Red Porche II - Film production

This scenario has been provided by School of Creative Media by Dr Fiona Peterson, Simon Embury, Rowan Humphrey, Dr Kipps Horn, John Phillips and Stephen Skok. The discussion response to the scenario provided by Anne Lennox. They are fictitious but are realistic situations for some students and staff.

SCENARIO 7: RED PORSCHE II (FILM PRODUCTION)

AV and professional screenwriting students undertook a collaborative project in 2007 to make a short film, Red Porsche II. The 4-day high-definition video shoot was on location in West Melbourne.

Students took roles such as Director of Photography in a professional film environment. Activities included screenwriting, production management, camera, lighting, sound recording, and editing.

Screenwriting student Graeme, who wrote the script, hopes to enter the finished production in a short film competition in 2008.

SCENARIO DISCUSSION

Film production, licensing, contracts and copyright are generally an involved process that is handled by the administrators of Film Production Companies. Film Production requires a variety of licenses, contracts and copyright considerations, a brief description of what is required in film production is listed below:

Actors Releases – any actor that is to take part in a film production must provide consent the consent must detail the nature of the production and also how the production will be used in the future. Such as, part of a short film competition, or commercialisation by a larger film production company. When undertaking to formulate actor’s agreements you need to consider your immediate needs plus also future needs, how you would expect to use the film in the future.

Further information on making films in Australia can be found at the Australian Film Commissions Website. The film commission website contains a range of resources that detail what is required when undertaking to make a film. http://www.afc.gov.au/default.aspx

Film Production Company staff – film production company staff such as camera, lighting, sound, editing and production management also need to be provided with an agreement much the same as an employee contract that details the terms of the employment as part of the film production. In the event the film is not being made by a film production company where employee contracts would normally be used, a contract similar to a employee contract should be drawn up to detail the roles and responsibilities of the duties to be performed.

As the film being made is a collaborative piece of work, each member of the team would be considered a joint owner of the work in the absence of an agreement. If agreements similar to the ones mentioned above are in place, then each member of the collaborative project clearly understand their role and subsequent ownership rights in the overall production. In the commercial film industry ownership rights in cinemagraphical works rests with the larger production company such as Time Warner, MGM and alike. The principal producer, director and screenwriter are award moral rights in the production, moral rights are different from exclusive rights and always vest with individual rather than companies.

With regard to the collaborative work produced by the students, ownership rights need to be established at the outset before filming begins. In establishing ownership rights a discussion needs to be undertaken to discover the possible distribution avenues for the film, and the ownership rights that would be awarded to members of the team. Once the team has agreed upon ownership rights and distribution avenues a contract or agreement should be drawn up that details the understandings that the team has agreed upon. It is important to remember that once an agreement or contract is in place, and at a later date a member of the team receives interest in the film from an outside party, and the details of the offer fall outside of the agreed contracted terms, then that member of the team would be required to negotiate with the other members of the team to extend the contract/agreement to include the new distribution avenue.

The Copyright Act details moral rights in cinemagraphical works will vest with the principal director, producer and screenwriter. In the event there is more than one screenwriter, the principle screenwriter is awarded moral rights in the script. As per any cinemagraphical work the rolling end credits will provide attribution to the remaining members of the team who collaborated on the project.

Including music as part of a film production can be quite a complex area depending on the nature of the distribution of the film. Music licensing requires differing licences from the different music collecting societies depending on the rights being exercised. Included below is a table that details music licensing rights of the four music societies.

Rights

Musical Work

Sound Recordings

Performing Rights

Public Performance

Communication [Streaming online]

APRA

PPCA

Mechanical Rights [Reproductions]

CD-ROM

Synchronise

General Reproduction

AMCOS

ARIA

As the film will be synchronising music will moving images an AMCOS AND ARIA licence is required in the first instance. As the film will be shown to the public, and possibly placed online to be streamed for viewing purposes only, a licence is also required from APRA and PPCA. So in effect you will require four separate licenses for the inclusion of a commercial sound recording as part of your film production.

All of the music societies listed above have detailed information on licensing available on their websites:

ARIA - http://www.aria.com.au/pages/licensing.htm

APRA / AMCOS - http://www.apra.com.au

The APRA / AMCOS website contains the very informative information on licensing the use of musical works in a range of situations.

If your film is not for wider distribution at this stage and is only to be used as part of your assessment, you are able to rely upon either the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act, or the Music Licence RMIT has in place with the four music societies listed above. The fair dealing provisions will only allow you to use a reasonable portion of a musical work as part of the production you couldn’t rely on using a whole song as part of the film under the fair dealing provisions.

You might also like to check out creative commons music, creative commons is an international movement designed to provide copyright works to the public under a set of licensing terms. When thinking about creative commons you do need to read the licence to which the work is licensed under and ensure you do comply with the licenses terms. Creative commons licenses are binding legal licenses and are enforceable in a court of law. Creative Commons: http://creativecommons.org/

Brand placement in films can also be an issue, when thinking of including brands especially popular brands such as Coke, Pepsi, McDonalds and alike it would be best to contact these companies and advise that their brand is to appear in your work. Especially if your work is to be distributed or shown to the wider public.

In relation to the IP landscape at RMIT, students own the copyright in the works they produce as part of their course of study at RMIT. Therefore the students will own the rights to the film production once it has been completed. More information on IP and Students can be found at the RMIT IP Policy Website.