As many other inspiring filmmakers, we have several ideas for projects we want to work on. Recently an opportunity came up for us to work in conjunction with someone else to make a documentary. Early on it became evident that the film had great potential. The prospects of a lucrative film can definitely get one’s hopes up. Most importantly for us though, was the chance to get solid recognition for our work. After most of the pre-production was finished, we were forced to drop out of the project. There is nothing or no one to blame but our own mistakes. Unfortunately we went into the project excited and with blind trust to find out later that our partner was not on the same wavelength as us.
We decided that we needed assistance in a very important filmmaking skill, that of people skills. On this particular project, the other person proved to be a good talker, which had us feeling pretty confident that we were going in the right direction. Because of our partner’s personal connection with the subject of the film, we all thought it was only smart to use them as the front person for the project. Little did we realize at the time, this would undermine the partnership we had invisioned.
Gradually a feeling of tension began to rise about how the profit and credits should be distributed. There were also questions of differences in artistic opinion. Finally, the inevitable confrontation came to a head. Needless to say it did not go well. Our partner had decided that they should receive virtually all the profit and credit for the film. We were merely employees working on wages of promises and a slight mention in the credits. This was a slap in the face when we had done most of the work up to this point. So with no way to even come to a compromise, we felt it was best for us to take the lesson as learned and move on to other projects. I am happy to say within two days, two more projects came to us that we are very excited about and look forward to start talking about on this blog.
With the creation of these new projects hopefully we have learned better to put our ducks in a row. Where did we make a mistake to begin with? I believe it was by not deciding how the partnership would work at the time of the project’s creation. We had actually discussed it briefly, just saying “lets not worry about this yet, lets see if we can do it first”. It was mentioned that we would not try to take advantage of the other and so on. Well as they say, talk is cheap.
It seems to be a common mistake of new filmmakers, to put the art in front of the legal aspects. Unfortunately this is something we have to deal with. Legal matters have to be delt with precisely and comprehensively. The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers By Thomas A. Crowell is a good starters guide for diving into the legal issues surrounding the entertainment industry.
Consult entertainment attorney before taking any important steps.
Some But Not All – Legal Issues to Consider:
- Partnerships and collaborations. Have a proper contract from the very beginning so all parties involved know exactly what to expect and to avoid potential problems.
- Creation. Protect your story or other creative ideas. Obtain proper rights from other’s creative work you incorperate. Such as books, songs, films, etc. If you plan to depict actual persons, be aware of defamation and their right of privacy. A lawyer should be consulted for your own protection.
- Contracts for all cast and crew.
- If you plan to use Union workers, you might have to deal with organizations like the Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, or the International Association of Theater and Stage Employees.
- Releases. Personal Releases. Have a proper release form when you film or photograph anyone. Location releases. Some specific locations, such as businesses, buildings, and monuments may require a release. Products and personal property are also subject to needing a release.
- Distribution. To be able to distribute the film, make sure you have all the proper rights to do so, and all releases are cleared. Know what rights you give up through any method of distribution.
- Copyright might be important for the finished product and script.
- Insurrance. Protect yourself. You don’t need it unless or until the enevitable happens. If it does you better have it.
I am a “cinephile”, or a film buff or whatever you want to call it and I have been so for ten years now. I started out by going to the movies several times a weeks, then visiting the cinematheque to discover the old masterpieces. Luckily, my interests in movies was soon followed by the arrival of the DVD. Thanks to this great media, I have had no shortage of great movies to watch – always in their original version. So. watching Mean Streets and Carlito’s Way at least once a week, I ended up speaking a decent english. Oh yea, by the way, I am french. One thing leading to another, I got engaged to an American from North Carolina. Anyway…
At the same time I started watching movies, I also started making them. Luckily again, around that time, computers available to the public were just starting to be powerful enough to handle video acquisition and editing. Because I started using computers to make videos, I became more and more of a geek, spending more and more time on the Internet as the price of the connection lowered. And following that road, I became a computing engineer. Currently, I work as a software engineer for blueKiwi software. But I have not stopped watching movies and directing videos using the name World Wide Angle as an artist alias for whatever me or Derrick would work on. But now, the time has come for us to launch and take our filmmaking the next step. We are ready to handle other people’s projects from start to finish including the filming, the post-production and the distribution whether it’d be on a physical media or on the Cloud.
Along with World Wide Angle, the company, we are launching this blog where I will write about editing, about the Internet and probably also about some of the movies we watch. Our intentions with this blog are to share some of the tricks we discovered along the way and hopefully to get some answers and advice from “our readers”.
Welcome to the offical launch of our Blog and new Website. World Wide Angle is a name my wife Samantha and I have chosen for the company we have started in order to pursue our ambitions in cinema and photography. Over the last few years we have been filming projects for Artists and Galleries in the Paris Area. Now we are ready to take things to the next level and start branching out.
About me: I am an American, originally from North Carolina, now living in Paris, France. I have lived here off and on over the last four years. Now I am in the process of intergrating into French society. Recently I recieved my Carte de Séjour, and curtisy of the French government I am taking French language classes. I look forward to getting underway on projects we’ve had in mind for some time now. Hopefully we will be in a position to film our own screenplays soon. This is my first attempt at maintaining a blog. In the future I will be writing about life in France, setting up a new company, equipment, and techniques. Check back with us often.