Silverdocs No More

AFI Docs

A New Partner

Silverdocs, the premiere documentary festival in the Washington DC area, as well as a huge boon to the Silver Spring area, is getting some major changes. Its new iteration, which was announced just last week, will be known as AFI Docs Film Festival and will be backed by car manufacturer Audi instead of Discovery Communications. The new festival, running from June 19–23, will have an expanded presence as well as panels with greater focus on politics and other D.C.-centric issues. The festival will no longer take place solely in its home base of Silver Spring but will be presenting films at DC venues such as the Newseum, The National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American History.

Changing Sponsors

The change is a consequence of the festival’s rising prominence on the national documentary circuit, as well as Discovery Communication’s change in corporate focus that has seen it move away from documentary storytelling, according to festival director Sky Sitney. Sitney sees the change in sponsors as positive and thinks it will help the festival to grow and gain an even more vibrant topical focus as it moves further into the heart of DC. She also said that, rather of thinking of it as scattered, instead think of it as incorporating two compact campuses.

silverdocs

The festival was started in 2003 as a joint venture between Discovery Communications and the American Film Institute. It should be noted that both of these organizations were major catalysts in the rejuvenation of the Silver Spring Area.

The Silver Spring Community Reacts

While it’s being stressed that the festival will still have important events and screenings in Silver Spring with no plans to leave it behind, the reaction locally has been mixed. Many locals as well as those in the production and documentary community feel that something is being lost with the expansion and name change. For years, the fact that the festival took place entirely in this one area has made it an important part of the community. The festival, which has grown to be the pride of Silver Spring, helps shine the spotlight on independent filmmakers and the important stories they have to tell. Smaller companies such as Word Wizards Inc., which thrives on transcription footage and the talking heads footage that are the meat of most documentaries, think it important these festivals go on, even if they’re in new forms.




TIVA’s Contract Panel

 

tiva banner

On Wednesday night TIVA, the Television, Internet and Video Association, held a panel at Video Labs focusing on contracts and specifically how they pertain to the video production business. While contracts are something that most of us in the media and video industry are something most of us don’t like to think about, they are still a vital part of production houses, transcription companies and other media organizations. The  three  panelists at the event were Jim Pennington, Pam Jacebson and Nancy Prager who were incredibly open about sharing their collective knowledge. Some of the main topics covered were line costs, appearance and location releases and confidentiality agreements. Check out the panelists below for some information on them as well as their main points for the panel.

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Jim Pennington, Co-Owner and Business Director at DUO Media Productions

 http://www.duomediaproductions.com/team

As business director, he leads all marketing and proposal efforts, and when projects are awarded, he prepares the letters of agreement (LOAs), personal and location releases, crew and talent agreements, and other contractual documents.  As producer, he provides executive oversight for all aspects of a video project and ensures the project is completed on time, on budget, and to the client’s complete satisfaction. As a writer, he works closely with clients, developing the concept for their videos and the subsequent treatment/script.

Line Costs – Clarity is Key!!! When Jim prepares letters of agreement for clients, he always makes sure are absolutely as clear as possible. One prime example of this would be with Line Costs and how he breaks them down for each project. While many companies would simply list one large sum for the entire project, Jim and Duo Media Productions actually break each individual cost line by line for the project. This way, there’s no miscommunication about whats being covered and the other party can feel comfortable knowing the exact cost of everything. As he says, it’s practices like this that ensures that his company always delivers on their work.

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Pam Jacobsen, Freelance production Manager & Line Producer

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/pam-jacobson/11/856/8b7

Pam has been in the business for almost 20 years working for an impressive lists of companies that include Discovery Communications, Sirens Media and National Geographic Television amongst others. Her responsibilities have included managing all aspects of production operations, balancing a wide range of budgets from the hundred thousands to the millions and negotiating contract compliance and production units. Additionally she has experience advising business units on contingency fund requests, negotiating facilities, assesing deal visibility and supervising milestone payments.

Location and Person Releases – Go with your Gut!! If you have a person or people in the background for a few quick seconds and they are not really identifiable, they are most likely not worth trying to get releases from. However say you’re using a wide lens and a group of people are directly in the foreground with visible faces, then it would be in you’re best interests to get them to sign releases. As Pam stressed, the best idea is to really just go with you’re gut on what you think should be done. She gave similar advice on location releases, saying that if a building is directly in a shot or being used as a shoot location than you need to get a location release from some one authorized to sign such a document. Try to get a release from building management and double check to guarantee that the individual singing it does have the proper authorization.

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Nancy Prager, Esq., Entertainment/Arts Attorney

http://www.pragerlaw.us/

I represent a wide range of clients on matters ranging from intellectual property licensing to estate planning.  Though I am now based in Washington, D.C., I have practiced with firms in Memphis and Atlanta.  Additionally, I have served as a business development consultant to technology companies in both the telecommunications and intelligence sectors. I have addressed the convergence of intellectual property, technology and the creative industries to a variety of audiences including at conferences like SXSW and in publications like news.com.

Confidentiality Agreements – Read before you Write!!! As Nancy astutely pointed out Confidentiality Agreements, often reserved for those doing government work, have started cropping up in the private sector of the media business as well. While these agreements are usually a means to insure that the work involved stays private, the information can sometimes be used against the person who signed them. Make sure to carefully scan through any document you’re asked to sign and especially try to “read in between” the lines to see what information you’re agreeing to. Unfortunately, if someone is not familiar with the language it’s very easy for them to get tripped up. Another good point she had was that today, signing you’re name on an e-mail now counts as a legal signature which is something to be very mindful of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




2012 Peer Awards – Award Show Recap and Winners

Last Saturday night at The National Press Club, TIVA members from all around the area descended upon the red carpet for a night full of food, fun, and award show dreams come true. TIVA-DC (Television Internet and Video Association of Washington D.C.) pulled out all the stops this year and put on another event to remember.

2012 Peer Awards Program
The 2012 Peer Awards Program

Arch Campbell: A Host With Chutzpah

Local television personality and entertainment guru Arch Campbell delivered a signature performance as he hosted the night with style. Arch’s timeless wit and dry humor left no dull moments. Mr. Campbell mused on the “privilege” of once again hosting the peers, and apologized for himself with the signature line, “Wendy Reiger is out of town…”

For more on Arch Campbell at the Peer awards 2012, check out our article from last week.

TIVA-DC Peer Awards – Hosted by Arch Campbell

Arch Campbell in his signature hat.

And the Award Goes To…

The night was divided by the talents of four main presenters, each of which is a local celebrity in their own right.

The bubbly and charismatic Monika Samtani opened up the night with the first round of awards.

Local Celebrity Monika Samtani

Monika was followed by the multi-talented Rick Kain.

Rick Kain - Headshot

Rick yielded the presenter’s podium to the upbeat personality of Tara Garwood.

The lovely Tara Garwood, who I now have a crush on...

Finally, local legend Ken Arnold closed out the final awards.

Ken Arnold Headshot

Honoring Excellence

Scott Gordon (Left - Word Wizards) Linda Maslow (Right - Maslow Media Group)
Scott Gordon, C.E.O. of Word Wizards, Inc., hams it up with Linda Maslow at the 2012 Peer Awards

Linda Maslow founder of The Maslow Media Group received this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award. Linda has spent her professional life working hard in the media production industry. A personal friend of Word Wizards, Linda has single handedly created an industry of professional staffing services for video productin in the D.C. Area. We tip our hats to this long time supporter of TIVA-DC and thank her for all the hard work she has humbly put in to help all of the people in our industry.

Get The Full Scoop

If you want more juicy details, photos, videos and other Peer Award related media, hop on over to the TIVA-DC’s official website, we have provided a few quick links below.

TIVA-DC Presents: The 2012 Peer Awards

TIVA-DC Home Page: 2012 Peer Awards Slideshow

2012 Peer Award Full List of Winners

See you all next year! Make sure to leave us a comment if you are inclined. Don’t be shy, sign up for our newsletter and get the scoop on all the Washington D.C. video production news.




TIVA-DC Presents The 2011 Peer Awards

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Word Wizards!

Do you like glitz, glam, stars, and swanky awards shows? Sure, they have plenty of that out on the west coast, but did you know that right here in DC we have a thriving video production industry of our own?

Logo for the DC Peer Awards

Last weekend, TIVA – DC (Television, Internet and Video Association of DC) hosted the 2011 Peer Awards, an awards show dedicated to recognizing the best of the Mid Atlantic region’s Video Production Professionals. Word Wizards has been an active sponsor of “The Peers” since its original inception, and this year we pulled out all the stops. Hosted at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., The Peer Awards offers a unique opportunity to honor the best and brightest actors, producers, writers, and post houses in our region.

TIVA-DC Peer Awards
TIVA-DC Peer Awards Program

The evening began with a fantastic spread of hors d’oeuvres and a hearty dinner buffet. My personal favorite was the peeking duck station, providing freshly cooked Chinese delights, customized to your order, and cooked right there in front of you! After a few hours of dinner, drinks, and casual networking, the attendees were invited into the lavish ballroom to take their seats and enjoy the show.

The official MC for the evening was Wendy Rieger, a distinguished Emmy winning Local news anchor, who grabbed the room with her radiant stage presence and witty charm. Guest presenters included, Actress Joy Haynes, Voice Talent Will Rosser, Actress and Peer Awards organizer Gale Nemec, and Actor Joe Hansard.

Wendy Rieger Host of the 2011 DC Peer Awards
Wendy Rieger Host of the 2011 DC Peer Awards

Awards were given out based on a set of strict judging criteria, submissions received either a bronze, silver, or gold award based on an objective evaluation of the piece. The categories included everything to be expected, scriptwriting, sound design, acting, editing, and overall excellence. For a complete list of the categories and winners see The Peer Awards website.

After the grand ceremony, we enjoyed a unbelievable desert spread (seen below) , coffee, and congratulatory conversations with our peers. It was a night to be remembered and were already thinking about next years event!

Peer Awards 2011 Desert Spread
Peer Awards 2011 Desert Spread

Word Wizards was proud to be a gold sponsor of The DC Peer Wards for another year. In honor for our long term commitment to TIVA-DC and The Peer Awards, we were even given the opportunity to run a video promotion during the awards ceremony! This was the first time that our company has ever produced a piece of video marketing, and we made sure to utilize the chance to send our message to the video production community. Word Wizards thanks TIVA-DC for all of the hard work that has gone into The Peer Awards and we congratulate all of the winners for their continued dedication to excellence.