Working Title is one of the world’s leading producers of film and television.
Its Business & Legal Affairs Department, which consists of four solicitors, deals with every business and legal aspect of developing, producing, distributing and marketing feature films and television series.
The “business affairs” role within the department involves the lawyers negotiating and concluding deal terms for talent (e.g. writers, actors, producers, directors). “Business affairs” also encompasses the negotiation of rights deals with parties who own underlying rights, whether it’s the owner of rights in a book or another producer that owns rights in a project and wants to make it with Working Title.
Once a business deal has been concluded with the agent or lawyer representing the talent or other party, the legal paperwork is then drawn up, negotiated and concluded by the lawyers within the department.
Almost every aspect of a production will have some legal consequence or implication. To take a typical scene shot in a location like a restaurant, everyone behind the camera (from the director and cinematographer through to the electricians) will be on a legal contract. There will be a location agreement with the restaurant owner. There will be contracts for the actors, make-up artists, and costume designers. The writers of the script, and if the script is based on a book, the author, will be contracted. If a famous brand of bottled water is used in the scene, there may well be legal paperwork with the owner of such a brand. If there are paintings hanging on the restaurant walls, a legal release document may need to be signed to grant permission for its use on screen.
The department will also supervise the review of scripts to ensure that nothing defamatory or otherwise controversial is included. It is the responsibility of the department to make sure that all such aspects are covered adequately and the company is conducting itself responsibly and legally. Needless to say, the paperwork is plentiful and demanding!
- Drafting Non-Disclosure Agreements and Certificates of Engagement using WT precedents.
- Draft option extension letters/agreements, using WT precedents, for both the Film and Television departments.
- Updating WT precedent agreements in line with policy changes as and when required by the department.
- Carry out legal research using PLC and/or other legal databases, summarising and extrapolating the salient points.
- Prepare accurate and succinct deal summaries.
- Assist the department with delivery matters and procedures for film and television projects e.g. preparing and applying for Certificates of Origin, uploading agreements to the studio’s delivery databases.
- Manage and update the film and television options tracker table and contingent compensation trackers.
- Assist with rights related queries in relation to WT’s film and television projects.
- Assist in the preparation and organisation of clearance documentation.
- Prepare paid ads summaries, dubbing and subtitles and other credit related summary documents.
- Liaise with the Finance team to prepare contract bundles for audit requests.
- Assist the department with draft billing blocks, main titles, end rollers for each production.
- Manage the department’s filing systems (both online and physical storage) in relation to contracts and other legal documents including indexing and retrieval.
- Efficiently manage the department’s internal invoicing systems and liaise with the Finance team to ensure that invoices are processed accurately within a timely manner.
- Manage and coordinate contract approvals and execution including by way of DocuSign.
- Act as a first point of contact for general day-to-day enquiries, and as a filter to facilitate answers to queries across all internal departments as needed.
- Carry out general administrative duties, including: diary management and co-ordinating arrangements for meetings (in person and via Teams), taking calls, filing emails, managing team’s expenses plus travel, managing the signing and invoicing process with respect to all contracts.
- Undertake all other tasks as allocated by the team.
- Academic Legal Qualification i.e. LLB or equivalent. Consideration will be given to candidates with significant in-house legal/business affairs experience and/or equivalent qualifications from another common law jurisdiction.
- Strong educational background.
- Experience in dealing with contracts and legal documents, and an understanding of contractual language.
- Ability to work in a fast-paced, changing environment with a diverse and often heavy workload.
- Ability to identify, prioritise and manage urgent work assignments, and manage expectations in respect of other tasks.
- Computer expertise with proficiency in Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills with an ability to interact with a range of personalities, and establish effective relationships internally and externally.
- Highly organised and efficient with excellent attention to detail.
- Experience working within a media team of a law firm as a contracts executive or paralegal or in-house experience at a major studio, distributor, production company, broadcaster or equivalent.
- Creative approach to problem solving.
- An enthusiasm for the entertainment industry and film and television in particular.
- Friendly, approachable and confident manner with a flexible can do attitude.
- Proactive and responsible team player, taking pride in the role.
- Ability to know when to ask for assistance and guidance from more senior members of the team.
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