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Old March 6th, 2009, 04:05 AM   #1
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Business venture - suggestions?

A friend is starting a martial arts studio, and we have agreed that I will shoot some of his classes, private instruction and competitions in exchange for lessons for my children. He intends to sell some of the video in the studio as study aids. As a hobbyist, I have helped on a number of shoots used for church/school productions, etc, but never anything which has been used commercially.

Do any of you who are far more experienced see any issues - liability, etc?
Any opportunities - I am wondering whether and what to show in the credits?

I can't see that I really need a contract here, but would welcome thoughts on that if anyone has any. In fact, any thoughts on this first step into video as a side business are welcome. Thanks!

Last edited by Bill Spearman; March 6th, 2009 at 04:41 AM.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 05:26 AM   #2
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Bill... I'd have to disagree with you about having a contract. It doesn't have to be complex or all encompassing but even a simple contract will do one thing for both of you, accurately set expectations which is never a bad thing. Opinions will vary on this, but I think having even a rudimentary written agreement at the start is better than not having anything.

There's nearly always some level of liability exposure in situations like this. If you search this board you'll find many opinions about insurance and legal protection. A talk with your insurance agent can help you, as would a consult with a good attorney for this and the contract question would likely be worth the cost.

As to credits, I tend to err on the side of crediting everyone I can think of who contributed in any way to the finished product, including office staff at the client's venue. It's a way to let them know that you appreciate their help and can foster a little goodwill as well.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 05:32 AM   #3
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It's very cool offer you have there. I think you still should add your credits at the end of each episode. It won't hurt him, and it will help you.

The only potential problem I can see, are terms of that exchange. You should both write down in a contract how many lessons = how many vids, and how long. This will make the situation clear, in case one of you decide to change your mind about the value of his work.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 06:03 AM   #4
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Rule number 1; Friendship is friendship and business is business. Keep them seperate and equal and the ONLY way to do that is with a contractual agreement between the parties involved. It doesn't have to be anything complicated but as my lawyer has always told me, 'if it ain't in writing, it doesn't exsist'.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:51 AM   #5
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If you're filming anyone under 18 years of age that could be an issue I would think. It might be a good idea for your friend to put some wording in his studio contracts that classes might be recorded and used for self-promotion of his business. It needs to be crystal clear to any parent enrolling their child what's going on. We're living in a day and age where a dad in the park taking photos of his children can be pulled aside by law enforcement and questioned.

No matter what I'd have a contract with all my bases covered. Don is right about friendship and business. Keep them separate but equal.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:57 AM   #6
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If he is using this for commercial purposes, I would make sure that everyone signs a model release, and of course if they are minors, the parents will need to sign. This just covers YOUR butt, in case there are some sort of issues later. :)
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Old March 6th, 2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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forget talking to an attorney, it's a complete waste of money. If you shoot video as an amateur, and your camera falls on someone's head your householder's policy "umbrella" provision will often cover you.

If you shoot as a professional you need liability insurance. No attorney is going to tell you different. If you find one that does - get it in writing.

Even if you incorporate to try and protect your personal assets from a lawsuit, failure to follow normal business practice (such as getting insurance) allows the court to "pierce the corporate veil" and take everything anyway.

Every year many hundreds of Americans lose their houses and everything they own because "I didn't know I needed insurance".
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Old March 6th, 2009, 12:34 PM   #8
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Great input. This is a tremendous help, and brings up a couple of issues I have not thought of. I appreciate being able to draw upon the experience and talent of this group, thank you!
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