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The Director's Chair Issue #69 – Aug. 22, 2006 (DVD Replication for Dummies)

Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

August 22, 2006          Scene 7 – Take 8

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
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1.  Introduction
2.  Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
3.  Subscriber Links of Interest
4.  Filmmaking Workshops
5.  Feature Article – DVD Replication for Dummies
6.  Monthly Business and Entertainment Law Tips
7.  Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
8.  Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
9.  Copyright Information


Welcome to Issue #69 of The Director’s Chair (August 22, 2006)

I would like to say hello to all my subscribers from around
the world:

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NOTE: If your country is not represented here, please let me
know and I will add it to this ever growing list.

2) FEATURE ARTICLE – This month’s Feature Article is called
“DVD Replication for Dummies: 4 Easy Steps to Professional
DVD Replication” by Morris Anderson.

“Every avid independent filmmaker has dreamed about making
that special interest documentary, or short film to show off
their creative prowess. Many have great ideas and want to
“wow” the film-festival scene, or video renters with their
big project.” (see below to read entire article…)

Business and Entertainment Law Tips by Jindra Rajwans is
called “Option Agreements.”

“After a writer has developed an underlying work such as a
screenplay, novel, treatment or sometimes even a detailed
project proposal, producers and production companies alike
have to acquire the rights in the underlying work prior to
adapting it into a movie or a television series.” (see below
to read entire article…)

to time I will contact you by email to inform you of certain
filmmaking workshops or film products that I feel are
beneficial to filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you are
under no obligation to purchase anything. I only offer this
information as a service to subscribers of this free ezine.

5) VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – If you would like to contribute
articles, tips, links of interest, industry news,
interviews, special event dates or other resources to The
Director’s Chair please email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

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Peter D. Marshall


Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this
section. If you are interested, send an email to

Please limit your promotion to less than 200 words. I also
reserve the right to edit the promotion for length, spelling
and formatting.

1) Composer/SongWriter (Romain Rosenblatt)

My name is Romain Rosenblatt, I am a French composer/song
writer. I create and produce music for Films, TV, Video
Games, Records….many different styles: HipHop R&B Electro
Ambiant Classical Action Asian Dramatic music etc…I also
work for a publishing company with a big catalog. I’m ready
to work music on many projects…so call me.

2) Screenwriter (Michael Daramola)

I am a screenwriter with great flair for writing. I just
finished work on my first AFRO-HOLLYWOOD script, it’s an
intriguing and very outstanding story between Africa and the
Western world. I am still working on some outstanding
scripts of mine, please get me connected with interested
movie makers that would love to come down to Africa to
explore all of her wonderful endowments.


“Subscriber Links of Interest” is where you can further
promote yourself, your company or your productions by having
your information displayed on a special links page at:

If you are a subscriber to this ezine and you want me to put
your self-promotion on this page, just send an email to:

Again, I also reserve the right to edit the promotion for
length and formatting.


I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over
33 years – as a Film Director, Television Producer, First
Assistant Director and Series Creative Consultant.

I’ve been asked many times to share my Film and TV
production knowledge with others. As a result, I developed
several workshops that I have successfully presented over
the past 15 years.

To find out more about these workshops, just click on the
link below. If you are interested in any of these four
workshops for yourself or your organization, please contact
me to discuss how we can bring these workshops to you.

5. FEATURE ARTICLE – DVD Replication for Dummies

“DVD Replication for Dummies: 4 Easy Steps to Professional
DVD Replication” by Morris Anderson

Every avid independent filmmaker has dreamed about making
that special interest documentary, or short film to show off
their creative prowess. Many have great ideas and want to
‘wow’ the film-festival scene, or video renters with their
big project.

But once you have the film ‘in the can’ (no easy feat), how
do you move from a couple of master DVDs with the ‘Sharpie’
marked hand-written title inside a secondhand CD case, to a
pile of cardboard boxes full of shiny new, retail-ready
DVDs, with UPC barcodes and polywrap sitting on your

You need to create eye-popping artwork and have your project
replicated. Using a reputable full service DVD Replication
company like PacificDisc, Inc. to partner with is certainly
a helpful option to ensure a professional end result, but to
help with your DVD replication project, here are 4 easy
steps to follow for good DVD replication results:

1. Prepare your DVD master – To ensure the replication
company can read your master, you either need to create a
DVD-R master, or output your project to a DLT (Digital
Linear Tape). DLT has been around for years and used to be
the only way to replicate. Thankfully DVD-R technology has
advanced so much over the past few years, that a pair of
DVD-R masters are normally all that is required when working
on a standard DVD5 project. Why a pair? Just in case one of
the masters gets damaged in transit, you don‚t waste time
looking for another good master.

2. Create your artwork – You’ll need to design artwork for the
DVD face, the outside of the case (commonly called a wrap)
and, if desired an insert for the inside of the case
(postcard, or booklet). All CD or DVD Replication companies
will have templates on their websites that you can download
and use to assist in layout of your art. Just make sure you
download the correct template for your project, as there are
many variables and you won’t want to waste time with the
wrong layout.

While on the subject of artwork, it’s important to mention
that you need to decide if your project needs a barcode
(commonly called a UPC, or the black and white dashes inside
a box on many products). If your DVD will be sold through
retailers, you should have a UPC issued, as many retailers
won‚t stock an item without one.

3. Find a DVD replication partner – Although there are
literally dozens of DVD replication companies out there
(just type ‘dvd replication company’ into your favorite
search engine) not all DVD Replication companies are created
equal. You’ll see all kinds of pricing models that will do
an excellent job of confusing the heck out of you.

Instead, look for a partner who offers good pricing and tries
to simplify the process. Make sure you are comparing the
same thing when shopping around and watch out for hidden
extras, like overage (where the replication company makes an
extra bunch of discs and then expects you to pay for the
extras). Watch out for setup fees, glass mastering fees,
extra costs for offset printed discs, extra costs for
3-color vs. 5-color artwork.

A little homework up front will ensure your DVDs look great
when they arrive and you aren’t left with the feeling of
being cheated, or have crappy looking discs that nobody will
want to buy.

4. Approve check discs and artwork proofs – Once you have
found the DVD replication company, you will be asked to send
in your masters, artwork and cash. Most replicators want
their money upfront, as they start burning materials as soon
as the project lands. Within a few days of delivering your
masters, you should see either email proofs of your artwork
(simple digital prints (PDFs) showing you how your art
elements will line up when printed. If you ordered a hard
proof, the DVD replication company will ship you a print
proof printed from the actual printing press earmarked to
print your job. With a hard proof, you know exactly what
you’re getting before you print hundreds of them. If you
request a check disc, you’ll get a small number of ‘silver
discs’ to ensure your project has come through the DVD-R (or
DLT) master to ‘glass’ master process successfully.

Assuming everything checks out, and you send back your
approvals, within a couple of weeks, you should hear the
beep-beep-beep of the FedEx truck backing up your driveway.
After a quick signature, you should be the proud owner of a
pile of cardboard boxes filled with shiny DVDs — your DVDs!

Morris Anderson is the co-Founder and CEO of PacificDisc
Inc. – a smaller, more boutique replication company that
specializes in helping first-timers through the CD or DVD
replication process. Morris has over 20 years experience in
the production field, having run three Television stations
and an Independent Production Film company, prior to
founding PacificDisc, Inc. To learn more about CD or DVD
Replication or to partner with a first-rate DVD Replication
company, visit http://www.pacificdisc.com


“Option Agreements”
by Jindra Rajwans, Business & Entertainment Lawyer

NOTE:  The information contained in this article is of a
general nature and not intended to be legal advice.  Consult
a lawyer for advice for any specific situation.

After a writer has developed an underlying work such as a
screenplay, novel, treatment or sometimes even a detailed
project proposal (‘the property’), producers and production
companies alike have to acquire the rights in the underlying
work prior to adapting it into a movie or a television
series.  This is generally referred to as securing the movie
or television rights.

As I wrote in an previous article entitled ‘Importance of
Securing Chain of Title’… “For a literary work such as a
screenplay, copyright protects it or any substantial part of
it in any material form from being, among other things,
produced, reproduced, distributed, published, translated,
adapted, made into a film, or communicated to public by
telecommunication without the permission of the author.”
The Director’s Chair, April 28, 2006

Sometimes producers who wish to acquire the movie or
television rights may either immediately purchase the rights
or they may wish to enter into an option agreement with the
original writer in order to keep development costs as low as
possible.  An option agreement essentially gives a producer
an option to purchase the rights of the underlying work at a
later date.  In other words, producers at their election
only have to pay a portion of the purchase price (‘option
fee’) in exchange for the exclusive right to develop the
property for a period of time (‘option period’).  If the
producer decides to exercise the option before the expiry of
the option period, then he or she will pay the ‘exercise
price’ of the option.

For example, consider the case whereby a producer approaches
a writer and wishes to acquire the movie rights in the
writer’s property that took the writer, let’s say 5 years
combined with a lot of sweat and tears to research and
develop.  The writer then says to the producer,

“Thank you for your interest in my work.  You know what, I
am willing to sell it to you for the small price of
$100,000.00 USD if the finalized production budget is
$25,000,000.00 or less, or $200,000.00 USD should the
production budget exceed $25,000,000.00 because then you
probably attached a noteworthy actor to the production and
if you did that, my work must be worth my price.”

Notice that this writer is pretty sophisticated in that he
or she is attempting to tie his or her compensation to the
production budget.  This approach is not always possible,
and of course, the definition of ‘budget’ will have to be
defined and one approach would be to have it certified by an
independent third party, such as a completion guarantor.

The producer then responds, “Wow, that’s a lot of money to
pony up on the spot.  And more than that, I need time to
develop the property, put the production together and make
it to the first day of principal photography (the time when
the production financiers will come up with the funds for
the production costs which includes purchasing all the
rights necessary to carry out the production).  How about I
pay you (writer) an option fee of $10,000.00 USD for a
one-year term subject to allowing me to renew the option for
another year at 10,000.00 USD?”

The writer responds, “That may be okay, but I am a popular
writer and the work in question is really compelling, so I
want you (producer) to satisfy, amongst other things,
certain benchmarks in developing the project because I want
to see my work made into a film and not end up merely
collecting dust on the shelf.  If the benchmarks are not
met, then the option will terminate.”

The producer says, “Well, you are certainly making this deal
a bit more complicated than I originally fashioned and
there’s a lot to think about here.  I’ll get back to you
once I speak with my lawyer.”

An option agreement should spell out a number of important
issues relating to:

1. Detailed financial terms including the royalty

2. Duration and expiry of the option

3. Reversion rights

4. The nature of intellectual property rights granted (time,
territory, type of media, language, novelization, public
performance, adaptation, production and reproduction,
distribution, publication, stage play rights, multimedia,

5. Prequel and sequel rights

6. Commercial tie-ins and merchandising licensing

7. The rights reserved by the author (e.g. print publishing
rights, stage play rights, etc.)

8. Credit

In the option agreement, it is common that the author of the
original work will have to make certain representation,
warranties and indemnities to the producer.  These
representation and warranties attempt to securer a clean
‘chain of title’ (see my article ‘The Importance of Securing
Chain of Title,’ Director’s Chair, April 28, 2006).

In a nutshell, the producer requires the author of the
original work to make certain claims about the work, some of
the most important being, that the work is original with the
author, that the work is not in the public domain, that the
property has not being exploited by others, that the author
is the sole and exclusive owner, and that the work does not
infringe any other’s rights (i.e. copyright, trademark,
privacy, publicity, etc.)

Further, the producer will want to ensure that should any of
these representation and warranties turn out to be untrue,
the author will indemnify the producer.  Sometimes authors
attempt to limit their representation and warranties with a
‘to the best of their knowledge’ qualifier.  Moreover, it
may be prudent for an author to take out insurance on his or
her own to have some protection from any possible claims.

It is important to remember that negotiating an option
agreement is no less complex than negotiating a literary
purchase agreement because all the terms of a purchase
agreement have to be included or attached to the option
agreement, so that if the option is exercised, the terms of
acquisition have already been negotiated.

Jindra Rajwans is a business and entertainment lawyer in
Toronto, Canada. The entertainment area of his practice
focuses on providing legal services to writers, directors,
producers, actors, musicians or other professionals, and
companies in the entertainment industry.


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