Attending Live Documentary Events + Documentary Entertainment Law Conversation with Entertainment Lawyer, Gordon Firemark

As a documentary filmmaker, often the idea of having to wrangle talent releases, location releases, crew deal memos, music rights, all seems like a world that is not really ours. That’s for the feature film and television people, right? Wrong. Like, you couldn’t be more wrong.


In fact, having the proper releases and for-use-opinions properly in place could be the difference in you legally being able to get real world distribution and you only being able to show your film to family and friends. And the best way to do that is to arm yourself with a great entertainment lawyer. Like, Gordon Firemark, for instance. And Gordon was so kind as to make an appearance on this episode of The Documentary Life.


Topics Discussed

  • importance of getting legal releases asap
  • definition of Fair Use and how doc filmmakers can and can’t use it
  • how doc filmmakers tend to hire entertainment lawyers after-the-fact, and how and why they should be consulting with one well before their project is underway
  • how exclusive story rights work


Attending Live Documentary Events

In our first segment, I make the argument for attending live documentary events, such as documentary film festivals, workshops, and weekend retreats. By attending these types of events, you give yourself the best chance of not only expanding your documentary knowledge, but of meeting other like-minded individuals who often have some of the very same challenges with doc filmmaking and their doc lives that you do!


Related Resources

In our conversation with entertainment lawyer, Gordon Firemark, we talk about his Documentary Legal Forms and Contracts Packets that he has put together and made available for sale to the documentary filmmaker.


Both the Starter Pack as well as the Post Production Pack can be purchased by going to .


Don’t forget to use the promo code MYDOCLIFE in order to receive a 25 percent discount!


Ask Gordon a Question!

If you’ve got a documentary legal question for Gordon, ask away in the comments section below and he may answer your question on his Youtube channel!



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Host and TDL Founder, Chris G Parkhurst

Chris is a documentary filmmaker and the founder and host of The Documentary Life, a platform which aims to inform and inspire documentary filmmakers from around the globe.

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