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The Mentoring Room - Ask the Working Pros

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.

Bonnie Friedman
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Hi everyone,
I have just finished my first doc and now need some advice on the business side. Against my better judgement I took bad advice and did not get cast or crew deal memos and now an intellectual property attorney tells me that broadcasters will require these in addition to other clearances. He says all crew, but not necessarily the cast, but other research tells me all cast and producers only. I want to do what is needed and I would like to only ask people once. So first question is : from whom do I need these deal memos? and second: are there standard forms to use (both pre for next time and post for this one.)
Many thanks,
Bonnie


Doug Block
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Bonnie, you'll need what's known as release forms for the key people who are in the film. Anyone who speaks prominently, for sure. It's necessary in order to get Errors & Omissions (E&0) insurance, which broadcasters require.

Crew deal memos are important more in case you get audited by the IRS. I've never needed them for any broadcasters, and I've worked with PBS, HBO, Bravo, IFC and many big international broadcasters.

I should add I'm not an entertainment lawyer, and I highly recommend you consult with one before proceeding.


Bonnie Friedman
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Thanks so much!


Bonnie Friedman
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Hi again Doug,
forgot to mention that the cast was French. Should I use a french release form, a translated form or both? Where might I find a french standard form? Also I suppose I should get releases from the narrators? I have one for the English version and one for the French version.
thanks again,
Bonnie


Todd Yi
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Could anyone recommend a good film lighting workshop in New York? Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

Thank you!!!

Edited Tue 2 Aug 2011 by Todd Yi

Reid B. Kimball
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

I'm having difficulty scheduling someone I want to interview. They sound enthusiastic about being in the doc. Have said, "provided I have time." Am going to the same conference as them. I've said I'm available "anytime". And they keep saying "if I have time." How do I get them to commit to a time? It's like the person isn't looking at their schedule at all.

Is it better to lead and suggest times than to leave it up to them to tell me what time works?


Jill Woodward
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Reid, I would suggest semi-stalking that person during the conference and getting a commitment for maybe the next morning or later that afternoon. They'll probably be wanting to fully participate in the conference and not sure which talks or whatever they can't miss. During down-time they may need to do socializing which can typically only take place during a conference setting. Maybe the morning after the conference ends would work.


Reid B. Kimball
Wed 3 Aug 2011Link

Thanks Jill, good ideas. I'll try suggesting later in the afternoon or evening after the 1st day events. The speaker leaves the morning after, so my opportunities are limited.


Doug Block
Wed 3 Aug 2011Link

In reply to Todd Yi's post on Tue 2 Aug 2011 :

Lighting workshops are hard to find, but DCTV has one every so often, I think. If they don't, I'd call and ask them if they know of any.

In reply to Bonnie Friedman's post on Tue 2 Aug 2011 10:17 EDT :

Bonnie, you can probably just translate a standard release form into French. And, no, you don't need to get a release form from your narrators since they're not appearing on camera.


Bonnie Friedman
Wed 3 Aug 2011Link

Perfect – thanks Doug


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