You Represent the Film Community

The states of technology, film, and politics are constantly developing and changing. This produces new challenges for filmmakers. Before 9/11 recording equipment prohibitions were more lax, and before that there were drones no one was forced to think about remote controlled aerials being regulated. So you can imagine the confusion that now exists concerning the legality of filming rights for non-filmmakers and filmmakers. Media activism has its place, it’s just not on a film set, and this is especially true when badges are involved. It’s ok to be passionate about the First Amendment, or the conceptions mentioned above about filming and locations. Even if you’ve been asked to leave, you can take a safe stance within the proper channels. Arguing with others, especially security guards, does not benefit you or the film community. It also makes clearing a set even more difficult. Of course no one can make you delete footage you’ve already captured, but that is a confrontation that is best and easily avoided. The goal is to make a lasting film, video, commercial, or contribution, not enemies.

This is my last post on our Summer filming kick off series. I hope that it has been of value to you. Video is one of the most effective marketing tools, but be smart & considerate. Video will serve you and your clients well for generations to come.

Happy filming, and don’t forget we have a full media department who can shoot all your video needs as well as take your photographs.

– Audra Hajj

 

 

Find the Legal Forms You Need

There are ways to find the legal forms you need, even if you’re on a budget. You may not have the money for an attorney either, or the funding for college to become one yourself. If you have a smartphone you are smart indeed because there is an app called Shake that is for both Android and iOS platforms, which gives you mobile release forms right at your fingertips. Shake is versatile and popular since it is so easy to use and free. It gives you the chance to use over a dozen location releases, talent releases, video forms created by licensed attorneys, contracts and parental consent forms that cover everyone from costume designers to extras. Let’s get one thing straight, nothing can actually take the place of an attorney, but Shake gives them a run for their money.

When you have the time and resources you can also use another great legal form site called LegalZoom. They provide downloadable location and talent release forms that come with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Simply download their instructions, detailed releases, and explanation of legal terms so you can be sure to use their forms responsibly. The investment in LegalZoom is inexpensive $14.95, a one-time investment. Just remember you get what you pay for, so film smart with the correct legal forms.

STATE FILM OFFICES & ORGANIZATIONS

Alabama Film Office

Alaska Film Office

Arizona Production Association

Arkansas Production Alliance

California Film Commission

Colorado Office of Film

Television & Media

Connecticut Office of Film

Television & Digital Media

Delaware Film Office

D.C. Office of Motion Picture

& Television Development

Florida Office of Film & Entertainment

Georgia Film & TV Production

Hawaii Film Office

Idaho Film Office

Illinois Film Office

Indiana Film Office

Iowa State Office of Media Production

Kansas Film Commission

Kentucky Film Office

Louisiana Entertainment

Maine Film Office

Maryland Film Office

Massachusetts Film Office

Michigan Film Office

Minnesota Film & TV

Mississippi Film Office

Missouri Film Office

Montana Film Office

Nebraska Film Office

Nevada Film Office

New Hampshire Film

& Television Office

New Jersey Motion Picture

& Television Commission

New Mexico Film Office

New York Loves Film

North Carolina Film Office

North Dakota Film Production

Ohio Film Office

Oklahoma Film & Music Office

Oregon Governor’s Office of Film

& Television

Pennsylvania Film Office

Rhode Island Film & TV Office

South Carolina Film Commission

South Dakota Film Office

Tennessee Film, Entertainment

& Music Commission

Texas Film Commission

Utah Film Commission

Vermont Film & New Media

Virginia Film Office

Washington Filmworks

West Virginia Film Office

Wisconsin Film Organization

Wyoming Film Office

Make Sure You Obtain the Appropriate Permits

Permits, approval, and permission are all important when it comes to filming, and every location is different. However, you can protect yourself by researching permits ahead of time. If there are any local film offices you can start by checking with them prior to filming. For example, you may not need a permit as long as you shoot in a particular manner such as on a tri-pod or with a hand-held camera. These types of restrictions are different everywhere. If you are going to film something like a car chase via a crane, chances are you will need some form of permit. You will find that some areas are more lenient that others too.

When you connect with a local film office, all of this will be made transparent so you can decide how you want to shoot within regulations. A film office can also provide you with other benefits since they exist to support filmmakers. They are one of the best resources for information concerning filming locations, casting calls, and potential tax incentives. If you are filming in larger counties, cities, national or state parks they may have their own regulations in addition to any state-wide terms. You can check with the state organization if that’s the case. Overall you should always ask if local permits are needed, then follow-up by asking what else you can do to get along with them.

STATE FILM OFFICES & ORGANIZATIONS

Alabama Film Office

Alaska Film Office

Arizona Production Association

Arkansas Production Alliance

California Film Commission

Colorado Office of Film

Television & Media

Connecticut Office of Film

Television & Digital Media

Delaware Film Office

D.C. Office of Motion Picture

& Television Development

Florida Office of Film & Entertainment

Georgia Film & TV Production

Hawaii Film Office

Idaho Film Office

Illinois Film Office

Indiana Film Office

Iowa State Office of Media Production

Kansas Film Commission

Kentucky Film Office

Louisiana Entertainment

Maine Film Office

Maryland Film Office

Massachusetts Film Office

Michigan Film Office

Minnesota Film & TV

Mississippi Film Office

Missouri Film Office

Montana Film Office

Nebraska Film Office

Nevada Film Office

New Hampshire Film

& Television Office

New Jersey Motion Picture

& Television Commission

New Mexico Film Office

New York Loves Film

North Carolina Film Office

North Dakota Film Production

Ohio Film Office

Oklahoma Film & Music Office

Oregon Governor’s Office of Film

& Television

Pennsylvania Film Office

Rhode Island Film & TV Office

South Carolina Film Commission

South Dakota Film Office

Tennessee Film, Entertainment

& Music Commission

Texas Film Commission

Utah Film Commission

Vermont Film & New Media

Virginia Film Office

Washington Filmworks

West Virginia Film Office

Wisconsin Film Organization

Wyoming Film Office

Understand the Difference between Plagiarism and Parody

Plot elements can be common. There are quite a few movies, and even commercials, throughout history that have the same type of storyline. This happens mainly because it’s human nature. Even if a plot line is close to another it is not consider to be a copyright violation. The idea behind why it’s not an infringement has to do with intent. Just because two movies or films are similar doesn’t mean they are in the same genre, or that they’re imitating one another on purpose. The overall idea is that each film has its own unique message and it’s a clear parody. This is how a lot of songs, jingles and movies are produced in two different genres such as drama and comedy. They do not directly take information and re-use it; they create new content based on a parody of it. Knowing all of this, it is still a good idea to ask an artist or film maker for their permission out of respect. It’s still different from stealing or plagiarising, even if it is more complex.

Copyright, How Much Does It Protect You?

What Is the Concept of Copyright?

The definition of copyright is the protective right that a creator holds for a body of work that they produce. This can include video clips, a specific plot element, or an audio track. If you want to use someone else’s work, you have to obtain permission otherwise you will be liable for damages. Copyright starts to exist the moment something is created, which means you do not need to register your work in order to establish ownership of it. When you take the steps to register it, it just proves you are the owner and makes litigation easier since it’s then archived as public record. You can have artwork officially registered with the United State Copyright Office for $35. You can also register it through an attorney. For other organizations and screenwriters, the Writer’s Guild of America offers their registration services that are archived and renewable for five year periods. The overall idea is to respect the property of other people, then choose how to protect your property.

Copyright Protection Does Have Limitations

Although it may seem that having copyright protection will protect you fully, there are some limitations. For instance, it does not safeguard you against broad genres. There is nothing preventing someone else or even you from coming up with the next film about a love triangle, for example. It can be about the subject matter, but it cannot directly follow the specific plot line or monologue of an older movie about the same subject. If you take the exact same idea, you are asking for a lot of trouble. It’s always best to be original; it will keep you out of court and save you a lot of unnecessary expenses in the long run.

Is Your Subject Off Limits?

You need to understand when you’re filming in sensitive and insensitive locations. Whether you realized it or not, if you’re filming from private property across the road, and filming someone incidentally, there are certain subjects that are off-limits specifically for security reasons. These areas include government buildings, some aspects of mass transportation like train stations, airports, and tunnels, and military installations. You should always search for signs that make it clear that the area prohibits recording devices or photography. Try to reach out to their media relations department before you arrive if you are unsure of whether your subject is off limits.

Does this apply to public figures? Not entirely. High-profile people such as politicians and celebrities endure less protection against being caught on film. This is because when a public figure is voluntarily in the public eye, to some extend they waive their privacy. That’s why the paparazzi’s footage of stars doing mundane things in life is an actual act that does not require a release form. This doesn’t mean that people do not have the right to control how you use their likeness. They can. You do not have the right to use the documentation with a commercial slant.

June Series On Filming !

Summer is here and we all want to capture great footage, but be careful. There are rules and proper processes. In June our media department is busier than ever , and our legal department always is on full alert during the summer months to protect the company. I wanted to share with my readers some tips and information that will help you avoid any unintentional violations.

So tune in this month for some great information that could save you thousands of dollars in fees and time.

Hope this summer will be one of the best ones ever!

– Audra Hajj