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Biographical Information — John W. Cones

John Cones Film Finance AttorneyWith more than 23 years experience in Los Angeles, John Cones is a film finance attorney, author and lecturer working in the broad field of film finance with a focus on the legal work associated with investor-financing of independent entertainment projects (primarily independently produced feature and documentary films) and business start-ups. Film finance legal services include investor financing of independent film; film finance contracts, film finance books, film finance articles, lectures and seminars.

Mr. Cones’ film finance related consulting concerns the choice of finance method as well as the choices relating to: form of production company, investment vehicles for raising investor funds, the advantages and disadvantages of securities versus non-securities offerings (passive investor versus active investor), federal and state securities law compliance, proper marketing of the offering, use of the Internet and expanding the pool of prospective investors for private placement offerings. In addition, he works with producer clients in developing the associated financial projections for such offerings, in preparing and submitting state and federal notice filings, creating the selected entity, box office comparables and other disclosures required to be included in the securities disclosure document (PPM, offering circular or prospectus).

In addition to the above, Mr. Cones has prepared film finance offering disclosure documents for feature film development, packaging, production, completion fund and distribution activities. His experience extends as well to live stage plays, infomercials, television pilots, music projects and other business start-up and project financing needs. Lastly, his work encompasses the preparation of film finance business plans for active investor solicitations, as well as the conduct of limited liability company, limited partnership and corporate stock offerings.

His producer client film finance offerings have successfully raised the investor financing to produce some 63 feature and documentary films (see Filmography).  As a solo practitioner, he is able to offer quick turnarounds in drafting the required disclosure documents for a modest flat fee with more than half of the fee deferred to be paid out of investor funds and an unblemished track record regarding compliance (i.e., none of Attorney Cones’ clients or films have been sued or encountered serious regulatory problems at the state or Federal level). Independent producers may request an information packet from the law offices of John Cones which includes a disclosure checklist (a list of the kinds of information needed to be provided by the producer in order for an appropriate securities disclosure document to be prepared), an engagement letter (which sets out in writing what services attorney Cones provides) and his published fee schedule (a sliding fee scale based on the amount of funds being raised).

He is also the author of sixteen books relating to film finance and distribution (see Books) and 35+ articles on related subjects (see Film Finance Articles). For 15 years, he has also answered thousands of questions from independent filmmakers all across the country at his question and answer website focused on Film Finance: Investor Financing of Independent Film (see Film Finance Forum). Mr. Cones typically works on a modest flat-fee project basis with more than half of the fee deferred to be paid out of the offering proceeds. Filmmakers may request information relating to film offering disclosures, an engagement letter and fee schedule at jwc6774@gmail.com.

John Cones is a member of the California Bar Association and the Texas Bar Association. His securities compliance work is primarily based on Federal laws (i.e., SEC regulations) which specifically pre-empt state law. His law office presence is currently based in Houston.

In November of 2021, the State Bar of Texas Entertainment Law Institute honored Mr. Cones with its annual Texas Star award, given for contributions to the field of entertainment law.