5 Film & TV Producer Books You Might Need To Secretly Brush Up On

5 Film & TV Producer Books You Might Need To Secretly Brush Up On

I discovered a few of these while getting my Entertainment Law & Industry Certification at USC.

Producers need to understand Film, TV, Finance, Law, and Human Resource Management. Compared to the lists I see online, these are actually relevant and recent. You can learn story elsewhere, but with these books, you’ll be ready to sit down and negotiate a deal with the business affairs team at Sony. I see this first one is written by one of those people…

Hollywood Dealmaking: Negotiating Talent Agreements for Film, TV, and Digital Media (Third Edition)

by  Dina Appleton  (Author), Daniel Yankelevits  (Author)*

This book is an overview with a ton of short segments to define or discuss. This is fast read, but you’ll want it to stay on your shelf for reference.

The legal resources of studios and networks are legendary, often intimidating independent producers, writers, actors, directors, agents, and others as they try to navigate through the maze of legal details. This invaluable reference presents the interests of talent as well as the point of view of creative executives, producers, entertainment attorneys, agents and managers, and major guilds—making clear the role that each plays in the deal-making process.

Readers will find expert insights to talent and production deals for television, feature film, video, and the Internet, as well as an in-depth overview of net profits and other forms of contingent compensation. Hollywood Dealmaking, Third Edition, also addresses digital and new platforms, changes resulting from new union agreements, and the evolution in feature film back-end (profit participation) deals. In addition, this comprehensive guide includes:

  • Explanations of employment deals
  • Details of rights acquisition
  • Basics of copyright law
  • Sample contracts and forms
  • Glossary of industry lingo and terminology
  • And much more!

Peppered with facts on the deals of superstar players and with summaries in each section to clarify complex legal issues, Hollywood Dealmaking, Third Edition, is an essential resource for industry novices and veterans alike who want to sharpen their negotiation skills and finalize the deals they have been seeking.

The Hollywood Standard – Third Edition: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style

by  Christopher Riley  (Author)*

I assume you’ll be submitting scripts as a producer, it’s your job to handle quality control. Get this and understand it.

Intended to be kept at a screenwriter’s fingertips, The Hollywood Standard provides what even the best script software can’t: clear, concise instructions and hundreds of examples to take the guesswork out of a multitude of formatting questions that perplex even seasoned screenwriters. Contents include: • When a new scene heading is appropriate and when it isn’t • How to format shot headings, dialogue, direction and transitions • How to control pace with formatting • How to make a script page visually inviting to the reader • What to capitalize and why • How to get into and out of a POV shot • How to handle text messages and Zoom meetings • How Hollywood’s most innovative screenwriters are pushing the boundaries of format • How format for animation differs from live action formats Simply put, Riley knows more about script format than anyone in Hollywood and shares it all in this indispensable guide.

The Creative Artist’s Legal Guide: Copyright, Trademark and Contracts in Film and Digital Media Production

by  Ellen Seiter  (Author), Bill Seiter  (Author)*

I’ve personally witnessed many released projects get into legal trouble because of basics around trademark and copyright. You are the one who pays the price for creative mistakes. There is reason not to catch it early.

The essential guide to intellectual property law for all media producers—students and teachers, amateurs and professionals

In today’s complex media environment, aspiring filmmakers and new media artists are as vulnerable as swimmers in shark-infested waters. This user-friendly guide supplies creative artists with the essential legal concepts needed to swim safely with lawyers, agents, executives, and other experts in intellectual property and business law.

How do I copyright my screenplay? How can I clear rights for my film project? What can I do to avoid legal trouble when I produce my mockumentary? How do I ascertain whether a vintage novel is in the public domain? Is the trademark I’ve invented for my production company available? What about copyright and trademark rights overseas? If I upload my film to YouTube, do I give up any rights?

Bill Seiter and Ellen Seiter answer these questions and countless others while also demystifying the fundamental principles of intellectual property. Clear and thorough, this plain-spoken and practical guide is essential for anyone seeking to navigate the rapidly changing media environment of today.

Entertainment Finance Today

by  Jeanette Milio  (Author)*

This book covers the actual financial aspects of the Hollywood industry. It is a comprehensive and up to date guide on film and television financing today. It lays out each step of the motion picture and television project value chain, from development through profit participation, and illustrates the implications and risks of financial choices. Filmmakers and investors alike gain a thorough understanding of how to maneuver safely through a complex industry in a way that reduces risk and optimizes profits.

A Practical Guide to Drafting Contracts: From Concept to Closure

by  Cynthia M. Adams  (Author), Peter K. Cramer  (Author)*

This will never be read front to back, I assure you. This guide is perfect for marking up, putting in sticky notes, and negotiating with confidence. I’ll never let my copy leave my office.

From concept to closure, A Practical Guide to Drafting Contracts provides detailed instruction for drafting contracts. Moreover, it teaches readers how to adapt existing contracts and forms to the specific needs of their client–as is frequently done by lawyers in legal practice. Step-by-step instruction and examples unpack the purpose of each provision for a wide range of contracts and integrate the basic principles that apply to both domestic and international transactions. Practice exercises further develop students’ drafting skills, as well as their working knowledge of the language and syntax of contract law.

New to the Second Edition: 

  • Enhanced coverage of negotiating and drafting contracts in the United States
  • Mind-mapping exercises that help learners think deeply about key contract provisions and their effect on other important aspects of the contract
  • New contract simulations and drafting exercises
  • Clear signposting of text and exercises specifically written for non-native speakers

Professors and students will benefit from:

  • Step-by-step instruction through the entire drafting process
  • In-depth explanations and helpful examples
  • Insights into the strategic decisions behind drafting contracts
  • Hands-on exercises that:
    • Raise awareness of commonly occurring contract provisions
    • Encourage use of phrasing appropriate to audience and purpose
    • Build familiarity with the legal principles of contracts
    • Provide practice modifying forms and contracts drafted by other parties
  • Discussion of U.S. law regarding key contract provisions and drafting issues
  • Online Student Resources including:
    • Additional exercises
    • A wealth of sample APA contracts, Consulting Agreements, and Distribution Contracts that students are encouraged to mine for appropriate language and provisions in the process of drafting new contracts

Human Resource Management

by  Sean R. Valentine  (Author), Patricia Meglich  (Author), Robert L. Mathis  (Author), John H. Jackson  (Author)*

You know what I encounter the most in producing? Human Resource Management. Yes, if you don’t have a certification in HR Management, it’ll do you and your organizations a ton of good to brush up, re-write some policies, and figure out how to run a successful business. No matter where you land with a hands on or off approach, this book will give you the range, reasons, and resources to enact safe policies for your team that’ll set you apart from the other producers who never had a course in compliance.

Prepare for HR and career success with the book that has set the standard for excellence in human resource management. Valentine/Meglich/Mathis/Jackson’s HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, 16E offers today’s most current look at HRM and its impact on the success of organizations today. A leading resource in preparing for professional HR certification, this edition ensures you are familiar with all major topics for professional examinations from the Society for Human Resource Management and Human Resource Certification Institute. You examine the latest HR research as well as HR theory in contemporary practice. This edition highlights emerging trends driving change in HRM today, including technology, globalization, competencies and HR metrics. Easily annotate as you read. This edition offers new coverage of ethics, leadership, social media, technology, unemployment, current economic conditions and global HRM as you learn to think like a successful HR professional.

*Order from your local book store or IndieBound.org, the Amazon links here are merely for ease of search-ability and full author click-through to bios.

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