Features

Ryan Plachcinski – Blue Ice Pictures

Building a ‘reel’ legal legacy in entertainment

Like many teenagers, Ryan Plachcinski found that certain television shows, songs and films spoke to him. He devoured Friends and Boy Meets World alongside The O.C., One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek, Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He loved movies like The Shawshank Redemption, Scarface, Catch Me If You Can and Forrest Gump.

He quickly understood media could entertain while providing solace, comfort and even solutions to problems that viewers of any age may be facing.

This dovetailed nicely with his propensity to advocate for people. By the time he turned 16, he wanted to find a way to practice law and positively change people’s lives through media. Entertainment law fit the bill.

Ryan Plachcinski | Legal Counsel and Head of Legal and Business Affairs | Blue Ice Pictures

Ryan Plachcinski | Legal Counsel and Head of Legal and Business Affairs | Blue Ice Pictures

In law school, he became fascinated with intellectual property law, specifically the nuances of U.S. and Canadian copyright law and how they intersected the realm of television and film. After graduating from the University of Ottawa, he knew contract and IP law would help him excel as a lawyer in the entertainment industry.

In November 2018, a year after graduation, Plachcinski joined Blue Ice Pictures, a Toronto-based independent film and television production company. He’s served as its legal counsel and head of legal and business affairs ever since—and has even worked as a producer on some of the shows, as he believes in learning from doing.

“I love practicing law while creating content,” he says. “Many lawyers traditionally transition from a law firm to an in-house counsel role; I was lucky to be deeply immersed as in-house counsel in the production realm just over a year into my career.”

Lights, camera, legal action

Blue Ice has produced several hit television shows and films. Plachcinski is particularly proud of the team’s work on Netflix’s hit drama series, “Ginny and Georgia.” It currently has a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, an American entertainment review aggregation website.

After producing the series’ first season, Blue Ice finished producing the second season for Netflix in 2022. Plachcinski and his team handle the production’s daily legal and business matters. These range from negotiating and drafting talent agreements to helping hire talent: actors, writers, editors, directors and other key creatives.

They also handle the pre-filming legal clearance, checking the scripts, sets, clothing and music. They ensure all the background songs and brand names on clothing meet all IP and copyright rules and regulations. They vet everything before it’s on camera.

“This project has really allowed Blue Ice Pictures and its legal team to showcase what we can accomplish in television,” Plachcinski says. “The series has broken streaming records and is the kind of content that transcends generations. Our company is proud to have produced this series for Netflix.”

Canada’s vast and diverse landscapes and talent

Plachcinski is equally proud of Blue Ice’s in-house content, like the paranormal Canadian drama series “SurrealEstate.” He’s legal counsel and a co-producer on the show, which airs on the SyFy channel and streaming platforms: Hulu in the U.S. and CTV Sci-Fi and Crave TV in Canada.

Filming took place in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, which he says highlights the beauty of the country—and its people. He adds that the show has everything from a great cast and writers to excellent directing.

“I relish helping develop content like this that showcases our country’s incredible, diverse talent,” he says. “SurrealEstate checks all the boxes.”

The show just wrapped season two in December 2022. Originally cancelled, the Blue Ice team put in an immense amount of effort to revive it. The second season is projected to air sometime this summer.

Plachcinski is also excited about Blue Ice’s supernatural teen comedy-drama series, “Astrid and Lilly Save The World,” which was recently nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards.

He makes it a point to be involved from the start to the finish, from the development phase to principal photography and through postproduction.

Ryan Plachcinski | Legal Counsel and Head of Legal and Business Affairs | Blue Ice Pictures

Working with his team, he finds projects; reads scripts; arranges financing, licensing and distribution with domestic and international partners; and hires talent and anyone needed to make the project a reality. He then fine-tunes all the legal work, so projects reach production.

“My passion is finding projects with teeth that are worth pursuing and exploring,” Plachcinski says. “I love acquiring the underlying rights to great stories, so our team can bring them to life.”

He adds that Blue Ice has a slate of in-house content in development—and is scheduled to continue producing content for major streaming platforms and networks.

For the love of law, family and entertainment

Plachcinski’s deep love and appreciation for entertainment perhaps stems from his grandfather who was a film and television buff.  As a child, he’d sit with him and watch content from the 1950s onwards.

“He passed away a few years ago and devoutly loved the field,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to make him and the rest of my family proud.”

He’s extending that family this August, when he’ll marry his fiancee, Maia, with whom he shares a mini-Aussiedoodle, Carl. He is also an avid sports card and sports memorabilia enthusiast—and an overall pop-culture junkie.

Plachcinski says he’s grateful to work with some wonderful people in the film industry, including actors he grew up watching, idolizing and who positively impacted his life. So, he’s paying that forward, assisting the creation of content that transcends boundaries and generations, that he hopes will impact people 50—or even 100—years from now.

“Helping people has always—and will always—be my top priority,” Plachcinski says. “I want to leave a legacy in entertainment, from a legal standpoint and by creating and releasing impactful content—and I get to do that every day at Blue Ice Pictures.”

View this feature in the Vanguard Summer I 2023 Edition here.

Published on: June 2, 2023

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