Monday, 23 July 2012

49 Make 'Em Sign on the Dotted Line

shho /
It´s one of the ickiest-stickiest problems in filmmaking: asking the main subject in your doc to sign a release form. But oh the possible headaches if you neglect to do it. A guy I heard about spent a year filming his family. It was commissioned by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).  After the edit, the family decided they didn´t like his take on them and said it couldn´t be shown. The production was shelved.

We had our own problems with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Finnish composer and former conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I hated to ask him to sign a release form because I was afraid he would cancel the project. And that his team would make a whole bunch of (written demands). In the end everything turned out OK. But there were weeks and even months of anxiety.

Our release form is simple:        


I,  (subject´s name), hearby give permission for Little Margie Productions to use footage taken of me for the production (name of production). These rights extend to film festivals, television, viewings and the internet.

Signed:  (subject´s name)

It´s a drag to ask people to sign, especially if they´re famous and you desperately want to make your doc. But a signed release can save you a whole lot of trouble. And maybe even help avoid a lawsuit.
Lesson 49: Nothing like a John Hancock to make it legal

Next week: 50 Ten Words Every Filmmaker Should Know

PS Littlemargiedoc-blog missed a week due to my Mac malfunctioning.

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