Understanding the Business of Media Entertainment
The Legal and Business Essentials All Filmmakers Should Know
This revised edition of Understanding the Business of Media Entertainment is an indispensable guide to the business aspects of the entertainment industry, providing the information you need to break in and to succeed.
Written in a clear and engaging tone, the second edition of this book covers the essential topics in a thorough but reader-friendly manner and includes plenty of real-world examples that bring business and legal concepts to life, such as the growing clout of digital companies and the rise of streaming providers like Netflix and Amazon, the transformation of independent film development and distribution, and changes to the media ownership landscape. Award-winning screenwriter and entertainment attorney Gregory Bernstein gives an insider's look at the filmmaking business, from copyright law and government media regulation to development, distribution, revenue, the role of agents, managers, and unions, entertainment contracts, and more. Other topics covered include:
- Hollywood's growth and the current conglomerates that own most of the traditional media.
- How specific entertainment companies operate, including facts about particular studios and employee tasks.
- How studios develop projects and engage in marketing and distribution.
- The kinds of revenues studios earn and how they account for these revenues.
Table of Contents
Section 1 – Law and Entertainment
Chapter 1: Copyright Law
Chapter 2: Music Copyright
Chapter 3: Copyright and Piracy
Chapter 4: International Copyright
Chapter 5: First Amendment Law
Section 2 – Entertainment Companies: Growth and Power
Chapter 6: The FCC and Government Regulation of the Media
Chapter 7: Media Growth and Ownership
Chapter 8: Unions, Agents and Managers
Section 3 – What Studios Do
Chapter 9: Development
Chapter 10: Distribution
Section 4 – Money and Contracts
Chapter 11: Gross and Net Proceeds
Chapter 12: Entertainment Contracts
Chapter 13: Independent Film Development, Financing, Contracts and Distribution
Section 5 - Voices
Chapter 14: Making It Into the Business
Gregory Bernstein has worked in the entertainment business for more than 35 years from both the business and creative sides - as an entertainment attorney, studio business affairs executive, WGA union senior executive, and award-winning screenwriter. After graduating from the UCLA Law School in 1980, Bernstein practiced entertainment law for two years at O’Melveny & Myers, an international law firm. He then worked for six years as vice-president of business affairs at Columbia and Tri-Star Pictures, negotiating more than a hundred acting, directing, producing, writing, rights, financing and distribution agreements. Following his studio executive years, Bernstein enrolled in the film directing program at the American Film Institute where he earned an MFA degree. Since leaving AFI, he has received writing credit on four films: Official Secrets, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival; the film stars Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, and Rhys Ifans; The Conspirator, which was released in 2011 and directed by Robert Redford, and for which Bernstein was awarded the Humanitas Prize; Trial and Error, which starred Charlize Theron, Jeff Daniels, and Michael Richards; and Call Me Claus, which starred Whoopi Goldberg. He has also sold scripts to Disney and DreamWorks. In 2003, Bernstein took a sabbatical from writing and entered the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he received a master's degree in public administration. Upon returning to Los Angeles, he served as the assistant executive director of the Writers Guild of America, West from 2004 until 2006. Since 2012, along with screenwriting, he has also taught film at Arizona State University.
"Whether you’re already in the business, or on the outside and looking in trying to make sense of the dizzying elements, this is an easy to read and comprehensive book from an expert who masterfully illuminates the fundamentals. As a screenwriter himself, Greg has now completed the task of weaving together the story of production as a business with the enabling elements that come before and after the cameras roll."
—Jeffrey Ulin, Author, The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV and Video Content in an Online World