Don’t get too excited mom, dad and all the single ladies…
Asked by my friend, entertainment lawyer, Lee Rudnicki… Last night, as a guest, I participated in a workshop with law students at UWLA.
Unlike the other times I’ve spoken at various colleges, these were law students, not wannabe professional actors, directors, stage managers, singers or writers… Instead of having them ask me questions with no parameters, about various elements of my career and experience, Lee designed a workshop that really challenged them to act as entertainment lawyers.
You can read what Professor Rudnicki’s assignment was, on his blog Seven Thoughts. “Law School, Actor. Actor, Law School.”
Basically: First they were to pitch one of my own written project to me, as if I knew nothing about it, and then they were to act as if they were my representative advising me on an option contract handed to me.
At the close of the class, before a very brief Q & A, it suddenly hit me of possibly a greater reason I was there… Besides having another life experience, or making a potential future connection, or perhaps gaining another twitter follower or two…
As the case may be, maybe, just maybe, me being there could benefit hundreds of other artists… And perchance this was my opportunity, nay my duty, to let these yet unhatched incubating lawyers know how important it was that they learn how to do their jobs well… So, they protect their future clients… Let’s face it, creatives may be brilliant at creative stuff, but are often not experts in details, and sometimes make decisions based on personal passion and not the printed words on a page.
I gave them an example on how on one particular movie, I was willing to sign whatever was in front of me, and also how my representative at the time didn’t take the time to carefully look at the details of the contract, and what was missing.
The error was both of ours… I’m no longer with that representative, and I ended up not getting what I should have rightly, and easily would have been given… But because it wasn’t in the printing of the contract, the director and producers had every right to say their “hands were tied.”
It seemed to be an interesting experience for everyone, and while I’m proud to admit I knew more about contract-law and elements of production than I ever thought I did, I also learned a few handy little things too.
Here’s what I can sum up for you:
If you don’t know it’s possible to get, you probably won’t think to ask for it… If you don’t ask for it, they more-than-likely won’t bring it up… If you don’t get it clearly stated in writing, with a dated signature, it’s like you never asked.
– Quiche Out
NOTE: In addition to being a friend, an entertainment lawyer, and an adjunct professor, I met Lee in screenwriting class at UCLA, he and I have a script we’ve written together, he’s a published novelist, a screenwriter, and is working on getting two films of his own set up, which he intends to direct.