Sunday, October 28, 2012

Music Rights and the Indie Filmmaker

The big news is that Jon finished the rough cut of the teaser despite a terrible cold. He's been adding images from the book trailer and working on the opening credits. I should know in a few days when we can upload the teaser. Jon does not want to show anything other than the final cut of the teaser. I agree with him. Past experience has shown that viewers can get fixated on perceived flaws that will be corrected in post and hit the social nets with word of how bad the entire project is. We literally cannot afford for that to happen. Be patient. He's almost done with the images. The last part to get edited is the audio. Then, there is finding and adding sound FX and music. Speaking of music, it is one of the issues that has been brought up a lot lately among readers of the blog. That is complicated matter for indie filmmakers even for something as short as a trailer.

The Right Rights
Websites like Youtube are getting more strict with the use of music in videos. Even if a video manages to evade notice for a time – sometimes for long periods – it can get yanked when the rights holder finds out about it. The problem is that even though the vast majority of videos do not ever get enough hits to make money, all channels are set up to become monetized. Thus, the possibility of making money at all means that having unlicensed music is an infringement. The other factor in these decisions is a legal term called easement. If a rights holder fails to enforce their copyright in any venue, it can be forfeited. So, even when a noticed is placed on the video acknowledging that the material is not theirs and no infringement is intended, that is not protection from being yanked. Have enough videos yanked, and the account goes away.

So, we have to go the route of getting a license from the start. For the teaser, our options are limited to services like, one that I already use for my cooking videos or using parts of the Demon Under Glass soundtrack. We have no money for the teaser. It makes no sense to pay for the rights to music for the teaser. But what will we do for the actual web series? That depends on how much money we raise. There are a couple of composers that we like and would love to hire. Though they are up and comers in the industry, hiring them means that they would have to turn down other paid work to do our soundtrack. Thus, they have to be paid at a rate comparable to the work they would be missing. And while it is true that there are a lot of talented people just dying to get a break in the biz and would work for nothing but a credit, it is a lot of work and time to find candidates that are both talented and reliable enough to finish the job properly. That is the problem with work that is done for absolutely no money. It can get delayed or even abandoned in favor of paid jobs without any real penalty from the industry. Producers can cause a world of problems for a freelancer who walks away from a paid gig, especially since moneys always exchange hands before the job begins. But you can't get much sympathy from professionals about someone dumping a job that involved no pay. We have some really good people in mind that we plan to hire on bigger projects. Which of the composers we hire will depend solely on how much money is raised.

I'm barreling through a detailed treatment for the script, so that the actors will know what's in store for them before they do the podcast interviews. The plan is to get something in their hands by Wednesday. The interviews are scheduled for next weekend. Worry not, I will post something on the blog that will in no way spoil the other venues where the interviews will air.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see the teaser. Hope all keeps going in the right direction. Will keep my fingers crossed for the project. Hope Jon is feeling better now too.