Railway Preservation News

Film crews/TV & movies/release forms/profit???
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Author:  Pegasuspinto [ Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Film crews/TV & movies/release forms/profit???

I know several of our organizations have been approached by media and have had media appearances, commercials, syndicated TV shows, history and documentaries, and sometimes even movies.

What kind of release did they want? Did you ask for modifications on the release, and what were they?

What kind of compensation did you typically receive? Money(lump sum, or some kind of profit share/residual/continual payments), free product, supposed publicity, nothing?

What kinds of media were they (generally)? How many times have you refused them, and why?

Have you come to regret the agreement later, and why?

Author:  jayrod [ Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film crews/TV & movies/release forms/profit???

Some of our cars were used in "Unstoppable". If I recall, the money wasn't much different than our standard lease rates. And they had to come back in the same condition at the minimum. Some of our mechanics were on-site with the cars as part of the deal and were fed and housed with the film crew. I can dig out the paperwork next time I'm at the depot if you want some details.

Author:  Trolleyguy [ Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film crews/TV & movies/release forms/profit???

A lot depends on what the film production crew wants to do. In one instance, we did a "play for pay" with a rock group that wanted to use some of our equipment in a music video shoot. We did a standard contract for services and they came back later and performed at one of our events. Plus handed out free CDs to staff. Other times, if equipment had to be moved and/or operated, a standard location fee contract was negotiated.

Everything is negotiable. If the production interferes with regular operations then the potential lost revenue has to be factored in.

Author:  HudsonL [ Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film crews/TV & movies/release forms/profit???

Just remember the story (I think from IRM) of catching the stagehand with the hole saw just about to drill into the side of the car to run a cable.


Author:  Overmod [ Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film crews/TV & movies/release forms/profit???

Which reminds me: I was once the owner of one of the 'favorite' properties in the New York area for film shoots. There are some added things aside from the 'release' that need to be explicitly arranged:

1) The film people need to provide proof of location insurance and other coverage, in full force, and you might want to insist on being an 'additional named insured' on all the coverage (it will be sent from the film company's insurance agent or coverer to you, don't take even notarized copies from the film company or staff.

2) Be sure you have a specific contact person, and their full contact information, regarding how to contact for loss or breakage on the shoot or discovered afterward. Be advised they will likely have all the usual sorts of excuse for not calling/e-mailing back, actually delivering the compensation check, etc. and you may have to be persistent ... do not let any lack of persistence afflict whoever at your organization is following up on this.

3) Keep a weather eye on what the crew does while on your property (it likely won't be Midnight Rider class, but many's the time I found someone carefully sequestering property 'for later' or carefully noting the security arrangements. I had some carefully-staged window dressing involving in my case some dummy wiring, Tesla coils and a 4160V motorized switch in the basement that helpfully stalled off a couple of detected 'espionage' attempts; apparently the rats spread the word about the poisoned cheese far and wide because we were one of the two or three houses in our neighborhood that was not knocked over at least once during those years.

4) The money can be good, and it will get much better if you are the equivalent of an 'actor's director' to the crews. Find out for example how and where additional electricity for lights and amenities can be provided for less than the cost of equipment rental, and the additional power and wiring can be useful at other times.

5) Be VERY careful with the public and your neighbors regarding some of these. It was not uncommon for vehicles to be parked up and down the streets for blocks, on both sides, for major shoots (these were largely for commercials, and they get all the footage including the 'studio' shots done in the one day if they can) and it can in a word get tiresome for neighbors to put up with this at all after a while, let alone every few weeks or days. It may not help to have enough property to park most of the vehicles 'in private'.

Author:  Pegasuspinto [ Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Film crews/TV & movies/release forms/profit???

I dunno WHAT to think about the one that I just seen signed, or WTF the person who signed it was thinking. It's not for a 'big' production, but has no compensation, and no limits. The media can be used by them or their assignees however they see fit, forever, in any format now or future conceived. It doesn't even have the dates defined as to when the media can be gathered. No mentions of any liabilities. Far as I am concerned the only next worse step is cutting them a set of keys and signing a quitclaim.

Author:  Brian Norden [ Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film crews/TV & movies/release forms/profit???

I once worked for the Los Angeles branch of a scaffold and shoring firm that would rent to the motion picture industry in the greater Los Angeles area. A few things learned:

1. Production firms are independent of the studios they are associated with or rent office space at.

2. Get your payment up front.

3. We would double or triple or quadruple the usual construction industry rental rate. The production companies would not blink.

From my museum experience the following has been learned.

1. "Water-soluble" paint does not completely clean up; it can remain in the weathered grain of even painted wood.

2. One time "water-soluble paint" turned out to be water based (latex) paint that would not clean up. Ended up going after money to repaint the cars and never got enough money to repaint even one car -- the car was repainted but we had to come up with the balance of the cost of the paint from other projects.

3. Have a presence with the cars, etc. One time to set the camera angle inside a modernized heavy-weight coach the film crew removed a seat. Seat was one that had an aisle-way light -- I subsequently had an awkward time pulling wires through the conduit to restore the wiring.

Our business car was used for filming for the TV mini-series Winds of War. I heard that one of the lights was too hot, too close to the ceiling and caused damage to the finish. The production company had this fixed for us.

Author:  Brian Norden [ Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film crews/TV & movies/release forms/profit???

Another thought:
Find out about the story line, etc. of the scene(s) to be filmed. You may not what to be involved with showing an unsafe activity.

Author:  Utah Josh [ Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Film crews/TV & movies/release forms/profit???

Being a film person myself (art department, set dresser and prop maker on a number of commercials and short fiction films) here are some of my thoughts:

1. Always ask to read both the script (which will tell you the story) and the art department's set script breakdown (which will tell you what they plan on doing with the location). Knowing what they plan on doing will avoid potential problems. Some will hem and haw about production secrecy but hold it over their head that you will not allow use of the property without a full knowledge of what will be going on.
2. Insist that any permanent damage be fully compensated and get it in writing. A film's insurance will usually cover damages if they occur. The main thing is to prevent damages from happening in the first place however.
3. I emphasize this one from personal experience: get to know as many of the department heads as possible. Being on a personal relationship with the art department head, the grips and key set dressers will create a more positive environment for directing how they act around your location.
4. As others have said, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have your own staff supervising at all times. Don't trust anybody to be alone with your property.

I can't speak for the Nevada Northern Railway, but I admire how willing they are to allow film projects to shoot on their property, including indie filmmakers. I think the key is to be friendly but firm in all communications.

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