Lecturing for the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (FilmTT) Business of Film Workshop

I just came back from lecturing with the Stage32 team in Trinidad, in connection with the Trinidad & Tobago Film Commission. What a wonderful time! The film professionals I met in Trinidad were passionate, creative, and asked all the right questions during the workshops I presented on legal issues in the film industry. I’ve lectured for Stage32 several times before ( https://www.stage32.com/webinars/Top-10-Legal-Traps-for-Producers-and-How-to-Avoid-Them ), but this was the first time I met everyone in person.

The Stage32 crew is efficiency and organization personified — just as every good producer should be. And my fellow lecturers, in addition to being a wealth of information, were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. A tremendously big shout out to Nneka Luke, the Film Commissioner of Trinidad & Tobago for bringing us down and introducing us to the talented artists of T&T.

For anyone reading this thinking of shooting in T&T, please do! It’s only 4 ½ hours away from New York and boasts tropical scenery, cityscapes, jungles, waterfalls, and almost every environment one could hope for.

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Creating a comic book is a labor of love… but make the wrong move and it can become a legal nightmare! In this business, handshake agreements won't work — and misinformation can turn a copyright into a “copy wrong”! In this workshop, attorney Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. author of “The Pocket Lawyer for Comic Book Creators”— the first dedicated legal guide for the comic book industry— will show you how to protect your copyright and negotiate key contracts every comic book creator MUST know. We'll even show you a few tips on landing a publisher!

March 4, 2018

More here: http://www.emeraldcitycomiccon.com/en/Sessions/53342/Critical-Contracts-and-Copyrights-for-the-Comic-Book-Creator


This seminar has been approved for up to 2.50* CLE credits, including 1.00 Law and Legal Procedure, 1.50 Other CLE Credits for Washington attorneys.

*To receive the full 2.50 CLE credits, you must have completed the take home assignment prior to the program date.

This second CLE workshop teaches practice skills in comic book legal practice. The information taught the previous day is incorporated into a hands-on negotiation and drafting practicum, featuring breakout groups and in-class short drafting assignments.

This two-hour intensive will do a deep-dive into the three agreements every lawyer must know when representing a comic book creator: the artist services agreement, the comic book publishing agreement, and the motion picture option/purchase agreement. Facilitated by seasoned comic book publishing attorneys, attendees will get a chance to issue-spot, draft, and engage in mock negotiations.

Those attending Saturday’s workshop will have a short assignment to complete prior to the start of the class.

Some of the Issues explored in this second CLE:

  • Negotiation and drafting of the artist services agreement
  • Negotiation and drafting of the “creator controlled” publishing agreement
  • Negotiation and drafting of the motion picture option/purchase agreement
  • Special issues:
    • Negotiating page rates, royalties, and financial incentives
    • Approval provisions and deliverables
    • Intellectual property “red flags” and drafting techniques
  • Q&A
  • March 3, 2018

More here: http://www.emeraldcitycomiccon.com/Content/Professional-Programming/Continuing-Legal-Education/


This seminar has been approved for 3.0 CLE credits, including 2.0 Law and Legal Procedure, 1.0 Other CLE Credits for Washington attorneys.

This first workshop tracks recent trends in comic book business and legal practice as it introduces lawyers to the fundamentals of representing comic book industry clients. The workshop tracks the stages of representing a client from the initial comic book concept through to the negotiation of the publishing agreement.

Some of the Issues explored in this first CLE:

  • Intellectual property issues in the comic book industry
  • Service agreements and collaboration agreements
  • What publishers look for in a comic book property
  • An overview of comic book publishing agreements
  • Legal issues in self-publishing of comic book properties
  • Q&A
  • March 2, 2018

More here: http://www.emeraldcitycomiccon.com/Content/Professional-Programming/Continuing-Legal-Education/ 

Negotiating Actor's Agreements

What is the most important element in your film to landing a distributor? The script? The director? Probably not. For many distributors, the choice of one film over another often comes down to whether your film features an actor that audiences recognize. Actors’ performances breathe life into a film, and their fame gives a film its marketing power.

Because performers realize the hold they have over a film project, negotiating the performer’s services agreement can be a nail-biting experience. Virtually every recognizable performer has a team of agents, managers, and attorneys ready to protect the actor’s interests and negotiate the best deal they can for their client. For producers, knowing how to negotiate an actor’s contract is critical for the success of their films.

This course will show you how to negotiate an actor’s services agreement, provide an overview of dealing with SAG-AFTRA, and even give you a few tips and tricks on dealing with actors’ agents and managers.

Testimonials for Thomas' previous webinar: "One of the best yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Definitely want him back. Thanks!" J. Rose

What You'll Learn:

  • Negotiating with agents, managers, and other actor’s representatives
    • Negotiating with agents is often compared to “swimming with sharks.”
    • We’ll discuss some techniques to help you build a shark cage for your negotiations.
  • Becoming a signatory with SAG-AFTRA
    • Signing your production up with the SAG-AFTRA performer’s union is not as difficult as you might think.
    • We will demystify the process and discuss which union contract is right for your production
  • The key elements of an Actor Services Agreement
    • We will discuss the important elements of actor’s contracts including:
    • work for hire clauses
    • engagement
    • options for future services
    • publicity
    • compensation
    • net profits
    • a host of other critical provisions.
  • We will even discuss letters of intent (LOIs) and why they may not be as useful as you might think.

CLICK here for more information and to enroll 

Come See Me at The Monmouth Film Festival #indiefilm #filmmaking #producer


Do you aspire to make the next award winning film? Are you working on a film now but struggling to get it on the big screen? Join me and a panel of film industry colleagues for "A Discussion On Indie Film" with the MFF Industry Film Panel featuring special, esteemed guests. Don't miss your opportunity to ask questions directly to our panelists regarding your own work and career!

Come for the panel, stay for the Film Festival.



Who wants to go to NY Comic Con AND get CLE credits?

Getting a ticket to NY Comic Con can be tricky. Representing comic book clients is even trickier. Now you can get a guaranteed ticket to the ‘con while learning how to represent comic book creator clients from conception of the idea to collaboration with other artists to negotiation of a publishing agreement. We’ll even show you some keys aspects of licensing comic book properties to motion picture and television.

Thanks to the overwhelming success of the past two years' sold-out CLEs on Comic Book law at New York Comic Con, this year's New York Comic Con, in association with Thomas A. Crowell, Esq., and the National Academy of Continuing Legal Education, present two in-depth CLEs on the transactional legal practice for the comic book industry.

From Panel to Publisher - Representing Comic Book Creator Clients in 2017

3.0 MCLE Credits in Skills
Thursday, October 5, 12:15 PM - 3:15 PM at New York Comic Con at the Javits Center
Course Price: $160
Ticket Fee: $0 - $40

The comic book industry and its ancillary markets continue to flourish in 2017, with new trends in digital publishing and derivative licensing. Emphasizing practical skills, this CLE provides a chance to learn from legal practitioners, comic book creators, and former comic book publishing executives. This workshop tracks recent trends in comic book business and legal practice and is designed to help lawyers and law students understand the fundamentals of representing comic book industry clients.

Some of the issues explored in this CLE:

  • Recent case law impacting comic book creators
  • Intellectual property issues in the comic book industry
  • Service agreements and collaboration agreements
  • Negotiating comic book publishing agreements
  • The view from the publisher’s side of the desk
  • Understanding page rates, royalties, and financial incentives
  • Legal issues in self-publishing of comic book properties

Beyond the Printed Page: An Overview of Licensing Comic Book Properties to the Film, Television, and Merchandising Industries

1.5 Credits
Sunday, October 8, 11:00AM – 12:15 PMat New York Comic Con at the Javits Center
Course Price: $100
Ticket Fee: $40

Guardians of the Galaxy; Wonder Woman; Riverdale; The Tick; Deadpool — comic book properties dominate film, television, mobile apps, and videogames. They are the driving force behind the hottest toys and apparel for the holidays. Comic book properties are also ripe for being turned into unlicensed derivative works, such as fan-art and fan-merchandise, often giving rise to infringement suits.

This CLE will introduce lawyers and law students to key issues involved in the audiovisual and merchandise licensing of comic book properties.

Topics include:

  • Preserving chain of title and underlying rights in comic book properties
  • Audiovisual option/purchase agreements
  • Key aspects of merchandising agreements
  • The thin line between fan art and copyright infringement


  • Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. 
  • Lillian Laserson, Esq.: Former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of DC Comics where she established and ran the company’s in-house legal department for twenty years.

Select Potential Panelists:
Attorneys: Jeff Trexler, Esq., Matthew Tynan, Esq., Stephen Swalski, Esq., Jason Yarn, Esq., Katie Lane, Esq.
Creators: Jody LeHeup (comic book author and former editor at Marvel Comics); David Gallaher (writer for Marvel and DC Comics).