Insuring your productionJan 25, 2023
Welcome back fellow filmmakers, and hello to any new aspiring creators who are just starting on this exciting journey.
We are deep into pre-production and are slowly but surely making our way to the big premiere screening of your film. If you haven’t been following our pre-production series, be sure to explore the other topics on the blog page.
Making movies is really fun and rewarding, but to make sure you have a safe space to work in there is one very important topic we have to discuss… Insurance!
Don’t click away!!
Trust me, I get it. The word sends a shiver down our spines and makes the hairs on the back of our neck stand up. But, it is a vital part of the filmmaking.
It can very tempting to cut corners when it comes to insurance, especially when the likelihood of something going wrong seems slim. But, as the old saying goes: Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.
The place to begin these discussions is early into pre-production as possible. Not only does this give you time to work out what you need and who it will cover, but it also allows you to find the most cost effective cover possible.
For example, there was this little known about pandemic that greatly effected our productions at Moonshine Agency. Understandably, all of our flights and plans were cancelled. But, our insurance had been organised in and before the pre-production phase, so all our costs were covered.
So, today we are going to talk about the different insurances involved in making a film. The absolute must haves, the case dependents and the “why didn’t we make sure we had insurance for that!!!?”’s.
Must, must, must!
An absolute must have when shooting on location is public liability insurance. If you’re already working on a tight budget, the last thing you want is to be paying the bills for someone who tripped on your extension lead and their injury means they can’t go to work and earn their own living any more - yep you’d be liable not just for their medical bills but for lost income and potentially much more…yikes!
Which is essentially what it public liability insurance covers. Being in the public means lots of things happening out of your control and although you may do everything correctly to manage your production, things can still go wrong.
But always remember, regardless of your insurance - if you’re not working safely and legally, your insurance may not cover you.
Now if this all seems overwhelming, don’t fear, as you can employ someone to know all of this information for you! This person is an insurance broker.
An insurance broker is the travel agent of insurance! They’ll work out what you need, compare prices, organise and eventually take a commission. But most importantly, if something does go wrong, the broker can handle the application.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
If you're making a film, chances are you’re also handling a lot of different equipment. Losing equipment or having it get damaged isn’t just an expensive exercise but can also be incredibly time consuming.
Having the insurance there to cover an incident like that means you get back to production without too many consequences.
Speaking of consequences, another insurance you might come across is E&O, errors and omissions. Whether you need this particular insurance can be dependent on the content of your documentary. Especially if it is delving into controversial topics or high profile names and companies. Essentially, it covers you if your film is accidentally inaccurate, defames someone or includes factual errors.
Best to speak to your lawyer as the whether you need E&O insurance for your film. It might be a requirement of your investors. Or simply not that relevant depending on your topic.
But regardless of whether you take out E&O insurance, do you absolute best to fact check your film content and avoid defaming or providing inaccurate information within your film. Just because your interviewee said it, expert or not, does not mean you can publish it without making sure it’s accurate. You’re the one publishing the information.
Bake into your budget
Talking insurance when working on a creative project can be a real downer, but if you don’t consider it and something does go pear shaped, it could mean the end of your production.
So, not only do I recommend taking out all these insurances, but really investing the money into making sure you have the best cover possible. Leaving room for a potential disaster just isn’t worth it.
One last thing, when you’re just starting out in film making it is very common for your crew or cast to be volunteers. Depending on your location, this changes the types of insurances you need and who will be covered. So it’s important that you speak with your insurance broker and lawyer so you know exactly what you need.
If this week was a bit gruelling for you, fear not, as next week we move onto location scouting! Though there is a lot more to it then just scoping out scenery, it is exciting to be able to see exactly where your film will take place.
If you’re looking for more information, be sure to check out our resource page above and if you’re looking for something you can’t find, don’t hesitate to reach out via e-mail or social media and we’ll provide you with exactly what you need.
Until then, contact your broker!
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