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Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup

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Ebony SonnenbergPros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 27, 2011 at 8:37:34 pm

Hi everyone, I'm Ebony, new to the COW.

My question is this:

What are the pros and cons of starting my own production company? I have just begun work on my own documentary, and have read in various places that I should start the business, but there is never a why or because.

I like to work at my own pace, and one of my concerns is that owning the a business would just add more work rather than any sbenefit. I'm a wahm of 3, military spouse, volunteer, writer, primary sock matcher in my house, and now I add producer/documentarian to my list. Do I really need to add more to my plate right now?

Any comments would be appreciated, especially whether you do or do not own your own production company and why.

Thanks a whole lot!
Ebony


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Craig SeemanRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 27, 2011 at 10:50:45 pm

It really depends on where you want to go with this. Is this your only project or do you work with other clients?
It depends on what you mean by "Production Company"
It can be doing a DBA (Doing Business As) or an LLC (Limited Liability Company) or S-Corporation. You may want the LLC or S-Corporation to limit personal liability or otherwise handle the economics.
I'm a small business with a DBA and sole proprietorship.



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Ebony SonnenbergRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:29:17 am

Thanks! I work with others, but usually for fun :D


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Richard CooperRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 27, 2011 at 10:54:25 pm

It is either a "hobby" or a "livelihood"

Once you decide this, or once there is money exchanging hands you have your answer. Just a hobby? why not still get a business license and gain some TAX relief from your equipment purchases anyway.

Bottom line if you ever plan on making any money doing this, a business is the way to go.... even if it is on paper.

Better to be somewhat prepared for the possibility of success than to have a chance at success and fail because you were not ready for it.

Good Luck!

Richard Cooper
FrostLine Productions, LLC
Anchorage, Alaska
http://www.frostlineproductions.com


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Ebony SonnenbergRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:31:03 am

[Richard Cooper] "Better to be somewhat prepared for the possibility of success than to have a chance at success and fail because you were not ready for it.
"


This just made my day! If for no other than to prepare for success, I should start that business :D

Thanks!


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Tod LautenbergRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Dec 3, 2013 at 5:33:44 pm

so you like a dab or llc?


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Cory PetkovsekRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:31:04 am

there are plenty of threads already on this, as well as many other places on the internet. The bottom line is if you have no drive to start your own production company, DON'T!

You'll work all the time, and wear many hats that you don't wear now. You already have many non-business hats. Your company will take over your life to get it off the ground. There are benefits to it, but starting a business because you "read in various places that you should" is not a wise decision.

Here's one such thread:
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/50/857988

Cory

--
Cory Petkovsek
Corporate Video


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Ebony SonnenbergRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:34:20 am

Thanks! I guess my heart should really be in it before I decide to move forward with it... so it's a good thing that my mind tells my heart what to do! haha. I think it would be a good exercise in time management for me, adding just one more thing :D


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Ebony SonnenbergRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:17:51 am

Thanks! I guess my heart should really be in it before I decide to move forward with it...

And thanks for the link, headed over now :)


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David Roth WeissRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:17:05 am

There is some protection from personal liability that wiuld be afforded to you if your documentary is owned by a company rather than by you personally. Some of that is real, some just perceived, but the bottom line is, you do gain a certain amount of credibility by having a company that will discourage threats of lawsuits, while also encouraging people to trust you and desire to appear in your films.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Ebony SonnenbergRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:38:08 am

Thank you! Credibility is not something I have given much thought to, being that I'll be documenting reality, but I see how that could affect the distribution, even if it is only to our local community.


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David Roth WeissRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 12:55:10 am

[Ebony Sonnenberg] "Credibility is not something I have given much thought to, being that I'll be documenting reality"

Ah, but you see, credibility is everything in documentaries, because the audience doesn't know anymore who's really documenting reality vs. who's creating it. Is reality real? Is the news really journalism anymore?

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Ebony SonnenbergRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:16:27 am

That's incredibly and sadly true. I've seen such 'creative' spin on some things, it may as well have been scripted.

I appreciate your re-response, credibility is definitely something I'll need with this topic, and even though I have it in my small community, I cannot assume everyone else knows and loves me, ha.

This issue of reliable journalism is one of the reasons I'm starting with this doc project...


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Nick GriffinRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 2:54:04 pm

All of the comments so far are sensible for their own reasons. However Ebony must answer the "why" question. Why would you want to be in business?

1) Is it to protect yourself from potential liability?
2) Is it to be able to depreciate equipment and assets more quickly and simply?
3) Is it to simplify your personal taxes at the expense of having to also do corporate returns?
4) Is it to grow beyond this initial project?

5) Or is it simply to create more of an appearance of credibility?

Most of us here operate as a business for one or more of the first 4 reasons. If you have a good reason, then by all means it probably makes sense. If it's just a "wouldn't it be fun to…" then it's probably not worth the trouble and expense.


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Ebony SonnenbergRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:21:34 am

Thanks!
I know having a business would protect my family from liability, and if I do it right, could have the potential to allow for growth beyond this current project, aided by the credibility and structure a business would create.

Those questions put things into quite a clear perspective, and I can honestly say after reading this, and the other comments, I will be moving forward with starting that business.


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Jeff CadgeRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 5:02:25 pm

Please keep in mind there may be fees involved when incorporating, it varies state to state.

http://www.startupnation.com/What-state-is-the-Lowest-cost-for-LLC/topic/

In New York there is an extra $325.00 per year to file you return regardless if you had any activity
in the business.

And if you don't file a return there are fines and I think if you choose to dissolve your company there are additional fees for that.

Best,

Jeff Cadge
Cadge Productions Inc.


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Cory PetkovsekRe: Pros and Cons of a Production Company startup
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:05:24 pm

Jeff Cadge >> In New York there is an extra $325.00 per year

Yeah, in california it's $800 minimum to have a corp/llc. :(

Cory

--
Cory Petkovsek
Corporate Video


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