Influence people

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sacred Cow Slain

A blog post of mine earlier this week set off a teapot-size tempest inside Washington, DC's video production community.

I took to task marketing guru David Meerman Scott for extolling "business casual video."

Local video professionals were riled by Scott's low opinion of the value they add to a production and re-posted my piece on a number of sites.

Well, with apologies to cute little Carol Anne in in Poltergeist, "He's back." 

Besides asserting that video production professionals are unnecessary, Scott now suggests that traditional video release forms are superfluous as well.

"Many people obsess over getting legal release forms signed prior to posting a video interview online," Scott writes.  "However in my experience, the mere act of thrusting a legal document in front of someone and demanding they sign causes many people to re-think permission."

Scott skips the formality of getting a signed release in favor of asking for a verbal okay.  

"I simply ask the person I am about to interview if it's okay to post the video.  Then in the edit process, I save the video permissions and post the interview.  It works great.  I've interviewed and posted video with rock stars and Fortune 500 CEOs and top government officials using this method."

Looks like another "sacred cow" of the professional video world has been butchered.

Not to worry.  Any moment, the lawyers will be having another.


  1. Hey Bob,

    Like it or not, online video is ushering in a transformation for companies who want to create videos. Anyone can film with a cheap, high-quality HD camera. Getting good footage does not always require hours of setup of lights and multiple cameras and makeup plus the expense of hiring the pros to do the work.

    While there is still room for the traditional approach, it is not the only way. Last week MSNBC filmed me during an entire day in my colleagues offices for what will be a four minute segment. The pros were in the house for eight hours - a producer, two cameras, sound, lights. And I'm happy to do it for the exposure. But I'm equally happy when someone with a popular blog films me with their Flip camera and it takes 4 minutes.

    Same with approvals. I do think there are various ways to get approval. No, I am not a lawyer. But I do know that anyone can sue anyone at anytime release or no release for any reason at all. My ideas are not offering legal advice. Yet, I see so many times that people choose not to shoot a video because they don't want to sign a long form. This is a way around it from a practical perspective.


  2. David, some transformations are deformations. I think business casual video is one of those. I agree with you in spirit: don't sabotage the chance for generating great content because of a mere formality like a signature on a release. But skipping some steps is asking for trouble. Big trouble. It's like dropping business liability or health insurance coverage because it's "expensive" or a "pain" to renew every year. Standard release forms reduce--practically remove--exposure to liability. That's why they're standard.

    So you know, you're one of my marketing heroes. I use your advice every day. And it pays! Please don't think I'm just a nitpicking dweeb, okay? Or, at least, don't write that I'm a nitpicking dweeb.


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