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Old October 31st, 2010, 02:56 PM   #1
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question regarding actor release forms

hi, I'm an amateur independent film-maker and I'm trying to cover the legal aspects. I've prepared a release form for my short-film actress based on the form from Video Maker magazine and a form I've found in a book.
My actress was generous to offer her work with no pay (the film is for festival submission), but I remember reading that a release form is valid only if a monetary amount of compensations is specified (e.g. 1$). Is it true? I worry that if I put 1$, technically it would be considered as employing a person, and I would have to provide tax forms, etc.. I don't want to go through this.
I realize legal aspects are country dependent (I'm in Canada), and people from all-over the world contribute to this forum, but this aspect might be similar in other countries.
Any advice please?

more questions
- is the address of the actor required?
- is the signature of a witness required?
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Old October 31st, 2010, 04:23 PM   #2
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Is she a professional actress with an agent and did she perform for free so she could add her work to her demo reel?

If so the deal was, you paid her with a copy of your film. So this could be construed as a barter situation and your release form is a contract and probably taxable in Canada. Steve House might know.

I'd say for one film you could get away with it but Google Canadian barter laws and ask local amateur film societies if you intend working this way for future projects.

Yes to both questions but ask her first. Good luck at the festivals.

Cheers.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 04:45 PM   #3
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I'm not a lawyer, I don't even play one on TV ...

But I've always given an actor a token payment of $10, and had them acknowledge that in the release.

I am in Canada, and you can employ casual labour with cash payments and not have any tax hold back obligations -- the onus is on the recipient to declare this as income if they are to play by the letter of the law, but we are talking what amounts to an hours pay ...

I've always had the actor supply an address and contact number, seems a good practice.

And the PA who has the job of chasing these forms down and collecting them is always the witness ... again, seems a good practice.

Cheers,
GB
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Old October 31st, 2010, 11:27 PM   #4
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thank you guys, looks like it's not a clear cut, and thanks for the tips.
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