The Mentoring Room - Ask the Working Pros

Mentoring Room

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This is a Public Topic geared towards first-time filmmakers. Professional members of The D-Word will come by and answer your questions about documentary filmmaking.

Jasmine Adams
Fan
Legal Issues.

I'm considering a documentary on teenagers who are acting out and
engaging in behaviour that is generally deemed socially unacceptable.
Where so I stand on this leagally? As they children are minors I
assume that the parents will have to sign the release forms...however
I am caught on how, exactly, to represent myself to their parents.
The whole point of the doco is the actions and behaviour of these
children that the parents don't know about.

I know doco makers have been caught on this in the past, so hopefully
someone here may be able to give me a heads up on exactly how to
approach this.
Erica Ginsberg
Host
Would recommend you take Doug's advice given to the vlogging question
above and consult an entertainment lawyer. You might also contact
the filmmakers of several films which have dealt with "minors
behaving badly" to see how they dealt with this slippery slope.
Doug Block
Host
ditto what erica said. you do NOT want to proceed too far without
good legal advice. be very careful with minors (and their possibly
outraged parents)!
Randolfe Wicker
Pro
Doug, you suggest "aggressive linking". Are there some good resources
for learning about that.

I have heard that one should link to "anything" or "anyone" who links
back to you. In the past, I was very judicious about whom I linked
to. I felt a link on my site was almost an endorsement.

Is there a particular book or series of articles which lays all of
this out? I have two websites but am unable to do anything with them
since the fellow who used to work with me on the computer left.
Randolfe Wicker
Pro
I've done that some time ago. I've found helpful tutorials at
freeblog. There seem to be groups of vlogger who link to each other
to build traffic.

I was wondering if there are any specific resources as to "linking
stragedy"--whether selective links are better than unselective ones, etc.

There was a "counter" on a very excellent vlog, "vlog of a faux
journalist", and I was surprised at how little traffic her site received.

You can get a sampling of hilarious comedy with "the message" at
http://www.jonnygoldstein.com/2005/08/06/yanni_goldthtein_holithtic_healer_holithtic_videoblogging.php
Steve Holmes
Pro
Randolfe:

Are the people in the footage identifiable? Some folks might not
want the world to know they went to an S&M fair. I'd be very leery
of using footage that features identifiable people unless releases
were signed or faces are obscured just enough to cover you legally.

As to running this by an entertainment lawyer, do a Google search
for "Lawyers for the Creative Arts" to see if it has someone working
in your area.
Randolfe Wicker
Pro
I was aware of this while filming. I shot footage of a long line of
people (from the neck down) waiting in line to be admitted to a
"drinking area". They had to show I.D. to get in.

However, in the public mummification tape, many people were
identifiable. It is impossible to get releases from people when
shooting a street scene.

If someone is filmed dressed in shorts and a leather vest, smacking
his hand with a small whip and then paying (tipping) to swat the
volunteer mummifee on a public street in front of hundreds of people,
what could he claim?

The crowd was very mixed so far as orientation went--straight and
gay--but nearly all were into S&M. If you are into that scene, attend
a public event and are filmed walking around, what could your
objections be?

I'll certainly keep these concerns in mind during editing. I'm not
sure how difficult or expensive "blurring" faces would be.
Steve Holmes
Pro
Some people lead dual lives. They might be comfortable at the fair
among people who believe as they do -- and nobody's going to condemn
them -- but might be horrified at the notion that their visit to the
fair, complete with vests and whips, was now on the World Wide Web,
where it could be seen by parents, bosses, co-workers or even wives
who have no idea what their husbands are into.

Put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn't you be leery about your
participation being uploaded for all to see?
Randolfe Wicker
Pro
Well, I understand your point. However, as the first homosexual to go
on television and radio (1964 and 1962 respectively) and as the first
gay journalist to cover the emergence of an S&M community (1971), I
think you have to balance such concerns against the many people there
who willingly allowed themselves to be interviewed and videotaped.

I find it hard to square a mentality that is afraid of exposure with
someone who dressed "obviously" in a leather-daddy mode and publicly
induldged his desires in broad daylight, on a public street, before
dozens (possibly as many as a few hundred) onlookers.

Indeed, many of those participating seemed to enjoy being part of the
show. This public mummification was a humorous parody of the real
thing which would have been done privately, involved more restriction
and no shaving cream. The Saran Wrap and shaving cream buffered the
blows and made them painless. The whole thing was really a public
celebration of S&M sex.

I'd argue one shouldn't "dance in the streets" if one doesn't want to
be seen (and video-taped). I was obviously filming for a full 57
minutes. Everyone could see me. True, they might have thought I was
making home movies. That's all vlogs are--home movies uploaded to the
Internet.
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