Dec 23rd

Cameras Rolling All Night Long

By Fylms Insurance Services

“She’s totally onto you, man.”  Rich Rickley, talent agent.  Drama.  A cigarette.

Got all that?  Good.  Be back here in two days with a movie.  Good luck.

Seem abrupt?  Welcome to the 48 Hour Challenge.

Every year, filmmakers enlist in the 48 Hour Challenge, where they’re given a prop, a character, a genre, and a line of dialogue.  They have two days to put together a short film to show to audiences at local movie theaters.

Pittsburgh is no stranger to filmmaking.  Our streets saw The Silence of the Lambs and Night of the Living Dead, and Twilight’s Taylor Lautner is in town while he films his next movie.  Pittsburgh’s beautiful skyline and unique flair makes for fantastic settings and wonderful stories, and our colleges and universities offer thriving education for tomorrow’s budding actors, screenwriters, and directors.

The 48 Hour Film Project has its Pittsburgh page here.  Take some time to check it out – there’s a blog with some fantastic stories from the filmmakers themselves, as well as a list of winners.  Maybe next year, you’ll make some time to go see the hard work and dedication of the contestants.  Or even better – maybe you’ll make a 48-hour film of your own.

Dec 8th

In Reality, Anything Can Happen!

By Fylms Insurance Services
 Reality shows such as “WHIPEOUT” and “Survivor” are exciting, unpredictable, and an insurance company’s worst nightmare.  The price filmmakers pay all depends on the premise of the show and what kinds of extreme challenges contestants will be participating in. 
First and foremost, I suggest General Liability coverage. This will protect you from claims that could come from bodily injury and/or property damage that you, your film crew, and participants could potentially create.   For example, during a pumpkin slinging challenge, a contestant slings a pumpkin and hits a pedestrian (not my best reality show idea).  A lawsuit from a third party could occur and General Liability, which is the core coverage for every production, will react .
Every girl’s worst nightmare is being dumped by the man of her dreams; this is amplified by 1000 when it happens on national television in front of the entire world.  After this poor participant has a nervous breakdown and tries to sue you for emotional distress, Errors and Omissions insurance will have you covered.  Even with a strong release/agreement, a participant may claim personal injury because the show exploited and humiliated them. The cure to cover these types of exposure would be Errors & Omissions coverage.  
In reality television the participants are not eligible for workers compensation coverage, this is when a Group Accident policy is necessary.   The key is getting Accidental Death, Dismemberment and Medical coverage.   For example, if a participant breaks an arm (possibly another incident with the pumpkin slinger) they will need emergency medical care. This coverage will provide medical and life coverage
Before producing your award winning reality show make sure you have a clear idea of the challenges that you want your contestants to participate in, establish strong legal agreements, conduct background checks and medical exams, and establish safety and risk management guidelines. 
Always be prepared, because in reality anything can happen!
Oct 26th

"I would like to thank.....My Insurer"

By Fylms Insurance Services

 Filming a movie can no doubt be very expensive; Avatar’s budget alone was almost $300 million. Imagine during the last week of shooting the main character of your movie is involved in an accident, you don’t have cast insurance to pay for the many days of recovery they will need and shooting time you will lose.  For example, cast insurance came into effect in 2000 Nicole Kidman injured her knee during the filming of Moulin Rouge, which resulted in two claims for delays and a $3 million insurance loss.


This would be covered under Cast insurance, which covers any costs that can arise if a production is stopped due to loss of a cast member, director or any personnel.  Cast Insurance is often responsible for some of the largest film insurance claims. A good example of this took place in March of 1994 when the producers of "Wagons East" collected $14.5 million when actor John Candy died with nearly 20 percent of production remaining.  


The script supervisor on the set of your movie doesn’t notice that a coke can is clearly visible in a shot. This is where Errors and Omissions Insurance covers your film from any accidental uses of trademark logos, property, and even subsidiary music in your film. If you get sued by Coke a Cola in a civil suit for any usage, this will cover it. 



The most common and core insurance your film will need is General Production Insurance.  This will cover all your general liability, workers compensation, and business auto needs.  For example, an assistant drives off set to get coffee for the crew, and gets into an accident; this will be covered under business auto insurance.  Also any shooting time lost due to inclement weather or damaged equipment. 

Some of the most widely recognized and reliable insurance carriers for production insurance are Chubb Insurance Co. AIG, and Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., which insured 2001’s Academy Award nominees Lord of the Rings. 

Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. has been involved in some of the most expensive and famous claims.  During the filming of Field of Dreams, producers were on the verge of filing a claim with Fireman's because the corn in the field used for crucial scenes just wasn't growing high enough. So the insurance company installed a quarter million dollar irrigation system in the field to help, rather than pay out millions in losses. Even after this was installed the corn still didn't grow; Fireman’s ended up paying to have a trench dug in front of the field that the actors could stand in to make the corn appear taller.

Fireman’s Fund was the underwriter for Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade when illness struck the 2,000 rats that were supposed to surge through catacombs. Fireman's asked what was the least number of rats that could get sick to continue filming and the producers said 1,000. “We agreed to underwrite them for 1, 000," says Fireman’s Fund, "It was the first insurance policy with a 1,000-rat deductible.”

Another expensive claim Fireman’s ended up paying on happened when a typhoon destroyed the sets being used in director Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Fireman's paid out $1.5 million in typhoon insurance only for the director rebuilt the set so it could be burned down for the film.

Insurance is a standard and crucial component of the filmmaking process whether your corn isn’t growing fast enough or the main character of your movie has an injury.  Insurance could be the determining factor whether you walk the red carpet or not. 

Oct 25th

Student Film Insurance

By Fylms Insurance Services
College students remember those few weeks before summer break as they sip coffee, poring over textbooks and papers one last time with tired eyes. The words “finals week” brings sweat to their brow and a shortness of breath. Now imagine all of this – on top of the words “one more take.”

Student film coverage is filled through the school, and coverage types are as diverse as the schools themselves. What happens when a costume gets torn beyond repair? What if the cameraman trips and drops valuable equipment? Student film production might not seem as grand as summer blockbusters, but they carry their own set of risks and accidents that might pop out of nowhere.

Student film coverage is varied and depends largely on the school’s policy. For example, Kelly Insurance Group’s has over 50 student film policies that offer coverage for wardrobe, third party damage, automobile liability, and general liability. Stunts, however, are an additional cost outside of the regular policy, and only productions in the US and Canada can qualify for insurance.

If you’re a student at a film school, look up your school’s insurance policy online, know what it will cover, and what you’ll have to do to apply for it. Finals week is stressful enough – don’t put yourself at risk for anything more than a blooper.
Oct 25th

Beyond Our Borders

By Fylms Insurance Services
Imagine for a moment the world of Middle Earth – the hobbit-holes of the Shire and the great, beautiful forests where Lady Galadriel resides. It’s like a place right out of the imagination, and it’s hard to imagine that a place like that could exist in our world. But it does – Peter Jackson shot most of the Lord of the Rings in New Zealand.

Foreign Production insurance exists for films and productions shot outside the U.S., usually for up to 12 months. What policies cover will vary – for example, Kelly Insurance Group’s package includes coverage for rented equipment, props and costumes, worker’s compensation, and much more.

If you’re shooting a foreign production, though, be sure to check that it doesn’t feature any stunts, underwater scenes, or pyrotechnics. There are insurance agencies, including Kelly Insurance Group, that will not cover productions with these elements, and you will have to find another provider. However, always be sure to check; an agency might offer a different policy that, while pricier, will cover your stunts and pyrotechnics.

You can realize your epic fantasy, too – foreign production coverage will make sure you can take your viewers to a place on the border between our world and the imagination.
Oct 25th

Short Term and Music Videos

By Fylms Insurance Services
While there are production companies that operate on annual budgets and terms, there are also production companies that operated on a per-shoot basis. Typically these types of short term trailers or films have a much lower budget than feature films, which means an insurance premium that is much less than a feature film. Likewise a production company needs to think about how may short-term productions are completed in a given year because if you are purchasing a short-term policy for each short term-productions… could probably get better coverage on an annual policy and save some $$ in the process.
Oct 22nd

Free Falling

By Fylms Insurance Services
Imagine falling through the air, wind whipping through hair as you freefall through the clouds. Now imagine reaching up to grab the cord on your parachute – only to realize that your parachute hasn’t unfurled to slow your fall back down to earth.

Filming stunts without insurance is a bit like skydiving with a faulty parachute. Even if things look safe, even if every last detail is choreographed by experts, there’s still a chance that something might go wrong.

As with other types of insurances, different companies will cover different stunts. Examples include fight sequences, aerial scenes, falls, and water scenes. Stunts should be choreographed and scripted, and they must be declared when seeking insurance. In the case of water stunts, policies will not provide coverage for the boats, which must be insured under a separate endorsement.

Kelly Insurance Group’s stunt insurance allows filmmakers to quote multiple scenes online, but insurance from other groups may vary. Again, it is always a good idea to get several quotes from different agencies, compare policies, and decide which one is best for your production.

Insurance gives you the peace of mind you need to enjoy the thrill of the fall and focus on making the best scene possible. After all, how many people would jump without a parachute?
Oct 22nd

Dont Rely on Crossed Fingers

By Fylms Insurance Services
Insurance is fundamental during production. There is enough to worry about when making a film, the last thing a filmmaker wants to deal with is being sued by a cameraman who hurt himself on set. So why is insurance needed for your production? There are three basic reasons legal, contractual and property protection.

Legally, every location and financier requires that a production company or filmmaker carry some form of insurance. A good example of this is the need for general liability insurance to cover property damage and bodily injury to third parties.

A building owner will want to be protected for any damage caused to the location or any lawsuits brought forth such as a passerby that tripped on electrical cable.

The contractual reason is simple. If you are under contract with a broadcaster or distributor, most likely the contract will require you to have insurance coverage before you can access your payment drawdown

The property protection covers against damage and loss to assets like production equipment that you are responsible for as set out in your rental.

The three policies every filmmaker needs to consider for any production are:

General Liability Insurance
It covers against damage to the filming location/space, and injury or harm to those present that are not working on the film.

Equipment insurance covers any and all film equipment used in your filmmaking process and production whether rented or owned. This policy will cover loss, damage, theft, etc.

Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O)
This type of insurance protects against lawsuits alleging unauthorized usage of titles, copyrighted materials, ideas, formats, characters, plots, plagiarism, unfair competition, defamation and invasion of privacy. E&O insurance requires the counsel of an entertainment lawyer who will review your script, clearances and releases.
Oct 21st

Good Coverage on Equipment and Money in Your Pocket

By Fylms Insurance Services
In the midst of planning your production, you need to make a handful of decisions, where can I get the best premium? How much coverage do I need, and for what? What do you have to do to keep your premiums low? One of the simplest ways to lower your film equipment insurance costs is to guarantee to the insurance company that the film gear is safe in your possession, but how can this be done?

As an independent insurance agency we represent you to the insurance company to make certain that you and your production receive the best coverage available for the lowest premium possible, we insure your equipment and gear whether you are an owner supplying gear or a producer renting gear.

Film production applications ask how the gear is used on the production will how it will be protected. The underwriters charge for uneasiness so give them detailed answers that make them comfortable. Some good information includes:
-Assuring in the application that you will have a security guard stationed overnight where the equipment is being kept if you are shooting on location.
-Safely packing your gear away in a truck and parking it in a secure area such as a tow truck yard, which often has excellent security.
-Returning your gear to the equipment rental house so you are not responsible for keeping it safe overnight.
-Have a sign out procedure that allows you to know when gear isn’t returned. Mysterious disappearance of equipment is not covered; the producer must have an idea of the date and time when the equipment was stolen.

Good, detailed information will ensure that you receive the best premium for your production.