How to make a short film : Contracts (part 5)

Contractual issues are often overlooked in the film industry because there seems to be so much going on around filming your short that it becomes less important. However, after you shoot your short film, this becomes the most important for image rights and releases.

Make sure that all the actors who play in your film sign a release form that allows you to use their image in all your mediums once the film is complete. This is essential if you want to sell to TV stations.

Permissions are often needed in specific locations that are public and private. Doing a little research on this can help out, particularly if you have a large crew that will spend an afternoon in a public place. Parks, streets, museums and restaurants all have a different set of rules. It is vital to notify the police, and fire brigades when dealing with stunts and scenes that may be interpreted as hostile to citizens who pass by the set.

If you have a lot of equipment left out in the open, or at a friend s apartment, these places must have insurance. Unfortunately, there comes a time when someone may actually steal your rented equipment from under your nose. There is so much going on that it is hard for you to keep an eye out on every detail.

Health insurance cover in case of accidents is also a very important document to have. If you are part of an establishment, film school or other organization, this should be given to you.

Music rights tend to be overlooked and are the single key biggest obstacle to having a film distributed. Don t use commercial music unless you want to spend thousands for a few seconds. Try to get a composer or a local band to do your soundtrack and sign a release with them.

Release forms (TV distribution) These tend to be straightforward once you know you have everything signed for. Try to get a second opinion before you sign any agreement and check to see whether it is exclusive or non-exclusive.

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