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 

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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).