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Old May 28th, 2008, 12:14 AM   #1
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Cable news wants my footage--what to do?

A cable news company called me today and left a message. They want to do a story featuring a person who's in a project I'm working on. Since they can't get a film crew up to my location to interview the person, they contacted me, asking to perhaps use some of my footage.

What to do? I'm not thrilled by letting someone else have footage I haven't hardly edited yet and shown to almost no one. Should they, cable news, get an exclusive, so to speak? On the other hand, I suppose national exposure might help my project get more off the ground.

I'll call them back tomorrow. Anyone have any experience with something like this? Do they normally offer money or just a credit? What about legal stuff? Terra incognita here. Thoughts appreciated.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 05:41 AM   #2
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Just talk to them and find out what they want.

Don't be afraid to say no.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 10:38 AM   #3
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What cable news company? Most news organizations don't like to buy footage but you have a few choices;
1. Charge them a per second or flat fee for the footage they use with the understanding that they cannot repurpose the footage. Include a minumum charge. Get this in writing. (Good)
2. Charge them a day rate for the footage since you are in effect being their freelance crew after the fact. Don't send them everything - just what they need. Get this in writing. (Better)
3. Give them a minimal amount of footage and at least put your company logo/bug on the footage. Though they may blow it up to hide the bug (ABC did this to me). (Worst)
4. Give them nothing. How important, unique, special is your project and how important is it to protect the project balanced against the possible publicity?

They will be in a huge hurry and want everything you have right now. That is their problem not yours.

Do not do anything on the promise that they will "remember you in the future." It's the biggest lie in television.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 02:54 PM   #4
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There are some good points so far and one thing I can add is by telling them to give a disclaimer at the beginning of your footage for example “footage from the upcoming documentary __________ by Nelson Cole” or something like that. Hope you get the idea.

You’ll not only get paid for you footage but also get extra advertisement for your upcoming project.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 07:19 AM   #5
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I had a similar query just yesterday for footage I shot at a press conference by a non-profit. It's a European cable company that wants it for B-roll on a story that includes a segment on the NP's program.

What are some example "going rates" for per/second or flat fees?

My footage is in HDV.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 11:24 PM   #6
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Thanks for the great replies, everyone. Truly appreciated. I haven't been able to get in touch with the producer yet, playing phone tag. They don't appear to answer emails, don't know if they're being filtered out or what. Anyways, I'll try again tomorrow and update if I do contact them.

I'm going in prepared to say no. I have enough on my plate without doing their lifting for them for nothing. Unless they want to pay me a good deal or give me a hell of a credit, or something, I'll likely pass. I'd like the exposure but I'm not starry-eyed enough to be a slave, as it were. We'll see, though. Don't know until I talk with them.
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