Producing a screen project for first time can be daunting. Getting your project from script to screen will inevitably involve new challenges and learning on the run.
One key aspect of screen production that every producer needs to know is Chain of Title.
What is Chain of Title?
Chain of Title refers to the series of agreements which show that you, the applicant, own all the necessary rights (including copyright) to allow you to develop, produce and market your project.
Funding bodies (e.g. Screen Australia, Create NSW or Film Victoria), investors and financiers care about Chain of Title because they want to be sure that you actually have the legal right to produce your project.
As the producer, you need to demonstrate that you have clear title to all of the materials and works that are used in the making of your project. These works or materials may include, for example, a book, short story or other written work on which the script for the project is based, the script itself, the musical works that will be used in the production, audio-visual content and other creative contributions from participants in the project.
To demonstrate that you own all necessary rights you will need appropriate chain of title agreements which transfer those rights to the producing entity. A written agreement is required to transfer those rights. Chain of Title agreements may include:
- Option and Assignment Agreement (if you are basing the script for your project on someone else’s work, such as a book);
- Writer’s Agreement;
- Producer’s Agreement; and
- Director’s Agreement.
What is a Solicitor’s Chain of Title Opinion Letter?
When applying for development or production funding from Screen Australia or the State and Territory screen bodies, you may be required to prove that you have chain of title by providing a chain of title opinion letter from an appropriately qualified lawyer.
What this means is that you are required to engage an independent lawyer to examine your chain of title documents and certify that you have the requisite rights to develop, market and produce your project.
The opinion letter gives the screen bodies, and any other relevant stakeholders, comfort that you own all the rights in the project.
Do You Need a Solicitor’s Opinion Letter?
If you need a Solicitor’s Opinion Letter, we can help! Our specialist Entertainment Lawyers have helped producers with advising on their Chain of Title for the purposes of securing funding from screen funding bodies. If you need our help, get in touch using the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.