top Film Insurance Claims

Posted by Adam Grenville on Jun 12, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Film Insurance Claims Examples

Claims image

The average moviegoer only hears about film production insurance when it makes the headlines. After the tragic death of Paul Walker during the filming of Fast & Furious 7 in November 2013, the trade and popular media reported how it led to the largest movie insurance claim in history — reportedly as high as $50 million. High-profile feature films usually buy cast insurance for such rare but catastrophic claims, but all film productions face a host of other risks that don’t usually make the headlines.

Every production is unique and presents its own mix of risk factors, but common risk management issues confront all productions — from large studios with big budgets and sophisticated risk management programs to small indie filmmakers approaching production risk for the first time, from nonprofits creating educational videos to corporations investing in informational videos. The most common insurance claims in production are equipment theft, vehicle damage, damaged locations, and equipment failure in extreme climates.

Equipment Theft

Here’s a true story: A container of film equipment disappeared while being shipped from Los Angeles to Louisiana. Although no one was aware of what happened to it, the missing container illustrates one of the top film production risks. Equipment is often one of the most valuable assets involved in filmmaking. From cameras to film stock, hard drives, and microphones, production equipment is also quite portable. The risk is complicated by the fact that film sets can be mobile, too, and located in foreign or multiple locations. Workforces made up of contract employees power these productions, adding more risk to this script.

Establishing security on the set is one potential solution for equipment theft. Visible security is especially important in public and international locations, where producers might not be familiar with the locale or confident in the local police. A common security measure is to close and lock doors. Another step to protect equipment is to return it to the rental company each night – though it could be inconvenient, this step leaves the equipment in secure hands.

Vehicle Damage

Damage to "run-about" — rental vehicles used by production assistants to run errands —is also a common claim on production sets. Production assistants are often younger employees and, due to the nature of their job, they may also tend to be in a hurry on the set. The combination of a more youthful driver and haste could mean that the next scene involves a production assistant colliding with another vehicle.

To help mitigate the risks associated with rental vehicles, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Film productions can conduct background checks on all drivers.
  2. Safety training might also provide a measure of protection.
  3. A third important step is to be familiar with vehicle rental contracts and know who is responsible for property damage and liability if an accident occurs. Although damage to on-set vehicles is rare, it is still an important consideration, particularly when it comes to a "hero vehicle." If the General Lee goes down during Dukes of Hazard or the Batmobile crashes while filming Batman, it will impact production and could lead to an insurance claim.
  4. For such vehicles, have backup parts and even a spare vehicle to prevent downtime if an incident occurs. Consider using a mock version during stunts.

Damaged Locations

Scratch the hardwood floor in a historic home during shooting, and a production — and its insurer — could be looking at $30,000 to replace it. Damage a few vintage light fixtures, and the bill could include the cost to replace every light fixture to ensure they resemble the originals. Film directors make location decisions based on their desired look and feel, but they should be aware their productions could become quite costly if care isn’t taken. The answer is not to sacrifice that look and feel for safety but to instead take precautions. Respect and protect the private homes and other locations where filming is taking place.

Ahead of shooting, film productions should also document a location. Is there pre-existing damage? All parties benefit when knowing exactly what happened if damage is claimed. Doing stunts or pyrotechnics in a location poses its own risks. In this case, calling in loss control experts and engineering specialists, as well as the local fire department, can help ensure stunts are well planned and safe. For instance, such professionals can assist in making sure that any sprinkler system is properly disengaged for a fire-related stunt, and then turned back on when finished.

Faulty Equipment in Extreme Climates

A director filming in a frigid environment wrapped plastic around his cameras. It wasn't to protect them from the cold; rather the plastic casing protected the equipment during breaks from condensation that could form when those cameras were brought inside. Whether in freezing or tropical locations, electronics can suffer water damage and malfunction. These extreme and isolated locations present additional risks, as it is unlikely there will be a film equipment rental facility nearby to obtain replacement gear.

To help prevent the loss of equipment due to climate-related issues and potential production delays, it’s important to protect equipment appropriately. Even when filming in less extreme locations, such as forests or urban areas, productions should be careful to protect equipment from dirt or anything else that could damage it. Productions should test equipment prior to traveling to the set location--try out a camera in a freezer or a sauna, or wherever else best approximates the shoot environment.

Insurance Can Be Value Added

Insurance might be considered a budget line item for some film productions or a requirement from their distributors or financiers, but insurance professionals can also provide a wealth of knowledge and assistance. Productions can contact their insurance companies ahead of shooting, and as partners in the process, the insurer may be able to offer the assistance of risk management and loss control specialists to help establish procedures to avoid costly delays and losses.

Insurance professionals specializing in the film and entertainment industry have seen the above common claims repeatedly — and those headline-grabbing, not-so-common claims as well — and can help mitigate them before and during filming.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film Insurance claims

Front Row Insurance Brokers announce merger with Globalex of Montreal

Posted by David Hamilton on Sep 23, 2013 5:31:00 PM

Canada's largest film insurance broker is created.

GlobalEx InsuranceVancouver, Canada -- September 23, 2013 -- Front Row is pleased to announce a merger with Globalex gestion de risques after five months of discussion. Globalex is one of the largest specialized film insurance brokers in Quebec.

The combined company is licensed and registered in every province and is the largest broker as measured by premium volume for each of the four major film insurance companies. "Our volume with the insurance companies gives us a competitive edge when negotiating coverage, premiums and claims settlements for our clients," says David Hamilton, President of Front Row based in Vancouver.

Front Row is an independent broker that works on behalf of producers to transfer the risks of filming to insurance companies for a premium charge. Should a claim occur, Front Row ensures that the production company receives the money that they are owed per the insurance policy.

Front Row also has offices in Toronto and Vancouver.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, film insurance premium, film insurance underwriter

How Can Travel Delay Insurance Protect You?

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 4, 2013 4:12:00 PM

TRAVEL DELAY INSURANCE & FILM PRODUCTIONS

TRAVEL DELAY INSURANCE & FILM PRODUCTIONS

Travel Delay Insurance protects your film production budget when cast do not show up on set.

Travel Delay Insurance coverage is an Extra Expense coverage that is part of some film production insurance policies. The Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company defines Travel Delays in their insuring agreement as:

“For reasons other than weather, we will pay for loss due to the closure of any departure airport used by your personnel or used to transport your property, when such airport closure either delays or precludes the timely arrival of personnel or property to a filming location of the Insured Production”.

EXAMPLES of extra expenses covered by Travel Delay coverage:

  • There is a problem with the baggage belt within the airport delaying baggage & equipment from being loaded onto the plane.
  • There is a temporary bomb scare which results in a delay in cast or crew’s flight out of their departure airport.
  • As with most other coverages, there are some standard exclusions that apply to Extra Expense coverages. Please see the policy wording for a full description of the coverage, or call a specialized film insurance broker such as Front Row Insurance.

Topics: Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film Production Companies

Umbrella Vs. Excess Liability Insurance Coverage for Film Production

Posted by David Hamilton on Jan 2, 2013 9:33:00 AM

Umbrella Vs. Excess Liability Insurance

A typical production company will purchase liability insurance to provide coverage for claims relating to third party bodily injury and/or property damage caused by the production’s activities. As the majority of production companies will use vehicles on/off set, along with mobile equipment, watercraft and/or aircraft, they must also consider liability protection for these exposures too.


Whichever type of liability policy or policies are selected by a production company; there is a “primary” layer of coverage.  Depending upon the limit of the primary general liability coverage, a production company may wish to purchase additional limits of protection: a filming location may require 10mil or more of coverage although 5mil is a common limit of coverage in Canada.

This additional layer of liability coverage is called umbrella or excess coverage.

Either Excess or Umbrella coverage is triggered when the primary protection’s limits have been breached, i.e., the underlying policy limit is exhausted.

Theoretically, an Umbrella Policy supplements its excess coverage to include miscellaneous and unidentified loss exposures that are not covered by an underlying policy. This is an advantage of an umbrella liability policy. Since there isn’t a source of primary protection for these exposures, a form of high deductible, called a self-insured retention, is applied to such losses.

An Excess Policy does NOT provide broader coverage; it only serves to supplement whatever coverage exists in the primary layer.  It’s becoming increasingly common for such coverage to be provided on a Following Form basis.  These forms are written so that they track the coverage, exclusions, and provisions of the underlying policies.

Simply stated, an Umbrella Policy will provide additional protection for your production company with different coverage that may not be in your underlying policy. An Excess Policy will further protect your production company by adding extra protection onto the limits of your underlying policy.

If you seek additional coverage for your production company, be sure to pay attention to what is stated in the form. The term "umbrella" may be used even when the form does not provide true umbrella coverage. For additional information relating to the above, please contact Front Row Insurance Brokers.

RELATED LINKS:

Film Insurance 101 & How to Protect Your Film Project

Film Production Insurance: Why it is needed

Pre-Production Insurance

Film Production Insurance

How the Premium is Determined

Short Film Insurance

DigiGear Insurance

Props/Sets/Wardrobe Insurance

E&O Insurance

DICE Insurance

Third Party Property Damage

Crew Vehicles

Umbrella Vs. Excess Liability

Commercial General Liability

Negative Film / Videotape and Faulty Stock

Workers Comp

Cast Insurance

Extra Expense (EE)

Foreign Locations

Claims

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, film insurance premium

How does Imminent Peril Insurance Coverage Protect your Production?

Posted by David Hamilton on Dec 31, 2012 12:08:00 PM

Imminent Peril insurance coverage

Imminent Peril is part of Extra Expense (EE) coverage. EE itself is similar to Business Interruption insurance, except that it will not cover loss of income, but rather if you suffer an insured loss, it will pay for the extra costs to get your production back to filming as soon as possible. It will also reimburse you for extra costs incurred because something out of your control has prevented you from filming.

‘Imminent Peril’ is defined in the policy as “We will pay for expenses you incur to avoid a loss insured under this policy due to imminent peril to the extent that such expenses serve to avoid such loss.” It will pay for the damage you cause to prevent further damage.

EXAMPLES of losses that would be insured by Imminent Peril:Imminent Peril coverage

- A sudden  storm hits your external set with golf ball sized hail stones. To prevent damage to your filming gear, you tear down a façade from your set to cover the cameras. The cost to rebuild the intentional damage to the set would be covered by Imminent Peril.         

- A small fire ignites in your production office.  You attempt to control the fire by switching off the gas supply, breaking the alarm glass, using fire extinguishers and fire blankets, and evacuate the building to protect persons and property.  This coverage will pay for these extra materials and lost productive time used to minimize damage.

NB: As with most other coverages, there are some standard exclusions that apply to Extra Expense coverages. Please see the policy wording for a full description of the coverage, or call a specialized film insurance broker such as Front Row Insurance.

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film Insurance claims, Documentary Insurance, DICE Insurance