Above-the-line: Above-the-line “refers to the list of individuals who guide and influence the creative direction, process, and voice of a given narrative in a film and related expenditures. These roles include but are not limited to the screenwriter, producer, director, and actors.”

Advance: “To pay money or render other value before it is due; or to furnish capital in aid of a projected enterprise, in expectation of return from it.”

Affirm: “To ratify, make firm, confirm, establish, reassert. To ratify or confirm a former law or judgment.”

Amend: “To improve; to make better by change or modification.”

Assign: “In conveyancing. To make or set over to another; to transfer; as to assign property, or some interest therein.”

Assignee: “A person to whom an assignment is made.”

Assignor: “One who makes an assignment of any kind; one who assigns or transfers property.”

Assigns: “Assignees; those to whom property shall have been transferred. Now seldom used except in the phrase, in deeds, “heirs, administrators, and assigns.”

Author: “One who produces, by his own intellectual labor applied to the materials of his composition, an arrangement or compilation new in itself.”

Below-the-line: Below-the-line “is a term derived from the top sheet of a film budget for motion pictures, television programs, industrial films, independent films, student films and documentaries as well as commercials. The “line” in “below-the-line” refers to the separation of production costs between script and story writers, producers, directors, actors, and casting (“above the-line”) and the rest of the crew, or production team.”

Consideration: “Any benefit conferred, or agreed to be conferred, upon the promisor, by any other person, to which the promisor Is not lawfully entitled, or any prejudice suffered, or agreed to be suffered, by such person, other than such as he is at the time of consent lawfully bound to suffer, as an inducement to the promisor, Is a good consideration for a promise.”

Contract: “An agreement, upon sufficient consideration, to do or not to do a particular thing.”

Covenant: “An agreement convention, or promise of two or more parties, by deed in writing, signed, sealed, and delivered, by which either of the parties pledges himself to the other that something is either done or shall be done, or stipulates for the truth of certain facts.”

Deal Memo: “A short informal document that establishes a business relationship in film and music production, before the development of a formal contract.”

Default: “The omission or failure to fulfill a duty, observe a promise, discharge an obligation, or perform an agreement.

Deferred Payment: “A loan arrangement in which the borrower is allowed to start making payments at some specified time in the future. Deferred payment arrangements are often used in retail settings where a person buys and receives an item with a commitment to begin making payments at a future date.”

Distributor: “An entity that buys noncompeting products or product lines, warehouses them, and resells them to retailers or direct to the end users or customers. Most distributors provide strong manpower and cash support to the supplier or manufacturer’s promotional efforts. They usually also provide a range of services (such as product information, estimates, technical support, after-sales services, credit) to their customers.”

Distribution Expenses: “Cost or expense incurred in moving goods from the point of production to the point of consumption.”

Distribution Rights: “Exclusive right of a copyright owner to distribute copies of the original work (book, illustration, photograph, record, software, etc.) to the public by sale, lease, or rental.”

Droit Moral: “In French law. Right, justice, equity, law, the whole body of law; also a right.

Execute: “To finish, accomplish, make complete, fulfill. To perform; obey the injunctions of. To make; as to execute a deed, which includes signing, sealing, and delivery. To perform; carry out according to its terms ; as to execute a contract. To fulfill the purpose of ; to obey; to perform the commands of; as to execute a writ.”

Film Adaptation: “A film adaptation is the transfer of a work or story, in whole or in part, to a feature film.”

First-Dollar Gross: “This is the first monies received by the film distributor after releasing their film before any of taxes, fees, expenses or debts are paid off. If an actor or director receives a first dollar gross deal, this means that they get a percentage of this gross income taken in by the studio.”

First Monies: Generally this is the earliest monies a film generates following its release. Distributors and gross profits will be paid first.

Force Majeure:  “In the law of insurance. Superior or irresistible force.

IFTA: Independent Film & Television Alliance.

In Perpetuity: “A future limitation, whether executory or by way of remainder, and of either real or personal property, which is not to vest until after the expiration of or will not necessarily vest within the period fixed and prescribed by law for the creation of future estates and interests, and which is not destructible by the persons for the time being entitled to the property subject to the future limitation, except with the concurrence of the individual interested under that limitation.”

Indemnify: “To save harmless; to secure against loss or damage; to give security for the reimbursement of a person in case of an anticipated loss falling upon him. Also to make good; to compensate; to make reimbursement to one of a loss already incurred by him. ”

Intellectual Property: “Intellectual property prevents one person or organization from stealing another person or organization’s ideas. Intellectual property covers a large area of law, including patents, trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets.

Invasion of Privacy: “A term that means the privacy of a person has been invaded.”

Irrevocable: Irrevocable is that “which cannot be revoked or recalled.”

Libel: “Defamatory statement published through any manner or media. If intended to simply bring contempt, disrespect, hatred, or ridicule to a person or entity it is likely a civil breach of law. However, if it causes mayhem or breach of peace, it can be a criminal breach of law. Yet, again, if the statement is newsworthy, even if defamatory, proof of benefit to the public is required to avoid criminal complaint.”

Licensee: “A person to whom a license has been granted. In patent law. One who has had transferred to him, either in writing or orally, a less or different interest than either the interest in the whole patent, or an undivided part of such whole interest, or an exclusive sectional interest.”

Licensor: “The person who gives or grants a license.”

Litigation: “A judicial controversy. A contest in a court of justice, for the purpose of enforcing a right.”

Negative Cost: “Negative Cost is the net expense to produce and shoot a film, excluding such expenditures as distribution and promotion.”

Negative Pickup: “In film production, a negative pickup is a contract entered into by an independent producer and a movie studio wherein the studio agrees to purchase the movie from the producer at a given date and for a fixed sum.”

Net Profit: “The amount by which income from sales is larger than all expenditure.”


Obligation: “An obligation is a legal duty, by which a person is bound to do or not to do a certain thing.”

Rescind: “To abrogate, annul, avoid, or cancel a contract; particularly, nullifying a contract by the act of a party.”

Right of Privacy: “The right of a person to go his own way and live his own life that is free from interferences and annoyances.

Talent: “1. Natural ability to excel in a duty or action. 2. Group of people with an aptitude for certain tasks.”

Warranty: “In contracts. An undertaking or stipulation, in writing, or verbally, that a certain fact in relation to the subject of a contract is or shall be as it is stated or promised to be.”