Reality TV, Music Videos: Contracts and work involved.

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    • #49212

      Well this past week has definitely started to turn the world upside down for me. It all started when my son befriended a kid who’s father is a music producer. Long story short, I did some cheap interviews for some of his artists (as seen in another post), and now I have been offered quite a bit more. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START!

      First off he is wanting some music videos done. Ok so I will do some homework on that, and take some shots at that.

      Secondly he brought up an idea for a reality show, which obviously I cannot share all the details, but think “Big Brother”.

      Now I have NO clue how to handle all this about what I expect to be paid, work involved, contracts etc. I was hoping this great community here might be able to help point me in the right direction on how to first and foremost protect myself, and make sure that I get paid fairly. Also if anyone has any info, or point me to some information that could help me prepare for what I might be getting into?

      Thanks in advance for any help!

    • #201535


    • #201536
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      No need for contracts, at least not at this point. Just do the videos as one offs, getting half down and half when done each time. As for the show concept, It’s very hard to sell an idea today. Because production is so cheap now, you’ll need to go to pitch fests with a sizzle reel in hand. If you’ve not pitched a show before, I siggest the LATV Festival as a boot camp. They’ll educate you in everything involved in a pitch from your sizzle reel to the one sheet to the bible that will be requested if those two are liked. If pitching without representation, you’ll want to hit all the NATPE type events that you can. Know that until you have some shows under your belt, not offering the security of a sound production company is your biggest handicap… so those may be the places you want to pitch to… to let them pitch for you. Some see that as handing away half the pie. Look at is as a way to get half a pie instead of nothing.

    • #201537

      Some light reading I might suggest is “The Indepenent Film Producers’s Survival Guide” third edition.

      Probably a little more that you need right now but it is good information to be aware of.

    • #201538

      Two ways to go here: hobby or profession. If what you’re doing is a hobby, like any other hobby you do your thing, suck up the incidental costs and enjoy. Even if it’s just a hobby, though, I’d draw up some kind of letter of agreement, even if it only says “I’ll come to your house on Tuesday and shoot two hours of interviews with members of the band. In exchange I expect to have my parking paid for and a limitless supply of coffee. I’ll deliver the edited interviews as soon as it’s convenient for me to do so.”

      If it’s a professional move, several other factors kick in, not the least of which are your costs. You’ve got real, out-of-pocket expenses: gas, insurance, utilities used in editing the work, amortization of equipment costs, etc. Then you’ve got to consider a wage for yourself. After all, you’re doing this to earn income. Ask yourself this: If some guy came along and said “I’d like you to work for me; pick up gear, take it to a site, assemble it and tape an interview (which has to have excellent video and audio;) then come back, edit it, make a couple of DVDs and put it up on You Tube too. Oh, and by the way, you’ll be involved in this for a whole day,” what would you expect to be paid? $25, $35, $75 per hour? Only you can decide what your time and expertise is worth; just be careful not to undervalue yourself because you think that will help get jobs.

      I don’t work for anybody without a contract. The purpose of a contract or letter of agreement is to insure that each party knows precisely what’s expected of the other. In the long run this reduces squabbles over expectations and performance to nearly zero. Unfortunately we live in a litigious society and you really do have to protect yourself.

      Finally, get business/liability insurance; enough to protect your net worth. You may be doing this for friends, but that relationship will change abruptly when one of them trips over your light stand and breaks a leg.

      Grinner has laid down some excellent advice regarding pitching a show. Just be careful that in your enthusiasm you don’t neglect your vision of video production as a business, as a means of making a livelihood.


    • #201539

      I wish I had be told the following before I made my first music video.

      Whenshooting music videos for arecording artist their live performancewill always be+or- 3 secondsof their original 3 minute song.I find the bestshoot methodisfor the artist to audio sync to their original recording and use cut-aways or B-Roll shots to cover sync mistakes.I usually do3 shoots of each song.

      Place an informationtitle before the universal leader at the start of the music video noting Artist, Song, Their Management name and Contact details, video duration and specifications(eg: Pal-B),your company name and details and date. Recommended length of title is to be able read it aloud twice, and by prior your agreement toplace a small Copyright protection advice at the end of the recording.

      I havefound by doing the shoot in a controlled environmentI get better results than in uncontrolled outside environment (wind,weather,other people etc etc.. My favored method is green screen studiorecoding.

      As for the reality show I would make sure I get paid for the music videos because not matter how hot or gooda person’sdream is of a TV program idea, it’s easy to get caught up,very, veryfew make it and someone has to wear the cost of shooting and producing the pilot’s, that don’t make itmake surethat’s not you.

      In the first instance I usuall exchange emails for whom I doing work specifically to establish a written trail of all prior agreed informationshould problems arise at a later date and in so doing I am able to rely on the fact the law places heavy weight on the original intent of the partiesinvolved should a problem arise, but then agian I don’t live in the USA.

    • #201540

      DoubleHammer, one thing that you really need to find out is how much shooting is going to be involved in the reality show. Some of the ones that I have watched they start very early in the morning and go into the late evening which may require and additional shooter that I am sure will want to be paid. To get the footage that will be needed, it may also require two shooters the whole time. Ask lots of questions before diving in.

    • #201541

      Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.

      For the reality show -I would not doubt there would be more than a couple shooters. On top of manual cameras, if the static cameras are running 24 hrs/day those alone must take hours to review, or at least have people watching this live 24/7 – at least 20 hrs per day would be my guess just to see what may be material. Honestly I was never a huge reality fan (not a hater, just not a watcher) but this could be a fun little project. It sounds like it was almost put in place a couple years ago, but fell through. Not quite sure what happened in the end. Anyhow, this just came up in discussion and is nothing solid at the moment.

      For studio updates, I don’t see much use for contracts – seems to be kind of a cash deal anyhow – no complaints there.

      The music video will come in time – still watching and learning on that end.

      Thanks again!

    • #201542
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      Cash is always good. I do a boatload of local music videos and EPKs on the cheap because they are fun and they pay green.

      plus beer more often than not.

    • #201543

      Hi friends

      I like reality show. i always see this show when i free? and i see reality show relative historical re- creation I like this type of serial? and my favorite serial of historical is Over The Rainbow (2010) . i like this show is my favourite serial of whole life……….

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