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Old August 1st, 2011, 01:01 PM   #31
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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Originally Posted by David Barnett View Post
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.

....
If the school hired you to shoot the footage it's their worry to obtain the releases in order to be able for them to use the footage for whatever purposes thast prompted them to hire you. But YOUR using that same footage for YOUR purposes is a separate kettle of fish. I can easily see a parent being fine with the school using images of their kid in the school's promotional materials but not wanting it to be used for any purposes by a third party. How about if the school sold a copy of a picture of your kid in a tutu to the tutu manufacturer to use in his advertising? As a parent would you be okay with that? My giving you permission to use my child's picture does not mean you can transfer that permission in turn to a third party.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 01:04 PM   #32
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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Originally Posted by David Barnett View Post
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.
1 month and one week may not be a lot of time, and I wouldn't have too much of a problem with it but his own terms were that he was going to send the second payment as soon as he received "the tapes" and that said tapes should be mailed within a week. So he got the tapes thing wrong since I had already told him that I only shoot in AVCHD. So he told me he was going to send a hard drive for that. He takes two weeks two send me hard drive. I take five days, two of which were a weekend, and I was sick. But I sent it back to him fairly quick. Three more weeks and no check, so I have to email this guy and then call him, in other words, stay on him so he sends me the check he was supposed to send a month earlier. Now, if the terms on his email would have said something like "payment due in 30 days" I would have been fine with that. Besides, no matter how busy he may be, this guy made a buttload of money, he paid me $350 and at least made $4000 from DVD sales, since there were over 100 kids and teenagers performing. So the least he could do was to send me the payment in the terms he had established, instead of me having to stay on his back.

But payment aside, he broke the deal. I told him my fee for that concert was $600, and he said his budget was only $350. So I asked him if I was going to be allowed to use the footage to promote my business and he clearly said yes. Then he keeps telling me "don't post it yet", "don't post it yet", week after week, until he stops replying to my emails and phone calls. I ended up sending him an email telling him that by law the footage was mine and that our deal was that I could use it in exchange for charging him a small price for the shoot, and that I intended to use it.

So what I'm going to do eventually, because I'm reworking my website's design and it will take a couple of weeks, is to edit a short promo that doesn't have tons of kids, to make the release signing easier, and send it to the dance institute on a DVD explaining the situation with the releases, asking them if they would be willing to give those releases to the parents to sign, in exchange for me making a promotional video for their website, which may be the same one I send them or another one if they prefer other pieces. If they agree then fine, if not, I won't be able to use it, but at least I tried.

I know I may seem hard headed to some, but the way I see it, if I shoot an event, I should have the right to use at least a compilation of it for promotional purposes.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 01:15 PM   #33
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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Originally Posted by Sebastian Alvarez View Post
...
I know I may seem hard headed to some, but the way I see it, if I shoot an event, I should have the right to use at least a compilation of it for promotional purposes.
The problem you have is that your agreement is with the out-of-state production company and he doesn't have the authority to grant you permission to use the footage. He may have some agreement with the school - then again he might not - but whatever permissions they gave to him, he doesn't have the authority to subsequently transfer them on to you, a third party. Questions of copyright ownership (ie, 'ownership of the footage') aside, you still need the permission of anyone whose liknesses appear in the film in order to display it publically, especially when you use it in advertising which is what 'promotional purposes' certainly is.

Back in 2009 I had a client go bankrupt leaving me holding the bill for over $5000 in services of which I'll never see a penny. Count yourself lucky you got paid and move on.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 01:27 PM   #34
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
The problem you have is that your agreement is with the out-of-state production company and he doesn't have the authority to grant you permission to use the footage. He may have some agreement with the school - then again he might not - but whatever permissions they gave to him, he doesn't have the authority to subsequently transfer them on to you, a third party. Questions of copyright ownership (ie, 'ownership of the footage') aside, you still need the permission of anyone whose liknesses appear in the film in order to display it publically, especially when you use it in advertising which is what 'promotional purposes' certainly is.
Correct, which brings me to another point. This guy supposedly has been in business for the last 30 years or so. So you would assume he knows the basic laws and all that. So if he knew that I wasn't going to be able to use the footage since I didn't have releases from the parents, he just told me that to convince me to do it for such a small amount. That fits with what he's doing now, not answering my calls and emails because he knows that he can't let me use the footage without the parents' permission.

So it boils down to getting the releases from the parents. If I get them, great, if not, then at least I tried my best.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 02:09 PM   #35
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Barnett View Post
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.
Well, anything is debatable and you can file a law suite for anything as my old business law professor said. But this subject has been debated before and the outcome, as has been beaten into my head repeatedly, is that unless your image is incidentally captured in a public place where a reasonable expectation of privacy is not present, your consent is required to show your image. In most cases for exhibitions, plays, etc, done in a professionally managed venue there is a clause in the purchase of your ticket that states that your image may be used and that by purchasing the ticket you agree and consent to the use with no claim of compensation. Do all dance studios have this in their production info packet? No, the smart ones do but many schools don't. Most of the time when proper release agreements are not in place people don't care or do anything about it. But all it takes is one person to object and it can become a costly nightmare.

Sebastian, 30 day payment doesn't seem that incredibly outrageous or long especially if you consider that many times, businesses have regular times when they cut checks for payments. If you miss that processing cycle you're kind of screwed. Not saying that is what happened and this other company sounds like a PITA to work with but something to consider. For me, especially when it's an independent shooter like you, I try to pay as quickly as possible but then I'm a small business too so I don't have to worry about processing schedules and I understand how even $350 is a lot of money to wait a month on.

But, the most important thing to remember here is that you want the dance studio to do your advertising for you. So think through the best way to maximize your relationship with them to help you get referrals. It might not be the best use of your time or of having to bother all of their patrons for the release forms. Perhaps consider forging a relationship so that they will ask you to produce the video for their next recital since you are local and at that point you will be able to make sure all of the required releases are in place. Also, see about helping them video practice sessions for upcoming competitions or other events so that they can review the footage with their dancers. Find out if any of their dancers need videos for applications to art schools or for applications to dance companies. Only charge a minimal amount for these services as your real goal is to be able to be the go to production company for all of their bigger needs. And honestly those audition videos are super quick to do and you can easily get them done in less than an hour. No editing is needed and minimal set up time (all of the audition videos I've done do not allow any edits, it has to be one complete unedited dance). Ask them if it is ok for you to use them as a referral and offer to have their logo placed on your website where you list past clients or companies you've worked with (I know technically they weren't your client but you did work with them). See if you could leave some promotional info (cards or brochures) at their school. If you can, find out what the parents of their dancers do. There may be a lead on another job through that connection. And, ask if they know of any other studios who could also use your help. The cheapest and most effective way to market is through referrals.

Just some thoughts on how you can take this situation that is a pain to contend with and turn it into a positive outcome.

Good luck,
Garrett
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Old August 1st, 2011, 02:26 PM   #36
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

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Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
Sebastian, 30 day payment doesn't seem that incredibly outrageous or long especially if you consider that many times, businesses have regular times when they cut checks for payments. If you miss that processing cycle you're kind of screwed. Not saying that is what happened and this other company sounds like a PITA to work with but something to consider. For me, especially when it's an independent shooter like you, I try to pay as quickly as possible but then I'm a small business too so I don't have to worry about processing schedules and I understand how even $350 is a lot of money to wait a month on.
Garrett, like I said, my problem is not so much the 37 day wait, my problem is that he agreed to pay right away and he didn't. When I give my word I keep it, but at the same time, I hold people to their word. See, the problem here is that this guy had received the hard drive a few weeks earlier, and I kept waiting for the check to come and it didn't. So I sent him an email about it, which he didn't reply for two days. Only when I called him and talked to him he sent the check. It seemed to me like he was playing dumb, which is what he is doing now not returning my emails and calls about the release.

It's not like I demand immediate payment to every customer I deal with, in fact my invoices say Payment Due in 30 days, and if they go a little longer, I don't mind, as long as they let me know, or return my calls or emails.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 03:42 PM   #37
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Re: Possible problem with out of state production company

There's a lot to learn in starting up a business. Sometimes those "valuable learning experiences" are painful, but they are still valuable.

Even though you didn't make a lot of money from the gig, which is also the norm for most of my jobs, and you didn't get paid as quickly as you expected, you gained valuable experience. Not just for a video business, but for business in general.

30 day net is pretty standard payment practice for a lot of businesses. 60 day is becoming more common in the current economy.

You've also gained valuable tips on the forum here dealing with a variety of issues that all happened to crop up in this one particular job of yours. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as possible from this experience.

One other thing, try to learn to RELAX when things don't go as planned. Today I celebrate the two year anniversary of my business. Very little has gone the way I expected at first, except I expected starting up the business to be EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. That is one of the few things I guessed right when I started up. And I also underestimated how much I would enjoy this business.

I hope you learn to relax when facing the challenges of such an exciting, enjoyable line of work.
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