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Old April 15th, 2002, 12:38 AM   #16
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Another aspect to consider is whether the story has been covered before. I am pretty sure I've seen something about this issue. That doesn't mean you can't weigh in with your opinion, though. I would suggest you try to find out if/what angle has been covered, that will either help prevent you from repeating the issue or give you some valuable insight into the issue. You may even find some good stock footage.

My experience with Discovery is that they are interested in a scientific "hook". So if that's your goal for release, I would suggest concentrating on that angle. Also, what Chris says is true, but, and please correct me if I'm wrong on this Chris, I think the deal regarding professional outfits is generally for when an idea is being proposed. As far as a finished program is concerned, I think they will definitely view it.
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Old April 15th, 2002, 08:12 AM   #17
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Guy is quite right about Discovery, et al -- if you bring a finished piece to the table, they will definitely look at it. Finished pieces tend to sell, if they're very good, but ideas do not sell that well. They have plenty of their own ideas, and that's when they do their own hiring.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 08:08 AM   #18
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OK, here is the first stumbling block, I need be to pointed in the right direction for information on documetary copyright. I am beginning to recieve locations of photo's and I am searching out old video to use. In news I can shoot just about anybody from a public location, If someone owns the film I will just use a release. Interviews will have a release. But what about shots that may inadvertantly show a face, someones land, I need a book, course, something to give me legal confidence on the project. Any suggestions?? Also, after researching if the storyline had been covered before, I do not remeber such a piece, also a search of the related broadcast networks did not reveal any info in their database. I believe I am in the clear on prior projects.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 09:32 AM   #19
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A word of caution - a documentary such as the one you're proposing doesn't fall under the "news" category as such. Be very careful to get releases from EVERYONE that appears in your footage. I know producers who have had to either pay through the nose or re-edit material because someone objected to having his or her image show to the world. Often these are a nuisance but the law is on their side.

About acquired footage - here again, be very careful. Often the people who grant you permission to use the footage don't actually own the rights. A few years ago we bought the rights to some footage from a reputable stock house. In due time we heard from Disney because ONE shot in that footage did not technically belong to the people we paid the rights to. Of course that was after the material had aired and we had to either pay or recall and re-edit.

My advise is to stay away from using stock footage as much as possible. Stock can be the most expensive item in your budget. Unless it's historical archive footage, shoot as much yourself as possible. At this point there's no need to get a lawyer since that alone will cost you more than you have.

Here a funny annecdote - a few years ago we were shooting a dinner at the VP's house (Gore at the time). Although the tent was pitched outside the front door to the mansion at the Naval Observatory we were quickly told we could not shoot in the direction of the house. When I asked why, I was told the building itself was "copyrighted." I could not shoot it with special permission from some department and pay a fee. Come to think oof it, have you ever seen a picture of the VP's mansion?
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Old April 16th, 2002, 10:27 PM   #20
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OK, now you're getting into some serious stuff. Get yourself some reading material. I'm sure there are a number of excellent books to choose from. Two that I have (although there may be newer revisions) are:

This Business Of Television; A practical guide to the TV/Video industries for Producers, Directors, Writers, Performers, Agents, and Executives, by Howard J. Blumenthal and Oliver R. Goodenough (don't laugh!), published by Billboard Books in 1991. I bought this in '97 and it rocks! How shows are developed, produced and distributed. How networks, syndicators, cable systems, and local stations operate. The FCC and it's influence on program content and advertising. Agents, lawyers, and deal-making in every facet of the business. Home video, music video, and videogames. International markets for tv programs. Essential industry contracts and forms. Lists of orgnizations and sources of information.....etc (whew!) In '97 was $ 32.50, hardcover, 660 pages.

Writing, directing, and producing documentary films and videos, Revised Edition by Alan Rosenthal, published bySouthern Illinois University Press. It's old school but very informative, especially for beginners.
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Old April 23rd, 2002, 09:10 AM   #21
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Another good book is Barry Hampe's Making Documentary Films and Reality Videos. You can find it on amazon.com.

There is not a lot of technical production info in Hampe's book. The book's strength is in walking the reader through the conceptualization process, writing the documentary, using visual evidence, and managing the production process etc. It sets one to thinking in productive ways.

One comment about the copyright on the Vice President's Mansion. By law, the federal goverment cannot hold copyrights. Of course there are rules about filming federal installations (which may be stricter now more than just a little while ago).

That said, private buildings may be copyrighted as "architectural works" for some purposes. See the Federal copyright Web site at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ41.html.

A handy resource on these issues is the Copyright Clearance Center at www.copyright.com. The U.S. government's site is also very good. For information on motion pictures (covered under performing arts) see: http://www.copyright.gov/register/performing.html.
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Old April 23rd, 2002, 09:42 AM   #22
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<<<-- Also, after researching if the storyline had been covered before, I do not remeber such a piece, also a search of the related broadcast networks did not reveal any info in their database. I believe I am in the clear on prior projects. -->>>

One other point here. What copyright applies to in motion pictures is what's sometimes called the "manner of expression".

The Fed Web site points out:

"Copyright in a motion picture is automatically secured when the work is created and “fixed” in a copy. Only the expression (camera work, dialogue, sounds, etc.) fixed in a motion picture is protectible under copyright. Copyright does not cover the idea or concept behind the work or any characters portrayed in the work."

So, if you have been searching past stories because of copyright issues, know that there is no problem if you are simply exploring the same story idea as others have in the past.
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Old July 16th, 2002, 02:19 PM   #23
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To all who helped in the discussion of this project, thank you. While educating myself on ducumentaries I have learned alot. Admittedly I also learned that pollution has been filmed and; according to one source, "done to death" pg. 111 (Making Documentary Films), by Barry Hampe. I have also had a career change which has positioned me as a full time videographer (is videographer an actual word?). I have invisioned a short human interst story which I will attempt to sell to networks that occaisionally end there news broadcast with a human interst story. Although I mainly shoot news, my brief education has taught me many new things about Television and has given me more confidence about what I know. Most of all, it has proven to me that I could never be successful at such a project without the help and experience of other people.

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Old July 16th, 2002, 02:45 PM   #24
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Good to hear from you, Donny! Congratulations on your new job (yes, indeed, "videographer" is a valid word/vocation, similar to "cinematographer"). It sounds like you're making significant headway toward your dreams.

Bravo!
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Old August 5th, 2002, 08:34 PM   #25
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Click here to view documentary shot with XL-1

Hello. I had a similar desire to submit a documentary to a network. This project fell in my lap with only a few days notice. The Nature Conservany has a program called Alternative Spring Break where college kids from all over the country come together and help clean up nature preserves at various locations. These preserves were in NW Georgia. I had no crew to work with. I used an XL-1 EFP configuration and that's it. It was all on the fly with no script or outline. The whole time I was thinking this was never going to work. I managed to get several interviews in the field and just covered them with B-roll from the students. In the end it worked out very well. Next, I contacted OLN (Outdoor Life Network) to see if they might be interested in it for their program line up. This is where I got my first dose of the machine. You would not believe the amount of red tape and voicemail to sift through. It is a wonder that anything gets on the air. I was also surprised as to what networks own each other. That means more red tape. Anyway, I found that networks are VERY picky about their programming. They like to have a series rather than stand alone programs. I heard that sometimes they will use your stand alone as a component in a larger program. OLN sent me a submission package with all of these forms to sign. One form stated that if your material was similar to an idea that they or another person had submitted beforehand, that you could not say that they took your idea without compensation. Translation, it's time to get a good lawyer! This project has never gone anywhere but the net. So, if anyone wants to view it just click on the link below. Let me know what you think. Thanks.

Nature Conservancy - Alternative Spring Break 2001

http://community.webtv.net/JEFCom/NATURESTREAMING

Note: If in the future this link no longer works, just go to http://www.jefcommunications.com to find the video
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Old August 5th, 2002, 09:04 PM   #26
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It would be terrific if some of the more experienced producers were to put together seminars or video training programs to teach those who need broadcast basics. I am unable to find educational opportunities in the world of editing, creating, producing or promoting electronic media. I personally found that college level courses are not to the point, they seem to take a semester at what could be well learned in a week. I think the answer is to surround yourself with good people.

I am interested in what you would do different the next time. Was the criteria for submission straight forward or a little foreign to you?

thanks
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Old August 6th, 2002, 05:23 AM   #27
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One starting point is the book "This Business of Television" by Howard J. Blumenthal and Oliver R. Goodenough (really, that's his name) published by Billboard Books.

It goes into great and useful detail about the legal/business side of TV. This book is probably at you Local or local University Library.

BTW, I could not make Jef's streaming link work.
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Old August 6th, 2002, 05:33 PM   #28
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Sreaming Video Difficulty

Peter, what kind of technical problem did you have with viewing the video?
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Old August 6th, 2002, 05:50 PM   #29
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It timed out. Clicked on the link and waited and waited and waited and nothing happened.

I hope I'll get a chance to see the vid.
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Old August 6th, 2002, 06:01 PM   #30
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Streaming Link

So you went to the main page and clicked on one the links, high speed or dial up, and nothing happened? Do you have a PC or mac? Do you have windows media player installed?
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