New Film Dictionary Helps "Level the Playing Field"
"Highly recommended." -Choice magazine (see full review below)
Most independent filmmakers have a limited knowledge of the law and, thus, are at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating the financing and distribution of a film. But a new book that defines more than 4,000 terms associated with film finance and distribution seeks to "level the playing field a bit," according to its author.
"The large film studios and theater chains employ attorneys and others who are experts in negotiating film contracts," writes Los Angeles film attorney John W. Cones in the Introduction to his new book, Dictionary of Film Finance and Distribution: A Guide for Independent Filmmakers. "In contrast, most independent filmmakers and producers have limited knowledge of the law, in part because the schools and universities that educated them stress the technical, creative or production side of filmmaking, not the business side. One consequence of this disparity is that independent filmmakers and producers are usually at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating the financing and distribution of a film."
"I wrote this dictionary to help fill this void," says Cones, who has been called the nations foremost legal advocate for independent filmmakers. "More specifically, my goal was to help level the playing field a bit when it comes to negotiating financing and distribution of films."
In addition to defining terms, Cones' 526-page dictionary also contains a list of "Terms Associated with Motion Picture Production," two essays on "337 Business Practices of the Major Studio/Distributors" and an "Overview of the Motion Picture Industry," and an extensive bibliography. Cones says "the information in this book should prove valuable to a wide range of people seeking to independently produce a film, including attorneys, distributors, executive producers, producers, associate producers, studio executives, screen writers, directors, exhibitors, broker/dealers, money finders, accountants, auditors, investors, profit participants, federal and state government officials and film students."
Only the nimble and well informed can survive or even thrive in the world of film finance and distribution. Endless classes, seminars, and books about production are available, but precious little about the "marketing, accounting, insurance, securities, and various legal structures" that form the process. Cones (entertainment/film attorney in Texas and California), with ten previous books to his credit, has created a resource that serves as dictionary, "syllabus," and thesaurus to fill the gap. The thesaurus, though limited, gathers terms under eight headings: "Acquisition," "Development," "Packaging," "Production Financing," "Pre-Production," "Photography," "Post-Production," and "Delivery." The syllabus is a list of 337 business practices of major studios and distributors. Both lists are tied to the dictionary. Definitions range from simple data to brief historical sketches (e.g., "Mafia"). Each definition has lavish cross-references. This is an indispensable work for libraries supporting film classes or hope-filled independent filmmakers. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Undergraduates, graduate students, and general readers. -- D. A. Schmitt, St. Louis Community College at Meramec, for Choice magazine
Contents: Acknowledgments Introduction Terms Associated with Motion Picture Production 337 Business Practices of the Major Studio/Distributors Overview of the Motion Picture Industry Dictionary of (4,000+) Terms Bibliography About the Author
About the Author: John W. Cones is a securities and entertainment attorney in Los Angeles, where he advises clients who produce independent feature films, videos, television shows and plays. He has written nine other books about Hollywood, including Hollywood Wars: How Insiders Gained and Maintain Control Over the Film Industry (Marquette Books, 2007), and he lectures frequently on film finance and distribution.
About the Book: 526 pages 7.25 x 9.25 format Copyright 2008 Includes CIP Data ISBN: 978-0-922993-93-2 (cloth library binding) $149.95 ISBN: 978-0-922993-94-9 (paperback) $79.95