Need advice: Not credited in the final project

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    • #88932


      I’m in a tough position. I’m an editor with a few years of experience in the field and I am in unfamiliar waters at the moment.

      I’ve learned the hard way to draw contracts for any sort of job I do. I took a job to edit a music video for a friend, an artist without a written contract. However, being an easy and trusting guy, I accepted the artist’s word saying he’ll pay my compensation after the video is released since we started on good grounds and he’s known me for a few years and we’ve done some work together before.

      I spent 70+ hours on the project and knowing the artist as “a friend”, I handed the final video to him to take it to a lab for color correction I didn’t hesitate to oblige. However, I just saw the video online today and found out that I’m not credited at all. Instead, he credited himself as the director and the editor.

      The money is of an less importance. What hurts the most is not being acknowledged for all the hard work I’ve put in on a discount rate for a hopeful artist who’s on the budget to make a break in the music video scene.

      The video is on YouTube and is sent to be played on a few TV stations. I’m here pleading for any advice from fellow editors cause I’m in a situation I have never been put into.

    • #213212

      I’d head to my attorney as fast as possible. Your work has been stolen and you may be able at the very least to obtain a “cease and desist” order if you can prove it. I grew up in a Sicilian neighborhood and subscribe to the “don’t get mad, get even” philosophy; I’d make a point of letting everyone in your video community know what has happened, and I’d certainly inform You Tube of the situation.
      Also, not to put too fine a point on it, I’d never work for anyone, ever, without a contract!

    • #213259
      Kevin Mc

      Yup, as much as I am not a litigious person, at the very least grab a cease and desist order from online, fill in out accordingly, and send it certified mail. Having your work stolen is very bad. If it’s on a public site like YT or Vimeo, post the cease and desist in the comments for the video, after you mail out the hard copy.

      Two notes: 1) never hand a client (friend) a finished production for any reason without payment. 2) when a client must have a copy before payment, watermark the video. I had a client, with questionable intentions request a final cut before payment, so I watermarked it. When they complained, I told them, their final payment due on the production is not at all for the hours I spent editing it. The final payment is simply to remove the watermark πŸ™‚ (true story)

    • #213339

      Hi ramin85:

      Sorry to hear you got no credit for your work.

      Here are some considerations:

      = Directly contact the artist.
      Tell him he violated your agreement by not giving you credit.

      You sound like a very reasonable person, so talking in person, or by phone, would work.
      If in person, maybe the presence of a neutral third party might help.

      If you are likely to get hot-headed, contact him by e-mail or letter, however, it is far less potent, then in person. Have a friend read what you write before hitting “Send.”

      Be clear what you want for a remedy: your name on the credits.
      (Did you do the titles for the edit?)

      = If you get a bad response, collect any proof you worked on the project, such as e-mails, and digital files still on your editing computer; anything that backs up your claim.

      = If anyone else knew about your agreement with the artist, get their written deposition.

      = Anywhere the video appears you can challenge the credits, however, it would be prudent to have substantial proof.

      = Usually, a suit is a last resort, for which you would need to do all of the above, and it will take even more of your time and money, with no more certain results.

      Note: It sounds like the artist does not understand that all movie and music production is a collaborative process, and good will is needed for the communities of artists to work together, for present and future projects.

      Good luck to you.

      Sweet Corn Productions

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