View Full Version : Making a film about a band


pacey1800
04-05-2011, 07:05 PM
Today I thought about making this documentary film about the 90's band Third Eye Blind, but it wouldn't be anything like a concert film or a behind-the-scenes film or anything (I don't have that kind of access). It would be primarily a history of the band as told through the perspective of some of their biggest fans, and it would use only photos and video of the band shot by the fans (no TV or radio appearances). I wouldn't use any of their music due to legal concerns but I'm considering using stuff like guitar and drum solos, and banter by their lead singer during the concerts, stuff like that. Since this is really an unofficial kind of thing, would I still have to get permission from the band to even refer to them in this?

superamazing
04-06-2011, 02:44 AM
Don't sell yourself short. Not only should you try to get permission to use their music, you should try to get interviews as well. Call their agent, their publicist, whoever. If you are willing to spend hundreds of dollars at a bare minimum and months of your life thinking about them, they owe you their attention.

It's insane to make a documentary about a band without their music in it. If you can't get permission, just give up, that's what I say.

By the way, it seems band names are not copyrighted. http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html

pacey1800
04-06-2011, 09:41 AM
At this point, I'm really not sure if I even want to do this or not. There are just too many gray areas legally, and in addition, their former lead guitarist is suing the lead singer for damages relating to his dismissal from the band, not to mention the fact that many people consider the lead singer to be a real jerk. I'm probably just going to abandon this, because I simply don't have the money needed for the rights to their music, and using covers wouldn't do me any good either. Someone also suggested doing a limited edition run if I were to make this documentary, with a portion of the proceeds going towards the rights to each song, but I'm just not sure about it...

leebarry
04-06-2011, 09:49 AM
The fact they are all of the these apparent 'problems' would only serve to make the documentary more interesting. The fact the lead guitarist is suing the lead singer immiediately adds a story arch. Will he suceed? Has he been ripped off? Is his claim valid? Will they make up? Will he get back in the band? When did thier relationship turn sour? And superamazing is spot on - speak to the right person at the right time and doors WILL open for you. No one turns down the possiblity of A: free pucblicity B: A record of their music and journey. You've probably feel a little daunted at the leg work you'll need to put in. My advice, get some help... Best of luck!

Michael Allen
04-06-2011, 10:00 AM
Sounds to me that the inner turmoil of the band would be great for the story of a doco. If you can capture that with their support you'd really have something. Definitely worth asking.

directorik
04-06-2011, 11:20 AM
Someone also suggested doing a limited edition run if I were to make this documentary, with a portion of the proceeds going towards the rights to each song, but I'm just not sure about it...
The right to copy a song (copyright) belongs to the copyright holder.
You cannot use the song without permission. Not a cover version
and not with the intent to pay for the rights with a portion of the
proceeds. You may be able to get the right to copy for free. The right
to copy is not about the money - it is the right of the owner to control
how their work is used.

I really like the idea of a history of the band as told through the
perspective of some of their biggest fans. The current legal problems
with the band members will have no effect at all of getting the rights
to copy their songs - the publisher determines who can copy their
music. Who knows; a positive doc about the band and their fans might
be exactly what the publisher would go for.

pacey1800
04-06-2011, 12:13 PM
I would like to try to keep it positive, because there has been a lot of bashing of their frontman on the internet (though it's mostly on an unofficial fan forum that is not sanctioned in any way by the band), mainly because it took him 6 years to put together an album from the time of their last release, the fans grew impatient because he kept making all these promises to them and he just didn't deliver, he never could make a firm decision on lyrics or arrangements of each song, their bassist suddenly left the band due to some undisclosed issue, and he just kept doing things that had nothing to do whatsoever with the band. In addition, the lawsuit accuses him of mismanaging funds, cutting the lead guitarist out of royalties and all sorts of other things. In short, he has a very bad reputation among the real diehard fans, whereas people on the "official" forum seem to be almost apologizing for him. I once posted a blog over there criticizing him for taking so long to make the album, and it got taken down, because it seemed that they didn't really like anyone being critical of the band or anyone associated with it.

As for the rights to the songs, it could be too cost-prohibitive to even attempt to acquire the rights to them. They were signed to a major label for their first 3 albums, and their fourth was done on an independent label. I will look into it, but I really don't think it will work out.

directorik
04-06-2011, 12:30 PM
As for the rights to the songs, it could be too cost-prohibitive to even attempt to acquire the rights to them. They were signed to a major label for their first 3 albums, and their fourth was done on an independent label. I will look into it, but I really don't think it will work out.
There isn't a successful person ever who started with this attitude.

But you're right. It might be expensive to contact the labels and you
may not succeed. But one thing is certain; if you do not try it will
not work out.

NickClapper
04-06-2011, 12:46 PM
I think it might be a better idea to try and approach the band directly.

Send them a letter, email, Twitter, whatever with information about the project including your experience, why you want to make the documentary and preferably some tangible information about what you're going to do. They may not be interested but if you can flatter them then you stand a much better chance of either getting to use their music or, perhaps, getting to speak to them for/about the film.

I know of someone in the UK who's doing this with the band Wheatus and he basically just approached them about making a documentary and ended up touring with them on their European tour and is now producing a documentary about it.

It's worth a try.

pacey1800
04-06-2011, 12:52 PM
You're probably right. I guess it wouldn't hurt to try, but it all depends on what agency they're signed to. I checked and they are listed with BMI but somehow I can't find a license specific to motion pictures on their web site. They only have one for TV stations and movie theaters (obviously I am neither), and depending on the publishing for their fourth album, that may be the only source I can use...

pacey1800
04-06-2011, 01:48 PM
I contacted their representative for the band's publishing company (which is registered with one of the licensing agencies). Hopefully it'll work out, but if not, then at least it was worth a try...

pacey1800
04-06-2011, 02:03 PM
Update:

He's forwarded my email to the band, and I should hear back from them in a week or so...

NickClapper
04-06-2011, 02:04 PM
:cool:Update:

He's forwarded my email to the band, and I should hear back from them in a week or so...

That's awesome.

That seems like the best possible outcome.

superamazing
04-07-2011, 04:06 AM
Ah, I'm excited by this thread! Keep us updated, definitely.