Hawaii Film Blog

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Lawyers Rake It In On Runaway Productions

According to a recent article in "The Recorder" published by the Bar Association of San Francisco, while American gaffers, grips, actors, and make-up artists are losing jobs to their foreign counterparts, one group of American workers is experiencing a boon: lawyers--particularly those who specialize in entertainment and international law. That's because, according to one L.A.-based producer-turned-lawyer, "There is no area of the law that doesn't get expanded and deepened once you step out of the U.S."

With the seemingly irreversible trend of runaway production comes the increasing need for lawyers to navigate the sometimes untrodden legal paths of shooting in a foreign locale. Lawyers for productions need to first decide which country's laws to abide by, and be aware that different countries' laws may be applied to different aspects of the production. And the legal work doesn't simply focus on labor and tax law for physical production; intellectual property law, for example, comes into play when a score is written in L.A. but performed and recorded overseas, for instance.

But many lawyers believe that in navigating multinational productions, what's more important than understanding the legal mumbo jumbo is understanding the local people and culture. For example, though Hawaii is not a foreign locale, it does have many customs that are foreign to those from the continental U.S. One producer-turned-lawyer who had worked on "Celebrity Mole Hawaii" went against the advice of a local resident to hire a Hawaiian priest to bless the set before filming. He later regretted it because the production
experienced a series of mishaps. He now advises producers to abide by the culture of their host locations.

>> Movie Outsourcing a Boon for Lawyers [The Recorder, 10/18/05]

>> Culture Clash
>> Romania: Hollywood (Way) East
>> Our Loss is Their Gain
>> Hey, Whatever's Cheapest

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