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Phil Cooke Podcast

Feb 26, 2019

Are legal issues holding your film project or idea back? Phil Cooke interviews Hollywood-based entertainment attorney Sam Curphey about contracts, memos and other legal topics filmmakers must deal with.


Sam Curphey represents producers, writers, directors, actors, rights holders, and on-screen and new media talent.  He is a guest lecturer on entertainment legal topics at Act One and at Biola University and a member of the State Bar of California. He has been the production attorney for “Woodlawn” and “Mom’s Night Out” and other films and represents individual clients including YouTube stars Dude Perfect.


Topics covered in this interview include:

Why do I need an entertainment lawyer?

How soon should I call an attorney about my project or film?

Can I use my uncle who is an insurance attorney for my film project?

What’s the biggest mistake Sam has seen filmmakers make?

How can I protect my idea? Should I ask for a NDA (non-disclosure agreement)?

Should I sign a script submission release?

What is fair use? What’s a safe way to shoot if I’m not sure about fair use in my film?

Do I need to be concerned about legal issues with my YouTube video?

Do I need an LLC?

I have a limited budget; how much does it cost to hire an attorney?


Other topics include:copyright laws, chain of title, memos, contracts, release forms, partner agreements, E&O insurance, public domain, fair use, and more.


Take away thoughts:

  • Don’t be intimated by the legal process. Spend the money to avoid legal issues.
  • Contracts are a way to protect and preserve friendships.
  • It’s never too early for an initial phone call with an entertainment attorney. It’s better to get things signed up front while people are excited about the project.


Find out more about Sam Curphey here:


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