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Author Topic: Advice on Shooting Pro Bono  (Read 3842 times)

Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Advice on Shooting Pro Bono
« on: May 12, 2013, 12:03:57 AM »

From time to time I get a few requests to do free work for charity. I've decided to take a few on in my free time, and am working out the legal aspects with my lawyer.

I've worked for free before, but only for my own benefit. I would appreciate any advice on how to work for charity - what problems might I face, situations I might come across, things I haven't foreseen, etc.

Thanks.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: Advice on Shooting Pro Bono
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 04:52:47 AM »

Thanks for the reply. The form isn't visible for some reason.

I must explain further. I work in the video industry, and the work I'll be doing is video-based, though photography might be a part of it. I'll be delivering a short video (which is what my company does), except I won't be taking any payments.

I'm sure there will be legal issues like licensing, release forms, etc.

Could your provide me with the link to the form? Thanks!
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Advice on Shooting Pro Bono
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2013, 07:32:39 AM »

I've done this a couple of times, for local non profits and the like. I think the key is to have all the paperwork completely in order -- who gets what license, for how long, in what markets, etc. -- exactly as you would do with a paid job. Just make the estimate for zero dollars. This way there are no surprises when the client wants to do something with the photos/video beyond your initial verbal agreement.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: Advice on Shooting Pro Bono
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2013, 10:35:32 AM »

Thanks, that's what I'm doing as well. Don't want it to interfere with everything else either.
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Rob C

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Re: Advice on Shooting Pro Bono
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2013, 01:26:28 PM »

Do you have insurance cover that looks at freebies - does your government's tax man see it the same way as you do?

I suspect that giving stuff away in business isn't as simple as that; jeez, I can't even gift my kids anything much without promising to live another seven years!

Anything 'free' with which I might have been involved never had any paperwork at all, had I been involved in it in the first place...

Rob C

Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: Advice on Shooting Pro Bono
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 06:49:48 AM »

Do you have insurance cover that looks at freebies - does your government's tax man see it the same way as you do?

I suspect that giving stuff away in business isn't as simple as that; jeez, I can't even gift my kids anything much without promising to live another seven years!

Anything 'free' with which I might have been involved never had any paperwork at all, had I been involved in it in the first place...

Rob C

I don't think there's insurance that covers non-freebies in my line of work! Here, it's every man for himself. I've spoken to every insurance company in the phone book - they don't want my money, unless I have millions of it.

What can I say? It's a funny country.

As for the rest, I hope my lawyer and accountant can tell me to what extent I can stretch my resources. If it turns out to be too complicated I'll just make it easy for myself and take your advice about paper-less work!
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bill t.

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Re: Advice on Shooting Pro Bono
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 08:26:55 PM »

The advantage of generating lots of paperwork is that when comes time to punish you for your good deed, they'll know where you live.  And likewise when somebody decides to sue you.  Nothing lubricates the wheels of litigation so well as nice, legible paperwork.

I do pro bono once in a while.  I usually just ask for a letter of appreciation, which is said to be enough to satisfy the local tax authorities for modest deductions.  When you arrive on location it is a good idea to mention conversationally to other people what you and your contact discussed doing, just to define a reasonable set of expectations and what the limits are.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: Advice on Shooting Pro Bono
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2013, 06:58:56 AM »

The advantage of generating lots of paperwork is that when comes time to punish you for your good deed, they'll know where you live.  And likewise when somebody decides to sue you.  Nothing lubricates the wheels of litigation so well as nice, legible paperwork.

Luckily, the concept of 'suing' hardly exists in India!

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I do pro bono once in a while.  I usually just ask for a letter of appreciation, which is said to be enough to satisfy the local tax authorities for modest deductions.  When you arrive on location it is a good idea to mention conversationally to other people what you and your contact discussed doing, just to define a reasonable set of expectations and what the limits are.

Very good advice. Thanks!
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