Digital video filmmaking can be a strenuous process for everyone involved, mostly because you are working quickly on multiple locations with a variety of technology. If you have a number of people working either as actors or on the production crew the risk of injury or illness from the working conditions increase exponentially. This problem should also be addressed along with having a signed document stating that people are working for a set amount and that the ownership of their work is transferred to you or your “production company” It is important to cover all of you legal bases, and inform your participants of the associated risks, by creating a cast and crew liability release form.
This is a similar release form that many employers will have new employees sign, but the difference is that you are doing an independent digital video production so your resources are even lighter. Make sure that you begin the form with a line stating that the signer agrees with the conditions set forth in the below contract. Provide a place to sign directly below this.
You should then provide a space stating that the signer understands the risks involved in being in this type of work environment. If you are providing some type of health care, which you most likely won’t be, then you should consult the health insurance company before adding this part to the contract. Provide another place for the person to sign below this statement.
Next, you need to provide a spot addressing issues of ownership. This means that they allow you, or your production company, to use and own all the products of their work in this production. This means that they waive their right to hold copyright over said work. Also include lines that they will participate in promotional activities, keep production secrets, and not use anything from this production on a future financial endeavor. Put a place to sign below this section.
The last section should address compensation. If they are doing it for free then put that they agree on volunteering in the production. If you are paying them something make sure to include this, along with what they will be credited for and how that credit will be applied. Provide a spot for them to properly print their name for the credits.
Now you need to provide the last official signing spot. Give them a spot to print their name, sign, and date. Also have them provide their official address and social security number for your records. Also provide a spot for yourself, the producer, to print your name, sign, and date.
This is a simple contract that you should have everyone involved with your film sign before you begin production. Anything can happen on a film shoot, so you should make sure all your bases are covered.
This post is part of the series: Pre-Production
Learn about some of the elements of digital video film pre-production.
- Chopping Up Your Screenplay
- The Elements of Pre-Production for Documentaries
- Pre-Production Tasks for the Digital Video Producer
- Final Check Digital Video Pre-Production Tasks
- The Importance of Using Photo Release Forms
- Making a Cast and Crew Liability Release Form
- Using a Location Release
- Creating a Group Release Form
- Lowering Production Costs on Your Digital Video Film
- Getting Costumes for Your Digital Video Film
- Creating a Shot Log
- Creating an Equipment List and What Should Be On It