Expert Advice

PactUS provides real services with real benefits for its members. We provide the latest information on a broad range of topics from deal templates and rights retention to insurance. But to personalize the help our members need, we have enlisted the services of some great advisors who are leaders in their fields. These specialists will provide consultation and assistance for FREE to members of PactUS. Below are our experts and some articles they have written on contemporary issues.

If you want a free phone conference with one of our advisors and you are a PactUS member, please contact us in Los Angeles (310-786-1727) or New York (646-490-3396) to set up a consultation.


Stephen Swalsky

Stephen can help members with: business and legal affairs.

Stephen is an attorney at The Law Offices of Stephen J. Swalsky and is a former Vice President of Business Affairs at truTV where he was a founding senior executive of truTV’s Business Affairs team as it transitioned from “Court TV” into “truTV”.  Stephen advised, counseled, and consulted with network executives on a variety of television development and business affairs matters; as well as cultivated and maintained extensive relationships within talent agencies and entertainment law firms.  Stephen structured, drafted and negotiated development and production agreements as well as complimentary webisode and digital materials, on-air talent, host and performer agreements, pilot and series development, format, executive producer, producer, creative consultant, editor services, voice-over, location, product placement, reality participant, and certificate of authorship agreements for series and specials and acquisition, license, sponsorship and programming agreements, etc.

Stephen acquired extensive legal and business affairs experience in the entertainment field at a variety of entertainment companies in New York as well as through his own experience of being a recording and touring bass player.  

Audio Consent & States of Confusion

You as the producer need to be aware that if your taping plans include recording in-person conversations and telephone calls, and that includes videotaping that captures audio, there are federal and state wiretapping laws that may impact your production plans. Read Stephen's insights HERE.


The Invasion of the Drones!


No Longer an UNhappy Birthday Song

Unpaid Interns – Risky or Savvy?

Know Your Rights – Part 1

Know Your Rights – Part 2

Protecting Your Creative Property

Newsworthy Versus Libel

Navigating "Fair Use"

Ruth Johnston

Ruth can help members with: Financial and production management issues including budgeting, scheduling, staffing; network, agent, EP and talent deals; payroll and HR consulting; rights queries; training and all other management issues.

Ruth started her television career in London.  She then moved to New York, where she lived for 10 years.  While in New York, Ruth was COO at Lion Television before moving to the West Coast last year.  She now runs her own company budgeting and negotiating deals on behalf of a multitude of entities, actualizing new business, consulting on management and corporate issues and has financial and logistical oversight of productions from concept to delivery to recommission.

Her Production Management career runs the gamut from reality TV to high end documentary.  She has worked on genres ranging from home renovation and lifestyle formats to International access-driven documentaries.  A few career highlights include Marcus Robinson's BAFTA-winning "Rebuilding the World Trade Center", PBS’s award winning series "America Revealed" and winning two Emmys for her work on the internationally acclaimed Discovery series, "Cash Cab".

She has extensive knowledge of and working relationships with PBS, Discovery, Nat Geo, WETV, TBS, Channel 4, A+E, Cooking Channel, Food Network, HGTV, DIY, ID, AHC, MTV, History, Hearst, CBBC, Travel Channel, E!, Electus, BBC 1+2, Discovery, Channel 4, truTV, A+E and MSNBC, amongst others.