To Incorporate or not to Incorporate? THAT is the Question (Part 2)

Cover of "Boxing Helena"
Cover of Boxing Helena

This is part 2 of Anker Reed HSC’s blog series entitled “To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate? That is the Question”.

“The ‘loanout’ company is a ‘Hollywood’ term for a device that has received wide acceptance among doctors and lawyers-the personal service corporation.”(Klinger, 1986) “In the typical loan-out, an individual service provider forms a corporation in which she is the sole or majority shareholder as well as the sole or principal employee. The corporation then negotiates with a third party-the ‘borrower’–to ‘lend’ the services of the controlling shareholder-employee for a price.” (LaFrance, 1995) The third party will then pay the amount of the contract to the loan-out corporation, which will then pay a salary to the shareholder/employee. A studio or production company will usually not contract with the loan-out company unless it specifically expresses that the contract is for the services of the entertainer and the entertainer has signed the contract on his or her own behalf. A lawsuit involving Kim Basinger and the producers of the feature film “Boxing Helena” addressed this issue.

The contract for Ms. Basinger’s services was between the production company, Main Line Pictures, Inc. and Ms. Basinger’s loan-out company, Mighty Wind Productions, Inc. Ms. Basinger signed the contract as an agent for her loan-out company, but nowhere did she sign on her own behalf.’ The contract was between Main Line and Mighty Wind; Ms. Basinger, as an individual, was not a party.’ Therefore, it appeared that it was not Ms. Basinger who was obligated to perform on the contract, but it was Mighty Wind who was so obligated.

In an unpublished opinion by the California Court of Appeal, it was stated, “If the contract is only with Mighty Wind, then only Mighty Wind can be liable for breach of the contract.”

* For specific inquiries regarding a business legal matter that you may have, you are welcome to visit our Business Disputes legal services page.

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To Incorporate or not to Incorporate? THAT is the Question (Part 1)

NASA Television 2009 Philo T. Farnsworth Prime...
Image by nasa hq photo via Flickr

This is part 1 of Anker Reed HSC’s blog series entitled “To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate? That is the Question”.

This is the moment that you have been waiting for all of your life. The years of summer stock, off-off Broadway, and guest roles are over. You can smell it. You can taste it. Obscurity is a thing of the past-fame and fortune, here you come. Cha-ching! You are so close that you can see and smell the money and fame. A role in a television series or a part in a feature film. No more guest spots on “Friends” or “Home Improvement” or extra-work.

On those projects you were almost considered scenery. That was not really acting. One week of work; two lines of dialogue if you were lucky. Now you are going to be one of the stars. You have Emmy Awards and Oscars in your sights.

You have been around for a while in this business. You have made friends. And where there are friends, there is advice. Everyone has an idea. Everyone has a plan. Everyone knows the way to go. In the time that you have been a professional performer you have heard a lot of things. You have heard suggestions about hiring a personal manager or not hiring a personal manager. You have heard about this agent that is better than that agent. And you have heard about incorporating.

Everyone has been saying to incorporate. It seems that in Hollywood everyone in the entertainment industry has incorporated. One friend says to incorporate in California. Another friend says that Delaware is the place to incorporate. But what is the answer? Should you incorporate? What about other forms of business entities, such as a limited liability company or a partnership? And more importantly, what are the benefits and drawbacks to incorporating?

For answers to these questions you should see two people: an attorney and an accountant.

* For specific inquiries regarding a business legal matter that you may have, you are welcome to visit our Business Organization Formation legal services page.

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