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Old September 15th, 2007, 03:43 PM   #1
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Video Cheerleading competition

I've been asked to shoot a cheerleading competition. I'd like to set up a booth and sell the videos from the competition and I've been given permission to do so and have a written agreement with the hosting school whom invited me.

Considering this is in a public place, high school gym, will I need to get any signed releases to sell the DVDs of the competition?

I'm going to check with the state high school athletic association to make sure I'm ok to video as well.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 06:57 PM   #2
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My advice is to charge them a flat fee, let them handle all the sales and legal aspects, and walk away.

You are a videographer or you are a salesperson. Pick one and be it.

I've dabbled in exactly what you are considering a few times and it's rarely worth it.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 08:57 PM   #3
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Haha, well said.

However, if you do want to use it for anything, definitely get things signed. Never hurts, and can really help later.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 01:33 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice.

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Originally Posted by Dylan Couper View Post
You are a videographer or you are a salesperson. Pick one and be it.

I've dabbled in exactly what you are considering a few times and it's rarely worth it.
I appreciate your input and experience, but I couldn't disagree more. High Schools sports are huge in the South Eastern United States. There will be almost 2,000 people in the gym.

If I start charging people flat rates, no one will want to hire a videographer and I won't get the work. Will I sell myself short sometimes to make a $? Yep. The money may not be what I want, but the exposure is great. I think it takes some analysis to see what situation merits a flat rate or per DVD. So far though, I've done well. Maybe I'm just lucky, I don't know. This is my first cheerleading comp, so I may regret it, but I've been told this is a slam dunk.

My niche is sports and it works. Many of the videographers around me will do sports, but don't know much about them or the parents involved. I've read some posts here about cheerleading competitions and the complaints about handling customer phone calls, bounced checks, emails for orders, and shipping product and it all sounds lazy. That's business and those are the reasons I do it.

I trust myself handling the business side of my business more than the organizer of the cheerleading competition.

I found out that I don't need signatures in this situation. I'm guessing that is probably different from state-to-state.

Thanks for the advice and it's not the 1st time I've been told I need to pick one thing and stick to it. If I did that, I wouldn't be where I'm at and I'd die in a cubicle one day.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 02:53 PM   #5
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I like your spunk! I hope it works out for you. I did a similar thing for my wife's dance studio's recital. It turned out pretty good. I would like to start videon sports as well and I don't mind the business/marketing end. That is a personal decision though that isn't right for everybody.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 07:14 PM   #6
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Thanks.

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Originally Posted by Kyle Brady View Post
I like your spunk! I hope it works out for you. I did a similar thing for my wife's dance studio's recital. It turned out pretty good. I would like to start videon sports as well and I don't mind the business/marketing end. That is a personal decision though that isn't right for everybody.
Kyle
Thanks.
Yeah, I know I sound like a jerk, but it's tough not to when the words are typed on a forum. I don't mean to sound negative or aggressive or anything like that.

But I am pretty confident with this competition. Last competition they sold 400 competition t-shirts for $20 each. The videos will be going for $25 for a division and $40 for the whole day.

This may blow up in my face and be a dud. We'll see.

I totally agree that a lot of folks don't like the business and marketing stuff. Some family that I love dearly own their own companies, but don't give it 100%. Then again 100% doesn't promise success either.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 02:27 AM   #7
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Hey Jacob,

I'd be more concerned with the legal aspect than the profitability aspect. Generally if you're using someone's image to make money, you need a talent release form from anyone who could be recognized. In this case it sounds like there would be a lot of them. I think it's somewhat different because you're mostly selling to the competitors and their families, but if you began to sell it off-site to others, then you might open yourself up to legal action.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Good Luck.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 07:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
Hey Jacob,

I'd be more concerned with the legal aspect than the profitability aspect. Generally if you're using someone's image to make money, you need a talent release form from anyone who could be recognized. In this case it sounds like there would be a lot of them. I think it's somewhat different because you're mostly selling to the competitors and their families, but if you began to sell it off-site to others, then you might open yourself up to legal action.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Good Luck.
Actually, the killer is competitions with music and the legality there. There is no easy music licensing. If you get competitions that involve music mixes, you have to have sync and master use licenses for everything to have the legal spectrum covered. No one understands it, so they don't seem to want to understand any delay you might have in release. They also do not understand that some artist do not want there music used at all, forget even considering that it will be on video (Bjork is a recent example from Winterguard International's competitions - new rule they have implemented is that the units must have clearance before they can compete in finals).

I avoid music events because I do not want to take on the risk of not dotting the i's, crossing the t's, and then having a 5 month delay and outright refusal. Doing it right is impossible to do with shipping in 6 weeks.

/gets of whining soapbox
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Old September 17th, 2007, 03:02 PM   #9
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Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
Hey Jacob,

I'd be more concerned with the legal aspect than the profitability aspect. Generally if you're using someone's image to make money, you need a talent release form from anyone who could be recognized. In this case it sounds like there would be a lot of them. I think it's somewhat different because you're mostly selling to the competitors and their families, but if you began to sell it off-site to others, then you might open yourself up to legal action.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Good Luck.
I wish there were an all powerful legal expert that could answer my every question.

I spoke with the legal department of the state high school athletic association for information on those issues. I was told that the school is a public place and I've been given written permission by the event organizer and state association representative to be there to video the competition and sell the DVDs.

I don't know if it matters, but the videos won't be sold anywhere other than at the competition. No way I sell more than 300 DVDs. I'm shooting for 50.

We'll see.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 03:08 PM   #10
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I am going to hazard a guess and suggest the legal department of the state high school athletic association may not be staffed by experts in copyright and clearance issues. The issues are complicated. It would be in your best interest to speak to an atty. with experience.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 03:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jacob Burson View Post
I don't know if it matters, but the videos won't be sold anywhere other than at the competition. No way I sell more than 300 DVDs. I'm shooting for 50.

We'll see.
Also not trying to be a jerk, just looking at it from a business point.
At 50 units, you will at best make $1250-$2000, for a day of shooting and a week of editing, plus a day of sales and a day of shipping. Not my idea of super profitable. And not considering the headache if you only sell 10-20 copies.

So...
Here's a model I've used in the past, that might help you maximize your sales and minimize your risk.

I'd go to the school a month in advance, offer them a 50/50 net split, get them to send out a mailer to all the parents telling them that an event video will be available for $25 prepaid, or $40 on the day. Then I'd get the school to set up a sales table on the day of the event using a couple popular teens volunteering (and I'd bribe them with commission - $5 per disc).

Then I'd shoot it, cut it, and drop off a stack of duplicated discs to the school to mail out, and walk away with my half of the loot.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 06:31 PM   #12
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Guess I need to clarify.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper View Post
Also not trying to be a jerk, just looking at it from a business point.
At 50 units, you will at best make $1250-$2000, for a day of shooting and a week of editing, plus a day of sales and a day of shipping. Not my idea of super profitable. And not considering the headache if you only sell 10-20 copies.

So...
Here's a model I've used in the past, that might help you maximize your sales and minimize your risk.

I'd go to the school a month in advance, offer them a 50/50 net split, get them to send out a mailer to all the parents telling them that an event video will be available for $25 prepaid, or $40 on the day. Then I'd get the school to set up a sales table on the day of the event using a couple popular teens volunteering (and I'd bribe them with commission - $5 per disc).

Then I'd shoot it, cut it, and drop off a stack of duplicated discs to the school to mail out, and walk away with my half of the loot.
I didn't mention that this was also a favor in return for a previous job. I've been told that I should expect to sell many more units than I stated, but I'll believe that when I see it. As ambitious as I am, I'm also a bit pessimistic at times. I guess I mentally prepare for the worst, so that I don't get too complacent in preparation.

This is the first cheer leading comp, so this is different than the other things I've been doing. We will be sharing a table with the t-shirt folks from the school and are working on the possibility of package deals.

I like your model of splitting 50/50 with the school as an option. I thought of that for future spots, but this one is a mix of personal and business. I think the best situation would be to shoot, edit, and cut one video for a flat rate and have the school handle the rest, but no one is willing to pay that price never mind how logical is it and ultimately more profitable for the school. There are other companies shooting for "free" to sell DVDs in return and doing it on a national scale and are very, very successful. One is Mr. Video.

The more input I get the more legal questions I have. I'm going to get some info from an atty with copyright experience. I figure all of the bases will be covered at that point.

I knew there was a reason I like coming to this forum. I'm glad everyone is open and willing to share experiences and give advice.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 05:55 AM   #13
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Adding my .02 cents FWIW, the problem with getting permission from the high school etc to shoot only covers the act of filming itself. Their statement that you don't need releases from the participants would certainly be true if you were shooting news coverage of the event for TV broadcast, for example. But you're planning on using the images (and sounds) for a commercial purpose, selling the images in the form of a DVD as a retail enterprise in this case and there's a vast legal difference between the two different uses of exactly the same image. I can take your picture as you walk down the street without getting your permission. If it's part of coverage of a news event I can publish the picture in the newspaper without your permission. I can even put that picture on public display as part of an exhibit in an art gallery without your permission (although there have been a few court cases in recent years attempting to dispute that). But if I offer "Pictures of Jacob" for retail sale at a shopping mall kiosk or sell the image to Kellogs to use on a cereal box, I'll need your release or I'm in the deep stuff when you decide to sue. The same reasoning will apply to the images you capture during the competitition.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 08:58 AM   #14
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I can take your picture as you walk down the street without getting your permission. If it's part of coverage of a news event I can publish the picture in the newspaper without your permission. I can even put that picture on public display as part of an exhibit in an art gallery without your permission (although there have been a few court cases in recent years attempting to dispute that). But if I offer "Pictures of Jacob" for retail sale at a shopping mall kiosk or sell the image to Kellogs to use on a cereal box, I'll need your release or I'm in the deep stuff when you decide to sue. The same reasoning will apply to the images you capture during the competitition.
If you think you can make a profit off of "Pictures of Jacob" you have my permission, but I have to warn you it hasn't worked for me.

I wonder if the rules are any different if the profit is going to the school which is a non-profit organization?

I guess I'm trying to figure out how some of these guys that are currently doing it are conducting business. They're probably like most everyone else and technically vilotating privacy and copyright laws and no one cares.

I'm not sure anyone does anything totally legal anymore. I was in my friend's wedding video that she paid $2k for and no one asked me for permission to use my image and performance of the electric slide.

Off to the atty I go.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 11:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob Burson View Post
...
I'm not sure anyone does anything totally legal anymore. I was in my friend's wedding video that she paid $2k for and no one asked me for permission to use my image and performance of the electric slide.

Off to the atty I go.
Well, remember that these are civil and not criminal actions. Your friend's videographer didn't need your release to use you in the wedding video because you haven't sued him over it. But if you did sue, he's have to pay a lawyer to defend it. If he had a release in hand, YOUR lawyer would probably tell you not to bother suing. Releases etc aren't required by law except that the law says they protect you against suit.
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