When you are planning to be an entrepreneur in the entertainment industry, it is best to cultivate relationships with those professionals who are going to help protect and sustain everything that you have so diligently worked hard for. One of the most important professionals to have on your team is an attorney. But you cannot have any attorney. You need one that specializes in the industry you are in. In this case, it would be an entertainment lawyer. You do not want some divorce court attorney to review your artist management contract and tell you what copyright licenses you need to have for a live recorded performance broadcasted over nationwide television. A lawyer is going to help protect you from all of the potential risks and liabilities you face as an individual, artist, business owner, freelancer, songwriter, entertainer, or whatever the case may be.
Now, you can find a lawyer by searching the Internet or phone book, but in my opinion, a trusted referral is going to be a safe bet. As part of the Orlandobands.com street team, I knew that we worked with one particular entertainment lawyer here in Orlando, Florida. His name is Quinton J. Sheer. He is the sole practitioner and owner of Q Entertainment Law. I had the opportunity to meet and interview Quinton for a good hour the other day. It was very enjoyable to “pick his brain” for a bit and gather some very exclusive information. I am not going to get into full details of the whole hour-long interview, but will share some highlights.
Quinton has been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years now and has built quite an extensive resume. I began by asking him how he became an entertainment lawyer or what exactly interested him about becoming one. He basically told me that he never really planned on being an attorney and that he went back to school late in life. After working in the corporate world for a while and doing various gigs in the entertainment realm, he wanted to do something where he could make money and also enjoy what he did. One of those jobs was DJing and hosting his own syndicated radio show where he built a substantial network. He has also done voice overs for the Universal Orlando Resort and phone voicemail systems. But being laid off for periods of time, he decided to go to law school. This ended up being the perfect fit for him, because his passion was and is to help and develop entertainers of all kinds. He could teach and protect his clients, be in the particular environment he loves, and be able to control his own income.
Quinton shared his first case with me, which was for Occupy Orlando. Occupy Orlando was a movement that happened here in Orlando where protestors marched near the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce to oppose corporate greed and government corruption. It was basically an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street. He worked on three of the cases with another attorney and they were the only ones to take an Occupy case to trial. They won this case. It is one that Quinton is proud to talk about. He believes it was for a good cause, helped people that needed it, and he did it for no money. That says a lot when you have your own expenses to take care of.
Overall, I felt like this was a very productive and informational interview. Quinton shared a lot of industry knowledge, tips, and stories. He is very down-to-earth, witty, and fun to chat with. He believes that interpersonal skills are key to building relationships with his clients. Being able to listen to people and their concerns is what he enjoys doing. He considers himself as a translator, saying, “I translate artists to business and business to artists.” Very wise words from the man himself.
Quinton offers many services from contract reviews to band agreements to copyrights and trademarks. Whatever your needs are pertaining to entertainment law, he is glad to help. Or if there is some other service or advice your looking for, I am sure he can guide you in the right direction. He is big on the quality of life, remains flexible, and in most cases, offers affordable flat rate prices.
Many individuals, business owners, entertainers, or entrepreneurs will try to save money by drafting contracts or signing documents without legal counsel. Although this may save you money on the front end, it is bound to happen that you will become liable for something and be sued. Then it is going to cost you more money. So be wise, be safe, and do the right thing initially. And when you plan to invest money in legal counsel, make sure to interview them. It helps build rapport and find out if that particular expert is going to work best for you and your situation.