Regardless of the scope of your film or series, the number of cast and crew members you have, or the size of your budget, approach every production as if it has the potential to be sold to a major distributor and to reach the widest audience possible.
Never start by thinking, “This is just a student project,” or “This is only a short.” You’re making a film. Treat it as professional filmmakers treat their films: seriously.
It’s never too early in anyone's career to get into the habit of doing one's due diligence and getting all of one's business ducks in a row before starting production. To quote Utah Filmmaker™ , Ryan Templeman:
Working on a film—In front of and behind the camera—is no different from working at any other job in that it demands the time and labor of individuals. The relationship between the producer(s) of a film and the cast and crew needed to complete it is one of employment. Federal law requires that anyone who is employed to provide a service must be compensated by their employer.
There are several variations of the employment relationship—principally defined by tax laws—and every one of them can be implemented at all levels within a single film production. Compensation can take various forms as well but, generally speaking, it's a wage and the federal government has defined an hourly minimum that employers can legally pay their workers. It can also be seen as the lowest price for which a worker can legally sell their labor.
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† These forms and/or templates are presently in development.
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