Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Needs Actor Release

Dear Rich: We will be seeking funding on Kickstarter, Indie GoGo, Rocket Hub, etc. for a musical we want to film/record this summer. We have a licensing agreement with the composers; the story has been written to their music. We authored/copyrighted the play (book) although we've borrowed plot points/character profiles from Shakespeare--pretty sure that's okay. Our plan is to film the musical on stage. We will press a limited number of CD's/DVD's since we are only paying actors and crew a stipend for their participation. What type of releases would you recommend we will need from the actors?     When it comes to the permissions needed for making films, we usually consult our favorite reference, Clearance & Copyright: Everything You Need to Know for Film and Television. Assuming you're not using a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) contract, author Michael Donaldson recommends including a clause like the following in the actor's agreement:
Rights: Producer shall own all rights of every kind in the results and proceeds of Actor's services hereunder. Producer shall have the unlimited right throughout the universe and perpetuity to exhibit the motion picture in all media, now, or hereafter known. Actor's services are a work for hire.
By the way, Donaldson also recommends getting similar "work for hire" contractual assurances from the crew working on the film. Check out his book for more information.

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