This month, I interviewed music supervisor Liz Gallacher of Velvet Ears for my latest column on MovieMaker Magazine‘s site. Actually, they are only posting an abbreviated version of the interview online. The full article will be in the print edition on newsstands in November.

mixing boardI wanted to cover this topic because I was hearing from indie filmmakers who had overlooked the important aspect of music clearance during post production and thought they could get distribution deals that would pay for it later. It is exceedingly rare in today’s marketplace that a film distributor will pay to clear the music licenses on your film because that process can be so costly.  Distributors are not trying to take on more debt than they have to when they acquire a title. There is debt just to release the film, plus repay the advance if one was paid (and for a hot title, an advance WILL be paid) and make money for themselves (filmmakers aren’t really part of the equation). If you are putting up financial barriers to acquisition, your chances are close to zero in garnering a deal, especially over something as fundamental as music clearance. You are also putting up barriers to getting the film out yourself unless you like being the target of a lawsuit.

Also, some filmmakers are using music tracks in their trailers or online video materials that were only cleared for in context usage. Liz explains in the article why this is an issue and how to rectify it. As she says in the abbreviated piece, “It isn’t a cheap prospect to license music. I think people are misinformed on that because music is affordable to buy and it is plentiful for personal use, so they think they can do what they want with it. They can’t if they are planning to use it commercially.”

Catch the abbreviated version on the MovieMaker site and try to pick up a printed copy of the magazine when it is published.

Sheri Candler


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