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Help with Viral being distributed through multimedia billboards.


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#1 Salvador M. Rodrigues

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 08:53 PM

Don't know if this is the right place to post this thread or not, but here goes:

Recently I was approached by a creative agency who, are representing a big telecom company to do an online viral campaign. According to the agency, the telecom company was trying to get it done for free and at one point were considering film students to do them. However,they decided it was best to bring in a professional and that's how they got in touch. I was told this on the first interview and was also told how the budget was non-existent. I was asked to name a value per video (it started out with a series of 5), which I did for a symbolic price. This would be very good for my showreel. The first viral was released last week and it's been getting many views and shares on FB. The client was so satisfied they wanted me to shoot and edit an extra film to be used on a multimedia mupi billboard. Which I did. However, now the agency is asking that I create a loop between the first viral and this second multimedia video for it to screen on the designated Mupi board. And now I'm thinking, "hold on" ! I mean, I shot the original viral for a symbolic value (even got actor to star for free and with signed release form) thinking it would only be displayed online. Now its going to be distributed among many bus stop billboards.

Unfortunately, where I'm from, we don't have agents or entertainment lawyers as the way the film/entertainment industry is setup, unless you are a big star you are on your own. So, I would like to hear experiences from different countries on how I should handle this situation ?

I mean, I feel I should be $$ compensated for this distribution. But have no clue on how to determine a value. Also, the agency is setting me up with exra work for the same telecom campaign (also at ridiculous prices). Should I just swallow this up and let it go in favor of more work ? Or should I make a stand ? It's 1am as I'm writing this, and I need to say something by 9am.. Any info/help would be very much appreciated !

I should note that I haven't signed any release forms, or contracts as of yet. This has all been done as a last minute deal.

Many thanks
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 10:50 PM

Well, you're clearly in the "wild West" where rules and regulations do not apply. Because of that, there likely is no legal refuge for you.

Clearly YOU and your SKILLS are worth something to them, otherwise they would've just used students. If it was me, I'd put it to them precisely that way. Tell them that you appreciate the opportunity to help them get their project up and running for a special rate, but you can't afford to continue working under that deal. Have a new number ready to go and above all, be willing to politely say "Thank you, good luck with your project" and walk away. If you illustrate to them that you're willing to work for nearly nothing, then that's eventually what they'll think of you when it comes time to do a bigger project with a budget. They won't even think of you, instead they'll want a "true professional" who costs more (thus proving that he can do bigger jobs). It's a gamble, of course, but at some point if you want them to take you seriously as a professional who has skills and talent that is worth fair pay, then you have to make that stand.

Now, they might really not have the money that you want and/or need, but you still need to be able to tell them that you really can't afford to work for so little and that you have other work on hold (whether you do or not). Maybe they'll magically "find" the money and can then pay you. That happens more often than not. But even if they don't have the money, then you still need to draw the line where YOU need to draw it. There will always be other work out there whether you do their projects or not. They need you more than you need them. And they know it.
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#3 Salvador M. Rodrigues

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 03:01 PM

Thank you for reading and commenting. Very appreciated.

Heres how it turned out. I met with them the next day to discuss the situation. They acknowledged I was right and apologized for not consulting me prior, but excused themselves by saying they have been working with fast delivery deadlines and just didn't think about how it could impact me or the actor. In the conversation I also learned that there were still 1,000 spots left from the distribution contract to fill the streets with billboards. So they took the opportunity to create a new billboard for just those 1,000 spots. Hence, the budget was never affected and no more money was invested. After this dialogue I gave them my ok to release the video, considering they were offering more work, but that they should consult the actor as well for he only signed an internet distribution release form. So they did, and the actor asked for a hefty price. This was denied from the client and so the billboard was released with a replacement video I had also previously shot.

Best regards!
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