A well thought-out budget is a clear plan for making a film. And a good budget reveals a lot about how a film is going to be made, what kind of story you’ll be telling, what kind of crew you plan to use and what sort of equipment you’ve selected. But how do you prepare a budget that fits your documentary? This article provides a nuts-and-bolts primer on documentary budgeting.
Not so long ago, when I was in film school one of my instructors asked our class what we thought the single most important piece of film equipment was. Some people insisted that the camera was essential, others were adamant that it was the editing system; one young woman was firm in her resolve that money was the most important piece of equipment because with enough of it everything else would fall into place. Well, we were all incredulous when our instructor told us that we were dead wrong. What! we were told, and what I myself have come to believe, is that the single most important piece of equipment for any filmmaker is nothing more complicated than a pencil and a piece of paper.
This Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use makes clear what documentary filmmakers currently regard as reasonable application of the copyright “fair use” doctrine. Fair use expresses the core value of free expression within copyright law. The statement clarifies this crucial legal doctrine, to help filmmakers use it with confidence.
American University’s Center for Social Media announces the release of a new code of best practices in fair use for creators in the burgeoning online video environment (centerforsocialmedia.org/remix). The code, grounded in the practices of online video makers and in the law, was collaboratively created by a team of scholars and lawyers from leading universities. The first of their kind, these best practices will allow users to make remixes, mashups, and other common online genres with the knowledge that they are staying within copyright law.