so in preparation for our collaborative documentary project, i wanted to talk briefly about consent. If you hope to work with big organizations and create documentaries for an international audience, this is going to be very important.
Most times, documentary filmmakers touch on very sensitive subject matter. This can have really great impact and sometimes cause chaos. Its important to get as much permission as you can when covering an event, a place or conducting interviews.
A consent form is designed to help you cover all of this. I usually use three and i have attached a sample here for you to tweak. Its a microsoft word document so enjoy. click consent forms template. The three types of forms are:
- LOCATION AGREEMENT: This is where you request for a non exclusive right to use the location for filming. You would also have to state how long you intend to use it and emphasize the fact that you will cover any damages made during the filming. Its also important to let them know that the footage you cover belongs to you and you can use it in any kind of medium. if they agree to what your documentary represents, they wouldn’t have a problem letting you use it. There are some cases like public places or areas hostile to filming. In this case you might not be able to get them to sign a form but if the subject matter is important, go for it.
- APPEARANCE RELEASE FOR ADULTS: This is usually for interviews. You are basically asking the person to agree to be filmed and interviewed. You are also letting them know what you intend to use the documentary for. if the adult cannot speak or read English. Find someone they can trust to help them read the form and then they can sign.
- APPEARANCE RELEASE FOR CHILDREN/DISABLED PERSONS: You might not get to interview children much but might require them in the documentary. Always get the consent of their parents or guardians. Same applies to disabled people. Make sure whoever is signing can read and write.
Sometimes you may want to give a clause in the form for people who don’t want their faces shown. Like rape victims, criminals etc. so you indicate that you will blur out their faces or mask them out in the video. While you may not always be able to get everyone to fill a form depending on the nature of the documentary, Its always a good start.