Post-Production : Producer Conflicts and Ethical issues - NEED ADVICE by Mercedes Diaz

Mercedes Diaz

Producer Conflicts and Ethical issues - NEED ADVICE

Guys: I want to put this out there and get some feedback. Almost three weeks ago we shot a short. One of the producers was also the director. He has absconded with the footage and SD cards and refuses the other producers to even see the footage. He says he won't return anything unless he gets a release to cut the film into "his vision" and has threatened to delete the footage. I'm concerned that he doesn't have any regard for the time and effort the rest of the crew and cast donated to get this made. It was a first film for a writer who has been dying to get her work made (she's taken film production classes galore in preparation for this moment and she is also exec producer and this experience has depressed her immensely. Any thoughts on this? Your advice would be appreciated!

Demiurgic Endeavors

The proper thing to do is report the theft to the police by reporting the theft of material north of $5000. That way it won't get classified as a low priority misdemeanor. Prior to me joining a 48 film group they had a similar theft. Except none of the members at the time did anything. The only thing they do now is retell the sad story of how they were robbed.

Shaun O'Banion

Who paid for the shoot? If your producer/director did, you've got a sticky situation. If YOU did, you technically own the negative. Try and talk this person off the ledge. Part of being a producer is the art of negotiation. Find out what his or her issue is and try to address it in a way that is mutually beneficial. Failing that, involve the police.

Demiurgic Endeavors

@Alle she did say ONE of the producers. So the OTHER producers do have a legal and financial stake in the matter.

Devin Connelly

Refer back to what's in writing, if there were any sort of agreements drafted and signed. If there weren't any, then let this be a lesson to do that going forward regardless if there's money involved. I've personally made this mistake before and learned from it, so at the very least, I can sympathize with your situation.

Royce Allen Dudley

If it were me I'd tell him to do whatever he wants, as it was a dress rehearsal, and you will regroup and re-shoot with the new director now that you have seen what it can really become. Now specifically- are there contracts and money involved ? Is the director just the director who got a producer credit for grins, did he put in $, bring in-kind equity... ? Does he own the script rights ? Not enough info. But on an ethical level, he burned some bridges that he is yet unaware of... everyone will remember and you never know where anyone is headed.

Blake Senftner

how did this resolve?

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