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Legal

CONTRACTING WITH VICSCREEN

If your application for funding is successful, you will be required to enter into a written funding agreement with VicScreen. The funding agreement will set out all the terms upon which the VicScreen funds will be provided to you. 

Below we have set out some information and answers to frequently asked questions, which might be helpful to you when contracting with VicScreen. 

This information is intended as a general guide only. If you have any specific questions about the contracting for your project, you should feel free to contact us.  

YOUR FUNDING AGREEMENT WITH VICSCREEN 

I have a business name - can I enter into an agreement with VicScreen using my business name? 

If you have a registered business name, you can enter into a contract using that name. However, a business name is not a separate legal entity (like an individual person or an incorporated company).

For that reason, the contract will be prepared between VicScreen and you, trading as your business name (for example, A Jones trading as A Jones Films). 

 

My project details have changed - what do I do? 

If any of the details of your project change (for example, the key personnel, the production schedule, the amount of the budget, the finance structure, delivery dates), you will need to inform the relevant VicScreen Program Manager in writing immediately. VicScreen will then consider these changes, and determine if they are approved. Any approved changes may need to be reflected in your funding agreement with VicScreen. 

If you make substantial changes to your project after it has been approved for funding by VicScreen (so that the project is substantially different from that reflected in your funding application), it may impact upon VicScreen's funding

I have received the VicScreen funding agreement - do I need a lawyer? 

Your funding agreement will set out all of your obligations to VicScreen in relation to your project, and the expenditure of the funds VicScreen provides to you. It is very important that you understand those obligations. 

For that reason, you may wish to obtain independent legal advice in relation to the funding agreement, from an appropriately qualified lawyer. You may also be able to obtain legal advice from the Arts Law Centre of Australia

You will need to make your own determination about the solicitor that is right for you. VicScreen does not make any representation or warranty about the legal service providers listed in the Industry Directory

Where necessary, we encourage you to budget for legal services by including a line item in your budget. 

ABN & GST

What is an ABN? 

An ABN is a number given to legal entities registered with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) which are carrying on business in Australia. 

An ABN is used by the ATO to track a business's ongoing tax obligations, specifically with respect to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and provides a mechanism for businesses doing business with one another to handle incoming and outgoing GST. 

You do not need to become a business to gain an ABN. You can operate as a sole trader. 

 

I don't have an ABN - do I need one before I enter into an agreement with VicScreen? 

VicScreen generally prefers applicants to have ABNs. There are two reasons for this: 

→ businesses must register for GST, and they need an ABN to do this, once they reach a certain annual turnover, and 

→ if a business does not have an ABN, VicScreen is required by law to withhold tax from any payment to that business at the top marginal tax rate. 

The process for registering for an ABN is relatively straightforward. If you do not have an ABN, you may wish to seek independent financial or accounting advice before registering for one, to ensure that your business affairs are appropriately structured. 

I have an ABN but I am not registered for GST - can I still enter into an agreement with VicScreen? 

As long as you have an ABN, VicScreen can pay you the full amount of funds granted to you. If you are not registered for GST, VicScreen is not required to pay any GST to you in respect of the funds, and you are not entitled to invoice VicScreen for GST. 

 

I have an ABN and I am registered for GST - does VicScreen have to pay GST to me, on top of the approved funds? 

Yes. If you are registered for GST, you must advise VicScreen and provide your ABN details and VicScreen will pay any GST. You do not need to provide VicScreen with a tax invoice, as VicScreen will provide a recipient created tax invoice. 

 

I will pay some of the funds I receive from VicScreen to another person involved in my project (for example, a writer or script editor). That person has invoiced me for GST - do I have to pay the GST amount? 

Yes. You will need to pay any GST that applies to the services you receive from another person, regardless of whether or not you are registered for GST. 

PAYMENT

My application to VicScreen was successful - when will I be paid?

Before any funds are paid, you will be required to enter into and sign a written funding agreement with VicScreen.

VicScreen will generally be in a position to forward your funding agreement to you for signing around 20 days from the date of approval of your application, subject to VicScreen receiving any required updates from you (such as budgets). 

Please note that these time estimates do not generally apply to assigned production investment, where the timing of the contracting process will depend on a number of factors including the finalisation of the finance structure. 

The funding agreement will set out how the approved funds will be paid to you - those funds will usually be paid in at least two instalments, with conditions to be satisfied by you prior to the payment of each instalment. 

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

Under my funding agreement I am required to provide chain of title documents - what is chain of title? 

Chain of title is a term commonly used to refer to a series of documents that establish that you own all the necessary rights (including copyright) to allow you to develop, produce and market your project. If you are required to provide chain of title documents under your agreement, VicScreen will be entitled to approve those documents. 

Documents which might typically form the chain of title for a project include: 

→ Writer's Agreements 

→ Script Editor's Agreements 

→ Option and Assignment Agreements (if you are basing the script for your project on someone else's work, such as a novel) 

→ Producer's Agreements, and 

→ Director's Agreements. 

Download examples of Script Consultant's Agreement and Researcher's Agreement.

You will need to establish for VicScreen, at each relevant stage of your project, that you own all necessary rights and have the appropriate chain of title documents.  

Under my funding agreement I am required to provide a solicitor's opinion - what is an opinion letter? 

The requirement for you to provide a solicitor's opinion letter applies to some (but not all) of VicScreen's funding programs. The solicitor's opinion letter needs to be from an independent solicitor, certifying that you have acquired all the necessary rights to enable you to develop, market and produce your project. 

Generally, VicScreen will require a solicitor's opinion letter prior to payment of the first instalment of funds. In some instances, VicScreen may also require a second solicitor's opinion letter prior to the payment of the final instalment of the funds. 

In order to provide these opinion letters, your lawyer will need to review all relevant Chain of Title and other documents and confirm that you have acquired all necessary rights to make and exploit your project. Pro forma opinion letters are available from VicScreen upon request. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION & QUERIES

If you require more information, contact the relevant VicScreen program staff member. Please refer to the relevant Program Guidelines for contact details.  

For questions about your funding agreement, contact: 
Emma Cornall, Lawyer, 03 9660 3242