Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nuts-and-Bolts for Film Pre-Production Package, Talent-Model Release Form Samples

Above are two sample Talent-Model Release forms. One is from Michael Hanrahan, and I think Dave Panitz adopted his form from Michael's. Honestly, to tell you the truth, I saw the form and thought I was reading Shakespeare. It was very scary language, even to ME (a scientist who stares at scary language all the time!). So, this release form convinced me to do a random internet search for alternative formats for these types of forms. I will include these alternative forms that I found on-line in a future blog.

One of the most important ingredients to creating a very-cool-film for everyone to think and enjoy... is to establish meaningful bonds and human relationships with the people you are filming. And the last thing you want to do is scare them away with Shakespearian forms as above. Okay, is it Shakespeare? Or is it Lawyer Language? I don't know. Doesn't matter. IT'S SCARY. PERIOD!

I guess my informal policy I developed this summer is that with all the cool and comical characters I met, I made ORAL AGREEMENTS with them in terms of rights and being allowed to film certain things and not other things. Oral agreements made our interactions very humane and non-corporate. And if we need a WRITTEN AGREEMENT (like liabilities on a fishing boat), my good fisherman friend Phil Freeman willingly wrote a simple liability statement on whatever paper that was available, which happened to be a paper plate. It was a beautiful thing. To improvise legalities on scrap paper plates lying around a boat. I did provide a written (typed) sketch of what I needed from Lazy Acres grocery store with the manager, Jason (though ironically, I never met him, I only met another supervisor, Del). Lazy Acres was recently bought out by a larger organic foods chain (I think the chain is big in Los Angeles, forgot which, Fosters?), so I had to wait a week for "distant corporate approval" of my filming. I learned that dealing with individuals and self-employed or small-institutions minimizes bureaucratic hassle and paperwork. If I obsessed with the notion that I had to film inside an Albertson's or Ralphs, I probably would have had to wait for a year to get approval up the corporate ladder, probably from some mega-corporate dude in New York. Local is good. Individuals are good. Minimizes hassle. Period. Staying human and unstrapped by mega-corporate ladders is... well... very... humane. Nice.

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