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Old July 7th, 2011, 03:02 PM   #16
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

If they are YOUR customers, you should have no problem requesting payment on whatever terms you both agree on.

This was a mess because it was a "third party" contract hiring you to complete a job THEY were hired for... and apparently a third party that wasn't too organized about doing things...

Some customers are a breeze, others come waving gigantic red flags - you'll learn that in time...
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Old July 7th, 2011, 03:54 PM   #17
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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If they are YOUR customers, you should have no problem requesting payment on whatever terms you both agree on.

This was a mess because it was a "third party" contract hiring you to complete a job THEY were hired for... and apparently a third party that wasn't too organized about doing things....
OK, but I'm thinking towards the future, outside of this particular case. Is it the standard for most videographers to request the remaining balance before shooting the event? Or would most customers take their business elsewhere when they hear about that condition?
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Old July 8th, 2011, 09:18 AM   #18
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

Your problem is your customer is not the wedding couple you filmed, it is the production company that hired you. You are a subcontractor. You collect from the production company, they collect from the wedding couple. What the production company's agreement with the wedding party might be is competely irrelevant to you.

If it were me, when dealing directly with the final customer, I would make sure the deposit collected prior to commencment of shooting covered up to my break-even point. In other words, if they bail-out after the fact I'm not out any out-of-pocket expenses, only the loss of the shooting day. If possible, make sure even a base amount covering the day is also included in the deposit. Balance due on delivery would be my profit on the gig. I think unless you have a proven track record over many years in business, requiring payment in full prior to shooting is pushing it a little too hard ... just my opinion.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 11:29 AM   #19
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

Some additional thoughts:

1. "No Contract": Some seem to think that because there is no signed written agreement, that ther eis no contract. This is not true. There is a contract. The problem is that it is verbal, with perhaps confirmations in writing. In the commercial setting, and even in consumer matters, writings such as emails may be sufficient evidence to set out the terms pf the contract. Intent about ownership and display rights to the recorded media can also be inferred from the email confirmation and interpretations of local law.

2. In commercial settings, courts will often rely on industry standards or fall back on the Uniform Commercial Code to resolve disputes between parties over the terms of the contract when terms are not specifically set out on certain issues.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 01:30 PM   #20
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

So I finally got the second check and deposited it, so that part is fine, but this guy keeps on giving me the runaround to post the footage on my website. A little over two weeks ago when I talked to him on the phone he said he had a contract with the dance institute saying that he was supposed to deliver the DVDs no more than 6 weeks after the recital. 6 weeks was July 16th. So on the 19th I sent him attached to an email the release form asking him to sign it and mail it back to me. So far I haven't received it and he hasn't replied to that email. Also a couple of days after sending him the email I called him, left him a message and he hasn't called back. Today I called him again, and once again it went to voice mail. So it would be fair to say the guy is avoiding me and I'm getting very frustrated by this.

So for what I read in these thread and the other I posted about this but in a more generic way, as well as this page:

Cinema Law: Who Owns the Footage I Shot? | MovieMaker Magazine

as long as there isn't a contract that specifies that this was "work for hire", the footage is mine to do with it whatever I please, is that right? I still have a small doubt about this, which is why I'm posting again.

As far as a contract goes, there is no contract with him, mostly because he didn't confirm this until two days before the event, so there was no time to mail a contract back and forth anyway. However, could he argue that the email he sent me with the information about the recital is proof that this was work for hire? Based on everything I read so far my instinct says no, because there is no contract specifying I was work for hire, and I'm certainly not his employee. But I would prefer to have your opinions on this.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 03:50 AM   #21
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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Originally Posted by Sebastian Alvarez View Post
as long as there isn't a contract that specifies that this was "work for hire", the footage is mine to do with it whatever I please, is that right?
Even if you own the copyright on the footage before you can do with it whatever you please you will need to ensure that you have all necessary releases or permissions from those who appear in the footage.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 12:54 PM   #22
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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Even if you own the copyright on the footage before you can do with it whatever you please you will need to ensure that you have all necessary releases or permissions from those who appear in the footage.
Maybe someone familiar with US laws can clarify on this? I know that if you do a movie or a TV show you need signed releases from each and every person that shows on the frame, but for a videographer's reel, I don't know if that's required. For example lets see all the promotional videos from wedding videographers, where you see the couple and at least 40 other people, maybe even 100 people or more. I'm sure that wedding videographers don't take 50 or 100 releases to weddings and have every single person there sign the release. Does any wedding videographer ever do that?

And is it different for most social and corporate events? I mean, I've visited lots of video production companies' websites, I have seen their videos of events they did, some of which contain several people at events, seems hard for me to believe that they got releases signed from each and every person there. Either videographers normally disregard the law or maybe the law is not so strict in the case of videographers' promotional videos. If anyone has good knowledge of the US law on this, can you please illustrate?
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Old July 31st, 2011, 11:14 PM   #23
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

I’m not a lawyer but let’s see, you have minor children, probably young girls flitting around a stage, who couldn’t give permission if they wanted to. Parents who are working and or associated with a dance company who has a contract (that you have not seen) with a production company (who is not you). As to what can be done with the footage, regardless of what you two verbally “agreed to” there is no way for you or any of us to really know. What you do know is you haven’t been given permission from the parents and the production company who hired you is unwilling to send back the release you mailed. No matter how bad I felt I needed material for my “reel” I wouldn’t use it.

Regardless of how good your dance footage is nobody but the 40 parents who ordered the video think it’s interesting. Parents demand a “reasonable expectation of privacy” and many of these contracts will state that this footage will not be used for promotional purposes. Not sure how it is in North Carolina, but parents in New York can get quite snarky when it comes to images of their children being used without their permission..
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Old July 31st, 2011, 11:42 PM   #24
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

David, what you say makes a lot of sense, but what if I got in touch with the studio to ask for their permission? Lets suppose I do a 6 or 7 minute clip, I send it to them on a DVD and ask them if they can sign a release for me, and to consult with the parents to see if they don't mind. Maybe I can tell them that if they sign the release they are free to use the same clip for their own website, to promote their dance institute.

Maybe they didn't hire me directly, but the guy that hired me was an ass to me, paying me over a month later when the terms were that he was going to pay me as soon as he got the footage (which he would have gotten right away if he wouldn't have waited two weeks to send me the hard drive), and then he kept BSing me about posting the footage, something that was a condition he agreed to so I would give him that low price, and now he's not returning my emails or calls.

So by now I don't feel like I'm obligated to any professional courtesy with this guy, since he screwed me on the deal we had. I made very clear to him that the low price was contingent on me using the footage for my own promotional purposes. At this point, I wouldn't even feel bad about offering the dance institute the Blu-ray version. After all, this guy screwed me, and by law the footage is mine. Unless a judge considers an email with information about the recital a contract. But based on what I read about the law, I'm rather certain that the footage is mine. If someone thinks otherwise, please let me know, I'm interested to hear your arguments.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 01:33 AM   #25
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

Sebastian,

What you're missing is what David is trying to tell you - you very likely OWN the footage, but what you can DO with it may be an entirely different proposition. Because you don't know what the original contract with the studio specifies, you're considering posting footage of minors without any releases...

We don't know what all the particulars here are, and maybe nothing would come of it, or maybe you'll find yourself facing angry parents... many are VERY touchy about privacy nowadays.

You've made it very apparent you're peeved with the guy who contracted you to do the shoot, but keep in mind there's a studio, and a pack of parents also affected, and they may or may not be understanding.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 01:37 AM   #26
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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Sebastian,

What you're missing is what David is trying to tell you - you very likely OWN the footage, but what you can DO with it may be an entirely different proposition. Because you don't know what the original contract with the studio specifies, you're considering posting footage of minors without any releases...
I think you missed the first paragraph of my previous post, where I say that David has a good point, but what if I contact the studio to get the proper releases, including the parents.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 08:17 AM   #27
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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I think you missed the first paragraph of my previous post, where I say that David has a good point, but what if I contact the studio to get the proper releases, including the parents.
The studio can't release the footage on the behalf of the parents. Nor could the production company that originally hired you, for that matter. Only a parent or legal guardian can give a release for a particular child. So what you actually need, either from the company that hired you, the dance studio, or the parents individually are physical copies of all the individual releases that have been signed by a parent for each and every child that appears on-screen. And you have to have them for every child .. if there's a group of 20 kids on-stage, 19 parents have signed a release but one is holding out ... guess what, no can use the footage.

My feeling is, you finally got paid, the cheques didn't bounce, you're ahead of the game at this point. Forget about using the footage for self promotion, or anything else, and move on. Life's too short to sweat the small stuff and almost everything is small stuff.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 11:19 AM   #28
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

OK, then I could send the studio releases for all the parents to sign, and hope that they would take care of getting them to the parents and back, in exchange for having a good video for promoting their studio as well.

My need for using this footage is that I don't have a lot on my reel, the only other school production of any kind I have is old and no chance I can track the parents to sign releases. So being able to show this would give me some business with schools. If I send letters to schools with nothing to show as a sample, I doubt any school is going to hire me.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 11:50 AM   #29
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

Hi Sebastian, one of the things I make sure of is that studio's have a standard release clause in the paperwork the parents (or dancers of majority age) sign when they join the school or that the studios have all the dancers who are in the production sign when they sign up for the recital. It's pretty easy to convince the studio owners to get the parents to sign a release that allows the studio to use their kids image, likeness, etc. for all studio related activities that they participate in, for promotional, sales, blah blah. Then, make sure that the studios have the right to assign those rights to you too. In your agreement with the studio get those assignments of rights to you in writing.

One thing that makes life easier too is for you to sell the DVD's to the studio and they are the ones who sell to the parents, etc. Also make sure you don't get the faces of the audience members. That way you don't have to worry about releases from the audience which you should technically get too.

As for your current situation maybe you cold see if the Studio would be willing to post a video to their website and you could just link to that video as a reference of your work. Most parents don't mind and won't make a stink if the studio posts videos and images with their kids but they can get a little touchy if it is another business posting those the same thing. I don't do very many recital videos anymore but it is a good way to get a business started. Once you get in with a few studios you have regular bookings for the spring and winter. Doing recital videos aren't as stressful as dealing with Brides and Brides' moms but it can get a little interesting dealing with the parents, watch Dance Moms for how whacked some of those parents can get (no offense to any dance parents out there).

Good luck,
Garrett
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Old August 1st, 2011, 12:42 PM   #30
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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One thing that makes life easier too is for you to sell the DVD's to the studio and they are the ones who sell to the parents, etc. Also make sure you don't get the faces of the audience members. That way you don't have to worry about releases from the audience which you should technically get too.
This is debatable. While it's always better safe than sorry, if you're hired to shoot a graduation do you NEED signed releases from every student & parent? If you shoot high school football do you NEED releases signed by every coach, player, cheerleader & parent seen in footage? I think it'd be frivilous to file suit because someones image was obtained in a childrens dance recital that they were in attendance of without written consent.


Anyway, Seb I think you're getting a little agitated about this a little easily. 30 days for payment is pretty good. The guys business could have alot going on, or myb he does it on the side & needed money from the school before paying you, and the school gave him the runaround ("We'll pay you this week"). Anyway, it's not like he dragged you along for months. Really I'm not sure you can do anything until it's 60 or 90 days late, or at least that's when you can threaten to sent them to collection agency. And while some people seem paranoid about putting children on the web, I do think you're just better off leaving it alone. A better option anyway would be to get in touch with the dance school and mention you did the shoot and ask if you can mention their name on your site, just mentioning you've 'done work' for them. Maybe even take a picture of their location and use it on your site. I think that'd look better anyway, than some video of kids dancing around badly.
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