If you’re prepping for your next film project, you must get written permission for every element you use in your film. At the very least, you will need releases for locations, video footage, cast and crew, and images. If you fail to get the necessary documents, you could screw up your chances for distribution, and worse, open yourself up to legal action.
With this in mind, here is a list of seven documents that every film producer needs.
Crew Deal Memo
Everyone who works on your film, including volunteers, production assistants, and anyone else, will need to sign a crew deal memo. This could be someone working in the office or working on the set. It could be someone who worked with you in development. Or someone who worked with you in post-production.
Actor Deal Memo
An actor deal memo is for all non-union and non-guild actors working on your film. The language should spell out the actor’s role in the project and their compensation. This film document should also include what rights the actor gives to the production company.
This document is for all non-union and non-guild background talent working on the film. This release is for people who appear in the background of a shot or scene but are not the focal point or subject of the footage. In other words, no one has a speaking part.
Poster Style Release
In terms of film documents, a poster style release is used to supplement your location releases when filming in public spaces where numerous people enter and exit the frame. Some everyday use cases for this agreement include scenes in public parks, government buildings, and surrounding areas, shopping centers, malls, sports arenas, etc.
This release gives the production company the right to use the actor’s name, likeness, and voice in connection with the film. Use this form for all non-cast members who appear on-screen, voice-over, or otherwise in the movie, including interview subjects, reenactors, extras, etc.
When filming large groups, such as a club, athletic team, choir, etc., you would use a group release. This document gives the production company the right to use photos and footage of the group connected with the film. This release is only for adults and should list all group members giving their permission to be filmed.
The location release gives the production company the right to film at a specific location. Locations could be a house, business, park, or any property. The release should list the particular address and include the contact information for the owner or person in charge of the property.
As you probably know, getting film documents drafted for your production can get expensive. Entertainment attorneys often charge more than $465 dollars per hour to prepare these releases. To help save you some money, check out the film production releases that entertainment attorney Gordon Firemark has put together.